Arizona CPA Requirements for Continuing Professional Education

  • Feb 3
Arizona CPA Requirements for Continuing Professional Education

Arizona CPE Requirements for CPAs

For businesspersons holding professional titles or designations, continuing professional education is a common requirement for maintaining their standing as a licensed member of their accrediting organization. However, it is important to recognize that the organizational requirements for licensure can vary by state or territory, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) who are located in Arizona are required to renew their license every two years, and must complete 80 hours of continuing professional education per recertification period.

Ultimately, the Arizona Board of Accountancy is responsible for determining the requirements of CPAs within the state’s jurisdiction, and because the requirements vary so widely by location, it is important for Arizona licensees to stay aware of the specific state stipulations for license renewal. The table below highlights the primary recertification limitations and deadlines for Arizona.

License Renewal DateCPE Reporting PeriodTotal CPE HoursSelf-Study Credit Limitations
Last business day of birth month, biennially (odd or even year based on birth year)First day of month following birth month to last business day of birth month, biennially (odd or even year based on license expiration date)80 hoursNone

Subject Area Requirements

One major subject area requirement for CPAs in Arizona is to complete 4 hours of professional ethics during each 80-hour recertification period (two years). These hours cannot be taught by an employer or coworker and must include a minimum of one hour of each of the following subject:

  • Ethics related to the practice of accounting, including the Code of Professional Conduct of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Board statutes and administrative rules

CPAs are further required to obtain 40 hours of CPE credit in the areas of accounting, auditing, taxation, business law or management advisory services. 16 of those 40 hours must be related to accounting, auditing or taxation, and 16 must be in a classroom or interactive webinar setting.

Credit Limitations and Calculation

In the state of Arizona, it is possible for CPAs who instruct or present material in a professional capacity to earn up to 40 hours of continuing professional education credit through that medium. Instructor credits, combined with authorship credits, are limited to 40 hours per recertification period. Credit is equal to presentation time plus preparation. Preparation is limited to one times the length of presentation, and no credit will be granted for repeated instruction of the same material.

Authorship and publication of instructional material is a Board-approved method for obtaining continuing professional education credits in Arizona, and CPAs who choose to utilize this route can earn up to 20 hours maximum. Published materials must be a minimum of 3,000 words. For each 3,000 words of written material, the author may earn two credit hours.

CPAs who are active participants in university or college courses can obtain up to 15 CPE hours per semester hour or 10 CPE hours per quarter hour through class attendance and participation. Non-credit university courses are also accepted for CPE credit, where each classroom hour equals one qualifying hour.

Only portions of blended learning programs that are in a live classroom or interactive webinar setting may be applied toward the 16 hours classroom/interactive webinar requirement. Arizona requires that proof be presented for any portion of a blended learning program claimed toward this requirement. Group Live, Group Internet Based, Blended Learning, Interactive Self-Study, Author Published Material, QAS Self-Study and Non-Interactive Self-Study learning programs must be a minimum of one credit hour. However, credit may be obtained in one-fifth credit hour increments after the first full hour is earned.

Nano-learning credits are limited to 4 per reporting period, and are earned in one-fifth credit hour increments.

Introductory-level computer courses are limited to 20 hours per recertification period.

Other Policies and Exemptions

A non-resident licensee seeking renewal of a license can meet the CPE requirement for Arizona by meeting the CPE requirements for renewal of a license in the state in which the licensee’s principal office is located. If the state in which a non-resident licensee’s principal office is located has no CPE requirements for renewal of a license, the non-resident licensee must comply with all the CPE requirements for renewal in Arizona.

Members of the AICPA are automatically considered exempt from state continuing professional education requirements if they fall into any of the categories described below:

  • Retired members who do not offer their services to third parties
  • Unemployed licensees who do not offer services to other third parties
  • Members who have temporarily opted to remove themselves from the workforce and do not offer their services to third parties
  • Members who willfully list their status as “inactive” and offer no services to third parties

Further waivers for CPE exemption for any given recertification can be requested for the following reasons:

  • Issues with health
  • Military service
  • Occurrences of natural disasters (as dictated by the Board)
  • Any other circumstances which might prevent a licensed CPA from completing continuing professional education requirements

Additional CPE Resources for CPAs