Iowa CPA Requirements for Continuing Professional Education

  • Mar 1
Iowa CPA Requirements for Continuing Professional Education

Iowa CPE Requirements for CPAs

In any industry where even small mistakes can have a large consequential impact, it is important for professionals to do everything within their power to ensure their tasks are being performed correctly. Continuing professional education is an essential component of membership with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) because it helps licensees remain knowledgeable and well-equipped for their specific, accounting-related tasks. However, since location-specific Boards of Accountancy are responsible for setting the license renewal requirements for their own jurisdiction, the stipulations from one place to another can vary greatly.

It is vital for CPAs to adequately understand their state regulations before jumping into continuing professional education. Members who reside in Iowa 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 the main recertification limitations and deadlines for Iowa CPAs.

License Renewal DateCPE Reporting PeriodTotal CPE HoursSelf-Study Credit Limitations
December 31 or June 30 annuallyJanuary 1 – December 31 OR July 1 – June 30 in the three years preceding renewal date*120 hoursMaximum of 50% of total hours required
*Licensees must declare which CPA date they are using when they renew. They may choose a different deadline (12/31 or 6/30) for each renewal cycle.

Subject Area Requirements

Within the three-year recertification period for CPAs in Iowa, 4 of the required 120 hours must be in Professional Ethics with a focus on professional conduct. Licensees must also take 8 hours in Accounting and Auditing if they supervise and/or sign compilation reports on financial statements.

Credit Limitations and Calculation

Instruction in a formal setting is one method by which CPAs in Iowa can earn continuing professional education credit, up to 50% of the maximum. Instructors will be allowed credit for 2 hours of preparation for each hour of actual instruction. Courses must be above elementary level or the time will not be accepted for credit.


CPAs enrolled in college or university courses can claim up to 15 CPE hours per semester hour and 10 CPE hours per quarter hour successfully completed.

Credit can be obtained for successful completion of the following exams: Certified Management Accountant/CMA, Certified Information Systems Auditor/CISA, Certified Financial Planner/CFP, Enrolled Agent/EA, as well as other similar examinations which are approved by the Board. These can be claimed in the calendar year of the examination and is limited to 50% of the total renewal requirement. Credit will be allowed at a rate of five times the length of each examination, which is presumed to include all time for adequate preparation.

Dinners, luncheons or breakfast meetings are an acceptable method for earning continuing professional education credit as approved by the Iowa Board, limited to 25% of the total required hours and 2 credits per instance. However, firm meetings are not allowed for credit.

Authorship is an admissible means of obtaining CPE credit so long as the work has been published. This medium is limited to 25% of the total hours required during the recertification period.

For self-study, a maximum of 50% of the required hours can be obtained.

Non-technical subject areas are limited to 50% of the hours required.

Credits can be obtained at a rate of one-half credit following the completion of the first full hour.

Other Policies and Exemptions

A CPA holding a currently valid license from their state of residence may choose to meet the Iowa CPE requirements by meeting the mandatory CPE requirements of the resident state.

The following categories describe CPAs who are automatically considered exempt from the continuing professional education requirement:

  • Retired individuals who do not offer services to third parties
  • Individual members who are currently unemployed, provided their services are not offered to third parties
  • Individual licensees who have temporarily and willingly left the workforce, who do not offer services to third parties
  • Formally “inactive” licensees who are not offering services to third parties

It is also possible to request a waiver from the Board for the CPE requirements for the following reasons:

  • Issues related to health
  • Military service
  • Natural disasters deemed so extreme as to prevent successful completion of CPE requirements in the time provided
  • Any other similar circumstances which could prevent licensees from completing CPE requirements in the provided timeframe

Additional CPE Resources for CPAs



Article written by Braden Norwood