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Indiana Moving Towards 120-Credit Hours Requirement to Sit for CPA Exam

Dec 21, 2020
CPA Exam
Update: The 120-Credit Hours to Sit for the CPA Exam and Exam changes rule is now effective. To learn more visit – 11/2/22

As the Indiana CPA Society began to prepare our legislative agenda for the 2021 legislative session, we considered threats to licensure and professional issues to be our highest priorities. Allowing candidates to sit at 120-credit hours, while still requiring 150-credit hours for licensure, is an important professional issue we need to address.

While we are currently looking at the requirement for credit hours needed to sit for the CPA Exam, it's important to understand that the requirement for CPA licensure is still 150 hours. The 150-credit hour requirement for CPA licensure was first adopted by Florida in 1979 and implemented in 1983. Since that time, all but one jurisdiction has moved to requiring 150 credit hours for licensure. So far, the profession seems content to support having 150 hours for licensure, however, the 150-credit hours to sit requirement has changed significantly over the last 10 years.

Indiana is now one of only 13 jurisdictions that still requires CPA Exam candidates to have 150-credit hours to sit for the Exam. Thirty-eight other states have moved to allowing students to sit for the Exam at 120-credit hours.

INCPAS members on the Advocacy Council and the Government Relations Advisory Council discussed these trends, pipeline issues such as barriers to the profession, CPA Exam changes, and the implementation of CPA Evolution. When they talked about what should be on our legislative agenda for the 2021 legislative session, the decision to move Indiana to a 120-credit hours-to-sit state was the obvious choice.

Below are compelling arguments for allowing 120 hours to sit that merit discussion:
  • Lessen confusion. INCPAS often receives calls from students needing explanation on why they can’t sit for the CPA Exam when their peer is already sitting in another state.
  • Stay competitive. Competition for top talent among the various degrees is real. Many of these career paths have higher salaries, more job opportunities and require a 4-year degree.
  • Remove unnecessary barriers. With the rising costs of education, allowing a student to graduate from college, sit for the Exam and begin working sooner could lessen the financial burden on the student.
  • Employers could provide guidance on remaining 30 hours. Since the additional 30 hours of education are unprescribed in the rule, students have the ability to pick any course they want to fulfill this requirement. If they are hired upon completion of the 120-credit hours, an employer may want to suggest particular courses that would be helpful to their employees’ development. 

INCPAS will keep you apprised of related developments during the 2021 Indiana General Assembly. You can review INCPAS’ 2021 legislative agenda here.

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About the Author
Sherrill Rude, CAE, INCPAS VP –  Advocacy and Ali Paul, CAE, INCPAS Director – Diversity & Outreach