USA Can you take the CPA exam without accounting experience?

Jan 30, 2019
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United States
Good evening to all,

I earned my bachelor's at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2014. I have all the core accounting classes needed for the exam: Intermediate, Advanced, Cost, Tax, Auditing, Government, etc. with a minor in business. I'm currently at 131 semester college hours falling slightly short of the 150 requirement. But, I'm assuming I can take another 19 hours in any field to meet the requirement.

I joined the Coast Guard upon graduation for self improvement/discipline reasons and currently work in vessel traffic service which I absolutely love. I do plan to exit the CG when my contract expires in 1.5 years. I'll have the option to pursue a GS 11 or 12 job as a vessel traffic controller or I can put my degree to use. I'm single with a lot of down time, so studying & grinding at least 20-30 hours a week from home is not an issue. Even a 3 year window to prep for the exam won't be an issue since I have plenty of cash saved with no debts. I could even take a year off from work and devote much more time to preparing for the exam.

Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy
states: Passing the CPA Exam - Applicant must make application for licensure within 3 years of passing the CPA examination.

Experience - The candidate must have at minimum, one year meaningful experience gained by full time employment within three years from the date of successful completion of the CPA examination, under the supervision and direction of a CPA licensee such as:

  • Accounting and Auditing
  • Management Advisory
  • Financial Advisory
  • Preparation of Tax Returns or Tax Advice

I'm assuming I can take and pass the exam without the experience, receive a certificate for passing the exam, then have the open window of 3 years to gain one year of meaningful experience to receive the license. I'd rather pass the exam before applying for a job. I think it would greatly enhance my credentials being out of school for 5+ years without any practice and give me more flexibility on the open job market.

I came here to make sure my interpenetration of the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy is the way I see it. Maybe I'm missing something here. Any feedback would greatly be appreciated.





VIP Member
Jun 16, 2017
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United States
I would suggest you contact them directly. They are the only ones that can correctly interpret their standards.

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