How to Become an Accountant or CPA in Missouri

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What is Accounting?

If you plan to seek employment as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Missouri, you may be eligible to start on the path toward CPA licensure. To become a CPA you will need to satisfy the state board's requirements. Becoming a CPA is a rigorous process that requires very hard work and dedication. However the process of becoming a CPA is rewarding in itself. Here are the steps, as prescribed by the Missouri State Board of Accountancy, that you’ll need to take to become a certified public accountant in the Show-Me state. Keep in mind that the CPA examination is one of the most difficult professional exams out there.

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Online Accounting Education Requirements in Missouri

Before you can sit for the Uniform CPA exam, you’ll need to make sure you’ve first completed the education requirements set by the Missouri State Board of Accountancy. To become a CPA in Missouri, you will need to study quite hard indeed.

Uniform CPA exam candidates must have a minimum education of a bachelor’s degree.

Students must also complete 150 semester hours from a college or university accredited by one of the following groups:

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools--Higher Learning Commission
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges--Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges--Commission for Senior Colleges
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools--Commission on Colleges

Your 150 semester hours must include the following:

  • 33 semester hours logged in accounting, including:
    • At least one auditing course
    • 18 semester hours logged in upper division accounting courses (not including accounting law or business law classes)
  • 27 semester hours logged in general business classes
    Community college, online, correspondence, and Uniform CPA exam review courses are all acceptable in completing these requirements, as long as all submitted credits come from an accredited college or university.

Online Associate Degree in Accounting (AS)

An associate degree in accounting program prepares students to move into positions as either paraprofessionals or accounting assistants. It includes some general business courses, accounting, and computer accounting classes to get you into the work force fast, but it doesn’t give you much access to higher level careers. You will gain some knowledge you need for the CPA exam and you can join the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) with a student membership. Becoming a CPA can involve attending CPA conferences, accounting seminars, and meeting fellow accounting students. However, your associate degree coursework might not yet begin to satisfy the Board's requirements to sit for the CPA examination.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Accounting (BS)

High level programs may offer you classes not only on accounting principles, but also on business, commercial law, ethics, and other concepts you may need to understand as you move through your career with a CPA license. You’ll gain the foundation you need to pass the CPA exam and become a success in your chosen field.

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Online Master's Degree in Accounting (MS)

Because certified public accountants are required to earn up to 150 semester to earn their CPA license, you may need a master’s degree to make sure you’re prepared to take the CPA exam. Many students enroll in an MBA program with an accounting concentration but others seek a Macc, or Master of Accountancy. Credits from either the MBA program or the graduate accounting degree will help satisfy the Board. Graduate coursework will certainly help you earn the required 150 semester hours while preparing you for the CPA examination. This is one of the biggest questions that students have to consider when they are looking at whether or not to attend graduate school for accounting.

Online PhD Degree in Accounting (PhD)

A good PhD program in accounting helps to prepare doctoral students for a career in academia and teaching accounting or they might choose to carry out research in the accounting field. This degree will prepare you for either. Though academics may not need a CPA license, they should all pass the CPA examination.

Online Degree in Accounting (Online)

Earning an online accounting degree should allow you to engage with the same challenging material that your campus counterparts are learning. Make sure your online accounting program is fully accredited so that you can sit for the Uniform CPA exam and qualify for a CPA license. In fact, you can complete the required 150 semester hours and qualify to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination without leaving your laptop. An online MBA program with an Accounting concentration will also suffice. No matter which level of degree you choose, there will be an option available that is perfect for your needs.

Missouri CPA Exam Requirements

After you’re finished with your education requirements, you can submit a CPA exam application to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam.

  • Register online or download a CPA exam application form at the CPA Examination Services (CPAES) website.
  • Submit the required paperwork. Be sure to include the following:

    • An official college transcript (in a sealed envelope from the university)
    • A Certificate of Enrollment signed by a university official (only needed f still attending college)
    • Payment of the application and exam fees (either online with a credit card or by sending a check, money order, or credit card form)
  • Wait for your Notice to Schedule (NTS) to arrive by mail, email, or fax. You will be able to choose your preferred delivery method when you register.
  • Schedule your CPA exam date at the Prometric website. You can take the CPA examination in one of the following Missouri locations:

    • Jefferson City
    • Kansas City
    • Lees Summit
    • Springfield
    • St Louis

    Arrive at your selected testing facility, on time and prepared to take your CPA exam.

  • Wait to receive your CPA examination scores in the mail. Results are generally sent out within two to three weeks.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Requirements

Missouri requires all licensed CPAs to satisfy continued professional education (CPE) requirements in order to stay in good standing with the Board. Those who follow these guidelines will never need to take the CPA exam again. One source of CPE opportunities is the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA.) They provide the test to help you become a CPA as well as hosting conferences, providing professional development opportunities, and more. Student members are surely better qualified to sit for the CPA exam and they have stronger networks in the accounting profession.

