Tennessee CPA Requirements for Continuing Professional Education

  • Nov 17
Tennessee CPA Requirements for Continuing Professional Education

CPE Requirements for CPAs in Tennessee

The requirement for licensed CPAs to complete continuing professional education goals is endorsed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and enforced by state Boards of Accountancy, all with the purpose of ensuring licensees are able to provide quality service within the accounting industry. However, since different Boards of Accountancy are responsible for setting and enforcing individual state requirements, the stipulations set forth vary from one location to another, and it is vital for CPAs to understand the governing rules for the continuing professional education requirements within their jurisdiction.

CPAs who live in Tennessee are required to renew their license every two years and must complete 20 hours of professional education per year, with a total of 80 hours completed by the end of the recertification period. The table below further explains several important components of Tennessee’s requirements for continued licensure.

Tennessee CPA CPE Requirements and Recertification Deadlines

License Renewal DateCPE Reporting PeriodTotal CPE HoursSelf-Study Credit Limitations
December 13 (odd or even year corresponding to odd or even license number)January 1 – December 31 biennially, ending on odd or even years corresponding to odd or even license number80 hoursNone

Subject Area Requirements

CPAs in Tennessee are required to complete at least two hours of a Board-approved, state-specific ethics course each recertification cycle, which is designed to familiarize the licensee with accountancy law and rules as well as professional ethics. At least 40 hours (50% of the required amount) must be in technical subjects including: accounting, governmental accounting, auditing, governmental auditing, business law, economics, finance, information technology, management services, regulatory ethics, specialized knowledge, statistics or taxes. If a licensee is engaged in any attest functions, including compilation, they are required to take at least 20 hours in accounting and/or auditing subjects. If a licensee provides expert witness testimony, they are further required to complete no less than 20 hours per recertification period in the area in which the court has deemed them an expert.

Credit Limitations and Calculation

It is possible for CPAs in Tennessee to obtain credit for instances of formal instruction or presentation, with the limit set at 50% of their total required credit amount. Instructors may receive up to 3 hours of credit for each hour of class time.

CPAs who are enrolled and participating in college or university courses can claim CPE credit hours equal to 15 CPE hours per semester hour or 10 CPE hours per quarter hour. Non-credit university courses are also applicable under this rule, but offer CPE at a rate of 1 hour for each qualifying hour of classroom time.

Licensees in Tennessee can complete professional exams in order to further fulfill continuing professional education requirements, the rate of which is 5 times the length of the exam. The limitation for this method is 50% of the maximum required hours and applies for CMA, CISA, and other similar Board-approved exams.

Credit will be granted for reading professional journals and subsequently taking and passing exams on the material, limited to 20% of the maximum required hours biennially.

CPE credit is available for authoring instructional or educational material, though that work must subsequently be published. A copy of the article or book must be made available to the Board if CPE records are audited at any point. The maximum credit available through authorship is 50% of the total required hours per recertification cycle.

Group and blended study opportunities earn CPE credit in 10-minute increments once the first full hour (calculated as 50 minutes) has been completed. For self-study credit, CPE can be earned in 10-minute increments once the first half-hour has been completed.

Other Policies and Exemptions

Continuing professional education opportunity providers offering 16 or more credits must be registered with NASBA’s National Registry, while those offering fewer than that amount may register instead with NASBA’s Roster Program.

A non-resident licensee seeking to renew a license can meet the CPE requirements for Tennessee by meeting the CPE requirements for renewal of a license in the state in which the licensee’s principal office is located. Compliance is demonstrated by signing a statement which certifies that the principal jurisdiction’s CPE requirements for renewal are met on the renewal application for Tennessee. If the state in which a non-resident licensee’s principal office is located has no CPE requirements for the renewal of a license, the non-resident licensee must comply with all CPE requirements for license renewal in Tennessee instead. If the licensee’s principal jurisdiction has no ethics requirement, the ethics requirement for Tennessee must be met.

CPAs in any of the following categories will be considered exempt from license renewal requirements for the state of Tennessee:

  • Retirees who offer no services to third parties
  • Members who are currently unemployed and not offering their services
  • Members who have temporarily left the workforce and are not offering their services
  • Members who have formally listed their status as “inactive” and are not offering their services

Furthermore, waivers can be requested by CPAs for the following reasons:

  • Health complications
  • Active-duty military service
  • Extreme natural disaster of a sort preventing continuing professional education opportunities
  • Other similar circumstances which can be approved by the Board

Additional CPE Resources for CPAs



Article written by Braden Norwood