Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about the CPA pre-certification programs

CPA FAQs

Do I need an accounting degree to enroll in the CPA pre-certification program?

No, an accounting degree is not an entrance requirement. The academic prerequisite for admission to the CPA PEP is a university degree in any discipline (undergraduate or post-graduate) from a recognized post-secondary institution. For the preparatory courses and ACAF, the academic entry requirements are 30 credit hours from a recognized post-secondary institution.

An eligibility assessment will determine if you have completed all of the specific accounting and business prerequisites needed for the CPA pre-certification program of your choice.

Do I have to work in an accounting firm to earn the CPA designation?

In fact, there is no requirement to be employed at all during the course of your studies, though the vast majority of candidates do tend to be working full time. Of those employed, roughly 50 per cent work at accounting firms and roughly 50 per cent work in industry, the public sector, and not-for-profits.

However, you will need to gain 30 months relevant practical experience with an employer (in any sector) within seven years of starting the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP). The key is to gain relevant, paid employment that is progressively challenging so as to develop as a professional accountant with appropriate supervision and mentorship.

Read more about the CPA Practical Experience Requirements

Is financial support available for my CPA studies?

The CPA certification program does not qualify for traditional student loans as provided by the provincial or federal government. However, registrants can apply for a “professional studies” loan through a commercial bank to provide financial support throughout the program. Many candidates in the CPA program are supported by their employers, often as part of their terms of employment or as part of their continuing professional development.

Is the CPA recognized outside of Canada?

Yes, the Canadian accounting designation is recognized internationally with thousands of CPA members currently working in throughout the world.

The CPA certification program was developed in accordance with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) standards for professional accountants and well prepares CPAs to embark on global careers through reciprocal agreements with the world’s leading accounting organizations.

Can I transfer my CPA studies to other Canadian provinces and territories?

Yes, the CPA certification program is a nationally-developed program that is regionally delivered by CPA schools across the country. The same program is offered all across Canada (and Bermuda), even on the same schedule.  If you are a current CPA student/candidate enrolled with CPA Atlantic School of Business and will be moving to another province outside of Atlantic Canada or Bermuda, contact us to let us know and we’ll guide you through the transfer process.

Can a foreign national (living in Canada) enroll in the CPA program?

Yes, foreign nationals living in Canada can enroll in the CPA certification program as long as they have attained the appropriate visas to do so. In the event someone is not living in Canada, it should be noted that face-to-face workshops for the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) are only available in Canada and Bermuda at this time, and that attendance is obligatory.

If you do not have Canadian citizenship and are not a permanent resident, but are residing in Canada and interested in the CPA designation, contact your regional Student Recruitment Advisor to discuss your next steps.

Can I complete my CPA studies in French?

Yes, the CPA Atlantic School of Business currently delivers the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) in both English and French. As for the prerequisite courses, CPA Atlantic School of Business delivers the CPA preparatory courses in English, but the French equivalency is delivery through a third-party, post-secondary institution. If you are interested in completing CPA PREP in French, please contact your regional Student Recruitment Advisor.

Do I need a job to enroll in the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP)?

No, you do not need to be employed to enroll in CPA PEP (see more detail in in FAQ #2). In order to earn the CPA designation you need to complete both the academic program and earn 30 months relevant practical experience, however you can take longer than the time enrolled in the academic modules to earn the full 30 months relevant practical experience. Once enrolled, CPA PEP candidates have a time limit of six years to complete all of the academic requirements and seven years to complete the practical experience requirements.