How To Become a CPA?

Are you eligible to become a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA)?

Your eligibility into the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) will depend on your background. Please choose from the options below to learn more about your specific path.

CPA PREPARATORY COURSES ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

For admission to the CPA preparatory courses (CPA PREP):

  • completion of at least 30 credit hours at a recognized post-secondary institution,
  • or at least three years of relevant work experience in any of the CPA technical competency areas: Financial Reporting, Strategy and Governance, Management Accounting, Audit and Assurance, Finance, and Taxation

CPA PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

For admission to CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP):

  • a completed university degree (equivalent to 120 credit hours) in any discipline from a recognized post-secondary institution, or at least eight years of relevant work experience in any of the CPA technical competency areas: Financial Reporting, Strategy and Governance, Management Accounting, Audit and Assurance, Finance, and Taxation
  • prerequisite subject area coverage through the 14 CPA preparatory courses or equivalent courses at a post-secondary institution

Please select one of the following admissions profiles that best reflects you:

Applicant types are determined by post-secondary education history. Check the applicant type that best describes your educational standing to access admission process information, detailed step-by-step instructions, and resources.

Prospective CPA Atlantic School students and candidates may complete prerequisites for the CPA PEP program through recognized institutions across Canada and abroad. Prerequisites can also be completed through CPA preparatory courses.

The above post-secondary equivalency chart includes recognized courses from several universities and colleges in the Atlantic region and Bermuda. Courses taken at universities and colleges not listed here may still be assessed.

Improved access to preparatory courses for Francophone business graduates looking to enrol in the CPA PEP.

As preparatory courses are not offered in French at the CPA Atlantic School of Business, CPA Atlantic School is pleased to inform our francophone students of a new way to complete the pre-requisites for the CPA PEP. CPA Atlantic School is pleased to inform our francophone students of a new way to complete the pre-requisites for the CPA PEP. Offered entirely online and in French by TÉLUQ University, the CPA Pre-requisite Certificate is now available and provides increased access to pre-requisite courses to the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP).

Courses included in the certificate can be found in the above equivalency chart, for more information on the certificate contact renseignements@cpaatlantique.ca, or visit TÉLUQ online.

STUDIED IN THE UNITED STATES

Applicants who have completed a degree from a recognized post-secondary institution in the United States do not require a third-party assessment of their degree. Exemption from CPA pre-requisite courses will be assessed on an individual basis. Applicants may be required to submit course syllabi for relevant courses during the assessment process.

STUDIED OUTSIDE CANADA, BERMUDA, OR THE UNITED STATES

Applicants who have completed a degree from a recognized post-secondary institution outside Canada, the US, or Bermuda will need to submit a third-party assessment of the degree as part of the international eligibility assessment process. A World Education Services (WES) International Credential Advantage Package (ICAP) is required for applicants who have completed an international degree. Detailed course syllabi from your institution may also be required to determine exemptions from prerequisite courses. These documents provide the detailed analysis the CPA Atlantic School needs to comparatively evaluate your international courses against CPA Canada’s educational standards.

Regardless of nationality or citizenship status, all applicants with transcripts from universities or colleges outside of Canada, Bermuda, or the US are subject to CPA Atlantic’s international transcript evaluation fee.

In addition to the academic portion of the CPA certification program, there is a practical experience component which requires the equivalent of 30 months of full time, relevant employment. This is separate from the academic criteria and it is the responsibility of the student to secure relevant work experience to satisfy this component.

Canadian study permits are required for all international students studying in Canada. Any immigration, study permit or work visa related questions must be directed to the federal department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), as they are authorized to advise you on required Canadian study and work permits. International students and graduates of the CPA Certification Program who do not have right of residence in Canada are not entitled to a Post-Graduation Work Permit, as issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Information for those who are current, full members of an international accounting membership body.

