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The 150 Credit-hour Requirement and CPA Examination Pass Rates—A Four Year Study

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Debate concerning the minimum educational requirements of certified public accountant (CPA) candidates in the USA has been taking place for decades. This paper compares the sectional pass rates of CPA candidates from jurisdictions requiring 150 credit hours of college study with the pass rates of candidates from jurisdictions not requiring 150 credit hours for the years 2004 to 2007. The paper finds that jurisdictions with a 150 credit-hour requirement have materially higher pass rates in areas of Auditing and Regulation, but not in the areas of Financial Accounting and Reporting or Business Environment and Concepts. The paper also finds that, on average, increasing a CPA candidate's formal education requirement results in improved candidate performance, but that some jurisdictions without the 150 credit-hour requirement consistently have sectional pass rates above the national average. Terms which may be unfamiliar to readers outside the USA are defined in the footnotes.
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Keywords: 150-h requirement; CPA examination; pass rates

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The College at Brockport,State University of New York, USA

Publication date: 01 February 2012

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