Colorado CPA Requirements for Continuing Education

  • May 22
Colorado CPA Requirements for Continuing Education

CO CPA CPE Requirements

Many business professional are licensed members of various organizations that certify them for certain skills and abilities, sometimes because licensure is required for a specific practice but also because it demonstrates hard work and prestige. For most of these certifications, there is a requirement for individual members to actively report on their attempts to stay up-to-date with key industry topics and advancements, and a primary way of doing this is by completing various continuing education courses or participating in learning-oriented activities, though the specifics of these stipulations vary by organization and location. For example, certified public accountants, or members of the AICPA, who practice in Colorado are required to renew their license every two years, and must complete 80 hours of professional continuing education each recertification period.

When it comes to determining the particular stipulations for Colorado-based CPAs, the state Board of Accountancy is responsible for setting the Colorado CPA CPE requirements, and governs the forms of continuing education which are acceptable for maintaining a designation. Since Colorado’s qualification requirements differ from other states and locations, certified public accountants must be aware of the specific rules and limitations regarding their recertification. The table below highlights the primary recertification limitations and deadlines for Colorado.

Colorado CPA CE Requirements and Recertification Deadlines

License Renewal DateCPE Reporting PeriodTotal CPE HoursSelf-Study Credit Limitations
November 30 of odd-numbered yearsJanuary 1 – December 31 biennially, ending on odd years80 hoursNone

Subject Area Requirements

During each two-year recertification phase, 4 of the required 80 hours must be in Professional Ethics. Providers offering ethics courses must register with the Board and/or have their content approved by the Board. In completing the Colorado CPA CPE ethics requirement, no more than two hours may be in Colorado Rules & Regulations — eligible CR&R courses must cover current Colorado Revised Statutes and Board rules and comply with CR&R Content Outline provided in section 7.8 (E) of the Accountancy Rules and Regulations.

Credit Limitations and Calculation

The state of Colorado does not pre-approve courses or providers. If both the licensee and the CPE provider comply with the NASBA/AICPA CPE standards, the continuing education will be accepted by the Board as meeting the Colorado CPA CPE requirements. Sponsors listed on NASBA’s national Registry of CPE Sponsors comply with the NASBA/AICPA standards and are accepted by the Colorado State Board.

There are credit limitations for both personal development courses as well as published or instructed materials. Only 20% of the total required hours may be obtained through methods contributing to personal development. Published and instructed materials combined are limited to 50% of the total required hours for any reporting period.


Colorado CPAs in any of the following categories are automatically considered exempt from the general continuing education requirements, as decided by the AICPA:

  • Retirees not offering services to any parties
  • Licensees currently unemployed and not offering services to any parties
  • Members who have temporarily and willingly left the workforce not offering services to any other parties
  • Members who have formally listed their organizational status as “inactive” not offering services to any parties

Waivers can be requested by CPAs who do not fall into any of the previous categories for the following reasons:

  • Health complications
  • Military service
  • Natural disasters (as determined by the Board)
  • Other circumstances which might prevent a member from completing their CPE requirements (subject to Board review for acceptance)

Additional CPE Resources for CPAs

Article written by Braden Norwood