Illinois CPA Requirements for Continuing Professional Education

  • Mar 1
Illinois CPA Requirements for Continuing Professional Education

Illinois CPE Requirements for CPAs

Many business professionals who hold titles or designations through an organization such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) are responsible for maintaining their license through means of continuing professional education and generally must complete a certain amount during a recertification period. However, a prime difficulty with this process is the fact that different jurisdictions, often delineated according to state or territory borders, have their own requirements. When it comes to AICPA requirements for continuing professional education, each state is subject to a Board of Accountancy which sets its own policies, so variances abound between locations. If CPAs aren’t careful to understand their state-specific requirements, license renewal can quickly become a burdensome process, so it is important for licensees to educate themselves on the stipulations imposed by their particular Board.

CPAs who are located in Illinois are required to renew their license every three years and must complete 120 hours of continuing professional education per recertification period. The table below shows a few of the primary limitations and deadlines for license renewal in Illinois.

License Renewal DateCPE Reporting PeriodTotal CPE HoursSelf-Study Credit Limitations
September 30 trienniallyOctober 1 – September 30 triennially120 hoursLimited to 80 hours (60 hour maximum for non-interactive)

Subject Area Requirements

At some point within each three-year recertification cycle, licensees must take at least 4 hours of professional ethics and 1 hour in sexual harassment prevention training. There are no further subject area requirements for Illinois CPAs.

Credit Limitations and Calculation

It is possible for Illinois CPAs to gain CPE credit for instances of formal instruction or presentation. Here, credit is equal to presentation time plus preparation, where preparation is limited to two times presentation. Preparation time for repeat instruction will only be granted if the subject material has been substantially altered or changed.

College or university courses are an approved form of continuing professional education for licensees in Illinois and are worth up to 15 CPE credits per semester hour or 10 CPE hours per quarter hour.

Authorship credits can be obtained up to 30 CPE hours, so long as the material in question is instructional or educational and is published.

Personal development credits are allowed by the Illinois Board but are limited to 24 hours.

Self-study credits are limited to 80 hours per recertification period (60 hours if the format is non-interactive). Furthermore, each instance of non-interactive self-study is limited to one-half hour for each full hour earned.

Credit for non-verifiable CPE is limited to 60 hours per recertification period and includes the following:

  • Programs without an approved sponsor
  • Committee and technical meetings (limited to 10 hours)
  • Reading of Published Materials (limited to 10 hours)
  • Consultations with experts or research in an area new to the licensee (limited to 10 hours)

Credits can be obtained in half-hour increments after the first full hour of credit has been obtained.

Other Policies and Exemptions

Licensees with an address on record outside of Illinois shall be considered compliant with Illinois CPE requirements if the licensee has complied with the CPE requirements of the state in which their address is on record. Principal jurisdiction must require at least 120 hours of CPE over a three-year period.

The following categories describe CPAs who are automatically considered exempt and do not have to meet continuing professional education requirements, with the understanding that they offer no services to any parties:

  • Retired licensees
  • Licensees who are currently unemployed
  • Licensees who have temporarily opted to leave the workforce
  • Licensees who have formally listed their AICPA status as “inactive”

Waivers can also be requested by CPAs who have a legitimate need for continuing professional education requirement exemption, according to the following bases:

  • Health issues and/or complications
  • Active duty military service
  • Extreme natural disasters (as determined by the Illinois Board)
  • Extenuating circumstances which prevent members from completing continuing professional education requirements

Additional CPE Resources for CPAs



Article written by Braden Norwood