CPE Requirements for CPAs in Pennsylvania

Does Pennsylvania have a CPE requirement for CPAs? Yes!
The Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy requires all CPAs to ...

  • Obtain 80 credits of CPE per biennial period
  • Achieve a minimum of 20 credits per year
  • Ensure four credits of ethics are among the 80 credits

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CPE Requirement Details

Reporting Period
Total CPE Hours
Annual Minimum
Subject Minimum

Pa. State Board of Accountancy

Jan. 1, 2020 - Dec. 31, 2021
(2 years)


20 hours

All Pa. CPAs:
4 credit hours of Ethics

If you provide attest services:
24 credit hours of A&A
52 credit hours of Professional Development

If you do not provide attest services:
76 credit hours of Professional Development

N.J. State Board of Accountancy

Jan. 1, 2018 - Dec. 31, 2020
(3 years)


20 hours

72 hours in technical subject areas, including 24 of A&A and 4 in N.J. law and ethics

GAO Yellow Book Requirements

Jan. 1, 2019- Dec. 31, 2020*
(2 years)


20 hours

24 hours government-related


Varies (3 years)





There are no CPE requirements to be a member of the PICPA.


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Pennsylvania CPA CPE Credit Types & CPE Requirements

As determined by the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy:

Maximum Amount Per Reporting Period
How Credit Is Calculated

Group Study

No maximum

Awarded one CPE credit for each 50 minutes of participation.

Individual Study

50% of requirement

Noninteractive (no direct feedback between attendee and instructor) - Credit will be given based on half the average completion time calculated by the sponsor. Includes approved professional education courses taken over the internet.

Interactive (interaction between instructor/sponsor and attendee) - Awarded one CPE credit for each 50 minutes of participation. NASBA registry approved individual study courses qualify under this standard.

Credit will only be given in the renewal period in which the certificate of completion is dated. Certificate must be retained for five years.

Please note: PICPA's On-Demand CPE (self-study) is approved for Pennsylvania licensees. Please check your state's requirements for self-study.

Professor Lecturer or Discussion Leader Speaker

50% of requirement

Awarded one CPE credit for each 50 minutes of service as lecturer.

Two additional CPE credits are awarded for preparation time for each credit hour of instruction.

Credit will not be awarded for subsequent sessions unless the subject matter has substantially changed.

University or College Courses

No maximum

Credit courses - Awarded 15 CPE credits for one semester credit. (i.e., one three-credit college course = 45 CPE credits)

Noncredit courses - Awarded one CPE credit for each 50 minutes of class participation.

In-House Programs or On-Site Training Programs

No maximum

Awarded one CPE credit for each 50 minutes of participation.

Publications, Articles/Books or Professional Education Courses

25%-50% of requirement

One credit given for each 50 minutes of preparation time on self-declaration basis up to 25% of biennial requirement. A copy of the publication must be submitted to the board with the biennial renewal application.

Applicant may request additional credit by submitting a copy of work to the board with a letter explaining why applicant believes he/she should be awarded more than 25%.

Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy

On Sept. 23, 2017, the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy published the above regulatory changes in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The new regulations are effective for the current reporting period (Jan. 1, 2018 - Dec. 31, 2019). Read a summary of the changes and listen to this podcast for more information.

On May 1, 2001, the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy implemented amended CPE program sponsor regulations that directly impacted licensees. The amendments included a stipulation that all individuals or entities offering a program for continuing education credit must apply to the board for approval as a program sponsor. Licensees should now confirm a sponsor's approval under the regulations prior to registering for a program.

New Jersey State Board of Accountancy

The New Jersey State Board of Accountancy requires 72 hours in technical subject areas each reporting period, 24 of which must be in A&A and four in N.J. law and ethics.

Please note: PICPA's On-Demand CPE (self-study) is approved for Pennsylvania licensees only, and is not approved for New Jersey licensees.

GAO Yellow Book Requirements

Each auditor performing work under GAGAS should complete every two years at least 80 hours of CPE that directly enhance the auditor's professional proficiency to perform audits and/or attestation engagements.

*Instead of following the dates listed above, your period may run two years from the start date of the first audit made in accordance with the Yellow Book. The GAO states that to simplify administration of CPE requirements, an audit organization may establish a standard two-year CPE period for all of its auditors, which can be either on a fixed-year or rolling-year basis. Effective Jan. 1, 2004, the GAO released an amendment to its CPE requirements that states that CPAs may not, in most cases, use tax credits to meet their 80-hour GAO Yellow Book requirement.

Visit the GAO website to read the requirements effective June 30, 2005, as outlined in the GAO's Guidance on GAGAS Requirements for Continuing Education; the overview of major changes from the 1991 CPE Interpretation; and the technical amendment made by the Comptroller General to CPE requirements contained in the 2003 revision of Government Auditing Standards.


Reporting period begins Jan. 1 of the calendar year after joining the AICPA.

What Is CPE?

Staying informed on all the rules and regulations and learning from your peers are a part of what makes the CPA profession stand out among other professions. That's why continuing professional education (CPE) is a requirement for keeping your license active. Every state has different requirements. In Pennsylvania, you need 80 credit hours every two years, with a minimum of 20 credit hours each year. The biennial reporting period ends on Dec. 31 of every odd numbered year (2021, 2023, etc.).