South Carolina CPA Requirements for Continuing Professional Education

  • Feb 3
South Carolina CPA Requirements for Continuing Professional Education

South Carolina CPE Requirements for CPAs

It could be argued that continuing professional education (CPE) is something someone in any industry could benefit from — after all, learning and continuing to hone a craft is admirable and worth the effort, because it helps ensure that an individual is as knowledgeable as possible within their chosen field. This is why the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) requires its members to complete a certain amount of continuing professional education in order to renew their license.

In the state of South Carolina, CPAs are required to renew their license on a yearly basis, having completed 40 hours of continuing professional education during that time. Ultimately, the South Carolina Board of Accountancy is responsible for setting this requirement, but because the qualifications vary from state to state, it’s important for licensees in South Carolina to know the stipulations within their state. The table below outlines several of the primary recertification requirements.

License Renewal DateCPE Reporting PeriodTotal CPE HoursSelf-Study Credit Limitations
January 31 annuallyJanuary 1 – December 31 annually40 hoursLimited to 50% of total required hours

Subject Area Requirements

During a three-year period (covering three recertification cycles), CPAs in South Carolina must take at least 6 hours of subjects which are dedicated to professional ethics, 2 of which must cover South Carolina Rules & Regulations and be SC Board approved. The 2-hour ethics course can be taken only once in each three-year cycle, and licensees can only count one 2-hour SC ethics course per three-year period toward their current recertification CPE goals.

Credit Limitations and Calculation

It is possible for CPAs to claim continuing professional education credit if they conduct instances of formal instruction or offer educational presentations. Here, credit is equal to two times the length of the presentation. No credit is available for the preparation time, and repeated instruction of the same course material is only acceptable so long as the curriculum has been substantially altered. Instructor credits for teaching university, college and graduate-level courses is limited to 25% of the total required hours per recertification period, and no credit will be granted for teaching introductory-level courses. Credit here is equal to 10 hours per 3 semester hours taught, and repeated instruction of a university or college course will only be accepted for credit so long as it is taught more than two years after the last instance of instruction.

CPAs who are active enrollees in college or university courses can also claim credit commensurate with the length of the class being taken. Licensees will be granted 15 CPEs for a semester-length course, 10 hours per quarter course, or 1 CPE hour per qualifying classroom hour for courses not worth university credit.

Credit is obtainable for authorship and publication of instructional or educational materials, limited to 25% of the total hours per recertification period.

Breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings are not an acceptable method for obtaining CPE credit unless they offer at least 50 minutes or more of continuous instruction after completion of the meal.

Participation in positive enforcement reviews assigned by the Board, and service on a qualifying peer review acceptance body, is limited to 16 hours per recertification period.

Personal development courses are limited to 20% of the total hours required per recertification period.

Self-study credits are limited to 50% of the total required hours for the recertification cycle, and providers of self-study courses must be recognized with NASBA’s Quality Assurance Service.

CPE credit can be obtained in half-credit increments once the first full hour of continuing professional education has been completed.

No more than 10 CPE credits can be earned on any given calendar day.

Other Policies and Exemptions

A maximum of 20 credit hours (50% of the maximum yearly requirement) may be carried from one reporting period to the subsequent reporting period. Credits earned from peer review, published materials, self-study, personal development or instruction of university/college courses are exceptions to this policy and cannot be carried.

The Board may accept a compliance report from another jurisdiction if the requirement is substantially equivalent to South Carolina’s state requirements.

CPAs in any of the following categories will automatically be considered exempt from the yearly recertification requirements so long as they refrain from offering their services to any third parties:

  • Retirees
  • Members who are currently unemployed
  • Members who have temporarily left the workforce
  • Officially “inactive” members

Furthermore, it is possible for active members to request waivers for exemption on the following bases:

  • Health issues
  • Military service
  • Natural disasters (as dictated by Board discretion)
  • Other similar circumstances (subject to Board determination)

Additional CPE Resources for CPAs



Article written by Braden Norwood