Those who want to obtain a CPA certification can complete some of the required course work online, by enrolling in a program of study through a college or university, explains the CPA Review. Other CPA requirements, including relevant work experience and sitting for the CPA exam, must be done in person.
To become a CPA, a candidate must fulfill what the industry refers to as the "Three E's." These are education, experience and examination, according to the American Institute of CPAs, or AICPA. The first step is completing a program of study in accounting at a college or university. Requirements vary by state, but most states require 150 semester hours of instruction, which is 30 credits more than a traditional four-year degree. Further, states may require a minimum number of hours in accounting and business instruction.
Some students finish the requirements in an undergraduate program, while others complete the requirements on the graduate level, says the CPA Review. Several colleges and universities offer online CPA certification programs. States also require CPA candidates to obtain a specified amount of professional work experience in public accounting, with the type and amount of required work varying by state. This requirement cannot be completed online. Finally, CPA candidates must sit for the Uniform CPA Examination. Preparation courses, tutorials and practice exams are available online. However candidates must take the exam in person.