Becoming a CPA

Experience Requirements

Practical experience demonstrates your ability to put your education into practice. Therefore, all CPA candidates must earn 2,000 hours of qualifying experience gained through employment in government, industry, academia or public practice. You may accomplish this at any point during the process to obtain a CPA license, but note that the 2,000 hours must be completed within a period of not less than one calendar year and not more than five calendar years before your request for certification.


Experience may be gained through employment in government, industry, academia or public practice in one or more of the following areas:

  • Audits of financial statements in accordance with the applicable standards at the time of engagement
  • Reviews of financial statements in accordance with the applicable standards at the time of engagement
  • Compilations of financial statements with complete disclosure in accordance with the applicable standards at the time of engagement
  • Attestation engagements in accordance with the applicable standards at the time of engagement
  • Other auditing in accordance with applicable standards at the time of engagement that leads to an expression of a written opinion including any of the following:
    • Reviews regarding internal control
    • Operational audits
    • Compliance audits
    • Expressions of an opinion on financial forecasts and projections
  • Performance of an independent internal audit function
  • Compliance audits of government contracts performed on behalf of a government agency that result in the issuance of an opinion or report
  • Audits performed on behalf of a government audit agency that result in the issuance of an opinion or report
  • Preparation of income and nonprofit tax returns for any taxing jurisdiction
  • Properly documented tax research
  • Representation of a client before a government agency on a tax matter
  • Financial forecasts, analyses, and projections
  • Management advisory services including, but not limited to, business valuation, forensic accounting, and fraud examination services that meet applicable standards
  • Management and supervision of accounting functions and preparing financial statements for profit or nonprofit entities
  • Professional accounting-related work in a public accounting firm
  • Other work generally associated with the profession of public accounting

The following will not count as qualifying experience:

  • Experience consisting of non-professional work, including recruiting, industrial engineering, administration, bookkeeping and appraisals
  • Paraprofessional work that does not comply with the standards listed

Experience Q&A

1.

Question: Do I need to be directly supervised by a CPA for my experience to count?

Answer: No. A CPA only needs to verify your work. This person does not need to be employed at your place of work and may be licensed in any state or jurisdiction of the United States. The CPA should be somebody who is comfortable attesting on your behalf. When you apply for your license, you will need to complete a form for each of the positions you’ve held to meet the 2,000-hour requirement. The qualifying experience must be verified by a CPA.

2.

Question: Do I have to work in public accounting to meet the experience requirement?

Answer: Any work you complete must fall into one of the areas listed above. The CPA who verifies your experience should be comfortable signing legal documents, stating that you have performed 2,000 hours of qualifying experience. This may include presenting this person with supporting paperwork, documenting your employment and job description, as well as a log of hours. Ultimately, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will have the final say as to the qualification of the work you have performed.

3.

Question: Will work performed during an internship count toward the work experience requirement?

Answer: Yes. The department will grant full credit for qualifying experience earned during a college or university internship as long as it meets the qualifying experience requirements provided above. This includes internships for which you receive educational credit.

4.

Question: Will teaching accounting at a college or university count toward the requirement?

Answer: In order for instruction to count, you must teach accounting for four or more semesters at an institution recognized by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, including six or more credit hours per semester of accounting subjects above the elementary level.

Becoming a CPA

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