Mutual Recognition Agreement

If you are a member in good standing of an international accounting body that has a valid reciprocity agreement with CPA Canada, or a valid recognition agreement with the CPA legacy bodies (CA, CGA and CMA) you may be eligible to proceed directly to membership with the provincial CPA body for the region in which you are living. Please contact your respective province for more information about becoming a Canadian CPA through a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) or Reciprocal Membership Agreement (RMA):

Memorandum of Understanding

If you are a member in good standing with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), or the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), you may be eligible for advanced standing in the CPA certification program through the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Depending on your application, you may be eligible for advanced standing directly to the Common Final Exam (CFE) and may be exempt from the 30-month Practical Work Experience Requirement. While you may be eligible to proceed directly to the CFE, we strongly recommend you consider enrolling in the Capstone modules which are designed to prepare you for the best opportunity for success in writing the CFE.

Please contact your Student Recruitment Advisor to find out how to apply to the CPA Atlantic School of Business as a member of ICAI or ICAP.

IFAC Members

If you are an internationally-trained accountant in good standing with an International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) member body with which there is no MRA, RMA or MOU with CPA Canada in place, you may be eligible for advanced standing into the CPA PEP. It is likely that you will be exempt from the prerequisite courses, and required to complete the following:

  1. Challenge exams for Core 1, Core 2, and two elective modules
  2. Complete Capstone 1, Capstone 2, and the Common Final Examination
  3. Complete 30 months of prescribed work experience. There may be an option to apply for full or partial exemption from the prescribed work experience.

Please keep in mind it would be in your best interest to complete all six academic modules, beginning with Core 1.

Learn about the benefits of becoming a CPA in Canada, and how having your CPA can enhance your career goals, even without a degree.

If you do not have an undergraduate degree, you may still be eligible for the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) by fulfilling the eligibility criteria.

To do so, you must:

  • have at least eight years of relevant experience in any of the CPA technical competency areas: Financial Reporting, Strategy and Governance, Management Accounting, Audit and Assurance, Finance, and Taxation
  • successfully complete prerequisite subject area coverage through a post-secondary institution or through the CPA preparatory courses

Workforce applicants may be eligible for enrolling in CPA preparatory courses without the required completion of 30-credit hours at a recognized institution.
To do so, you must:

  • have at least three years of relevant experience in any of the CPA technical competency areas: Financial Reporting, Strategy and Governance, Management Accounting, Audit and Assurance, Finance, and Taxation

The CPA designation gives you the set of skills to do anything.
Lindsay Power, CPA, CMA, MBA
Senior Business Analyst - Strategic Projects, StandardAero
You have this massive family of CPAs on which you can lean on and use as much as you can, as often as you can.
Craig Farewell, CPA
Co-owner & Director of Operations, Banished Brewing & Brewdock
The skills you acquire through the CPA program prepare you to lead in any organization and in any industry.
Courtney Burns, CPA
President and CEO, Greater Moncton International Airport Authority Inc.
It’s the differentiator when someone has a stack of resumes. People with a CPA designation will stand out.
Leah Boody, CPA, CMA
President, Pineapple Bytes
The CPA designation first ignited my entrepreneurial spirit. It certainly helped me get to where I am right now.
David Arsenault, CPA
President, Arsenault Properties

How can we help?

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Complete the form below to contact a Student Recruitment Advisor in your region for advice on eligibility for CPA pre-certification programs.

To contact your student recruitment advisor directly ​​for program-path planning and preparing to join CPA as a student/candidate:

NOVA SCOTIA
Britt Fernandes
e. ns-advisor@cpaatlantic.ca
t. 902.334.1174

NEW BRUNSWICK & PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
​Camille Ferland
e. nb-advisor@cpaatlantic.ca
pe-advisor@cpaatlantic.ca
t. 506-800-0725

NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR & BERMUDA
Lori-Lydia Loveless
e. nl-advisor@cpaatlantic.ca
bm-advisor@cpaatlantic.ca
t. 709.753.3090

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