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SMC|Academic Programs|Business Department|FAQs About the CPA Exam

FAQs About the CPA Exam

Recommended Accounting Course Sequence​

CPA Review Course Discounts​​


Frequently asked questions about the CPA exam:

1.  Do Santa Monica College classes count for CPA exam units?

Yes.  However, you need to direct this question to the specific state board you plan to apply for licensure with.  Most of our students plan to apply for licensure with the state of California.  Thus, they would contact the California Board of Accountancy.  Their phone number can be found on their website http://www.dca.ca.gov/cba/​.

Please realize no professor, counselor, college administrator, or institution has the authority to validate if a course qualifies for CPA exam units.  The only people who have the true authority to confirm which classes qualify would be the people at the respective state board of accountancy.  You should contact them and document your phone conversation.  


2.  Assuming you wish to be licensed in California, what are the educational requirements for CPA exam licensure?

Effective January 1, 2014, you will need to have met the following educational requirements to obtain a California CPA license:
a. Baccalaureate degree or higher
b. A total of 150 semester units including:
    - 24 semester units of accounting subjects
    - 24 semester units of business-related subjects
    - 20 semester units of accounting study
    - 10 semester units of ethics study

For more details, please check out the tipsheet provided by the California Board of Accountancy.  


3.  I am confused by the above tipsheet.  I don’t know what classes at Santa Monica College fit under each educational requirement.

Please call the California Board of Accountancy, and they will be able to assist you.  Their phone number can be found on their website http://www.dca.ca.gov/cba/.  Please make sure to document your phone conversation.  
 
Also, note there are some classes at SMC that fit the educational requirement, but are either not tested or not heavily tested on the CPA exam.  Below is a list of classes that cover topics heavily tested on the CPA exam.  It is highly recommended that you complete all of the classes listed below before taking the CPA exam.

Acct 1: Introduction to Financial Accounting
Acct 2: Corporate Financial and Managerial Accounting
Acct 10A: Intermediate Accounting
Acct 10B: Intermediate Accounting
Acct 10C: Intermediate Accounting
Acct 12: Auditing
Acct 15: Individual Income Taxes
Acct 16: Taxation of Corporations, Partnerships, Estates and Trusts
Acct 6: Accounting Consolidations
Acct 7: Advanced Accounting: Special Topics 
Bus 5: Business Law 


4.  I received my undergraduate degree in another country, or I took my accounting classes in another country.  Do they qualify?

Please check with the specific state board you plan to apply for licensure with and document your phone conversation.  To reach the California Board of Accountancy, their phone number can be found on their website http://www.dca.ca.gov/cba/.


5.  Do I need to get a SMC accounting certificate in order to take the CPA exam?

No, because you do not need a SMC accounting certificate to take the CPA exam.  However, in the process of preparing for the CPA exam, many students end up taking most of the accounting classes needed to obtain a SMC accounting certificate.   Thus, some students eventually go on to obtain a SMC accounting certificate.


6.  Do I really need to complete Accounting 1 and 2, before taking upper division accounting classes?

Absolutely yes!  Unless you master the material covered in principles of accounting (Acct 1 and 2), you will have a hard time understanding and absorbing the material covered in the upper division accounting classes.  Those classes build off of your Accounting 1 and 2 foundation.  


7.  I took Accounting 1 and 2 many years ago.  Do I need to retake them again?

The upper division accounting classes build off of your Accounting 1 and 2 foundation.  Generally speaking, students start to forget the majority of what they learned after 2 years—especially the journal entries and calculations.  After 4 years, they usually have forgotten a significant portion.  Thus, if you took your Accounting 1 and 2 classes more than 4 years ago, it is highly recommended to retake them again here at SMC.  You can enroll in SMC's accelerated 8 week format Accounting 1 and 2 courses. These accelerated courses are ideal for those students who already took principles of accounting many years ago, but need to retake them again for a good refresher.


8.  Should I take my accounting classes at Santa Monica College online or on ground?

Unless you absolutely cannot come to campus, it is highly recommended you take on campus classes because students generally learn more effectively on campus.

​Updated March 8, 2013