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Certified accountants must complete a total of 120 CPE hours every three years, with the following specifications:

  • A minimum of 20 CPE hours must be taken per year
  • Two CPE hours every year must be in the field of professional ethics

Approved CPE course subjects include:

  • Accounting
  • Assurance
  • Auditing
  • Consulting
  • Ethics
  • Management
  • Specialized knowledge/applications
  • Taxation

CPAs working as government auditors must complete 80 CPE hours in attest and/or auditing courses, 24 of which must be applicable to government.

Credit hours can be accumulated in the following ways:

  • University level courses (both credit and non-credit)
  • Online courses
  • Teaching and lecturing, including preparation for the CPA examination
  • Group studying programs
  • Independent study (under guidance from a CPE sponsor)
  • Writing articles and/or case studies for accounting publications

Be sure to maintain documentation of all CPE hours for at least five years after completion, including course/content description, name of CPE sponsor, location of credit program, and total hours logged.

You may find it helpful to become a member of local accounting organizations, especially when it comes to staying on top of new rules and regulations. The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is a valuable group to join, as well as the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Become an Accountant in Missouri

CPA candidates are required by the state of Missouri to complete at least one year of accounting experience before they are eligible to qualify as a licensed CPA.

Before you start working as an accountant, you must take the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)’s Home Study Course on Professional Ethics. Materials to complete the class can be ordered online. These materials should include the ethics exam.

After passing the AICPA Home Study Course, you’ll be able to take on a supervised position as an accountant in Missouri.

In order to count toward your CPA requirement, your work experience must meet the following stipulations:

  • Last for one full year in duration (2000 hours)
  • Take place under direct supervision by a licensed CPA in Missouri or a different location
  • Take place in a government, industry, academic, or private accounting practice
  • Include experience in the following concentrations:

    • Accounting
    • Attest
    • Compilation
    • Consulting
    • Governmental accounting, budgeting or auditing
    • Management Advisory
    • Review
    • Tax
  • If your position requires you to sign reports or supervise attest services, you must spend an additional 2000 hours working in attest services prior to obtaining your Missouri CPA license. This must take place in a public accounting practice, or by working as a government arbitrator.
  • When you’ve completed your required time, ask your supervisor (officially known as the Endorser) to fill out the Experience section of the Application for Initial License to Practice Public Accounting. They’ll also need to complete the Endorser-Experience Addendum, which must be signed in the presence of a Notary Public.
  • Submit all required documents with your application to Missouri State Board of Accountancy, 3605 Missouri Blvd., P.O. Box 613, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0613.

Getting Your CPA License in Missouri

Once you’ve completed all of the following requirements, you’ll be eligible to obtain your Missouri CPA licensure.

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  • Bachelor’s degree completed with a minimum of 150 semester hours
  • Application and school transcript submitted to the Board
  • Pass both the Uniform CPA Exam and the AICPA Home Study Ethics Exam
  • At least one year (2000 hours) of experience, depending on position

To finish the process and get your CPA license, you must complete and submit your licensure application to the Board.

Your application must include the following:

  • The date you passed the AICPA Ethics Exam
  • The Experience section of your application completed by your Endorser
  • The Endorser-Experience Addendum, completed by the Endorser and notarized
  • A $90 application fee

Upon completion, submit your application to Missouri State Board of Accountancy, 3605 Missouri Blvd., P.O. Box 613, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0613.

Careers for Accounting Graduates

  • Bachelor of Science in Business with a Concentration in Accounting
    If you earn your bachelor’s in business and add a concentration in accounting, you’ll have a much broader foundation for your future career. No matter what type of company you end up working for, your degree and concentration will give you the tools to be successful as you learn the ethics, economic, and financial aspects of your career early on.
  • Bachelor of Arts/Science in Accounting, Concentration in Entrepreneurship
    This degree and concentration are almost tailor-made for the student who plans to start their own business. In addition, a school of business may offer secondary majors or minors in marketing and management which will provide you with a well-rounded outlook to make your way into an entrepreneurial position.
  • Accounting Generalist
    This entry-level position requires you to work in the application of established procedures of accounting and follow local and federal regulations. You may process/oversee accounts payable and receivable, monitor fund balances and accounts, and creating sales and cash flow reports; you’ll also make sure the bookkeeping staff are in compliance with all procedures and regulations.
  • Controller or Comptroller
    In this position, you’ll likely be required to become a CPA in Missouri, have a minimum of 3 years of managerial or supervisory experience, and at least 5 years of accounting experience. You’ll report to the Board of Directors or CEO and may make financial suggestions based on the information available to you.

Missouri Average Accountant Salary

When it comes to job opportunities, Missouri cities offer some of the best outlooks in the nation. 11.6 out of every thousand jobs in Kansas City are held by accountants, with St. Louis not far behind with 9.6 accounting jobs per thousand. As of 2016, ten Fortune 500 companies had headquarters in Missouri, including Monsanto, Emerson Electric, and O’Reilly Automotive. Jobs are expected to keep being added within the state, with an expected growth projection of 8.2 percent by 2024. Accountants in Missouri earn a mean annual income of $70,180, with the St. Louis area averaging as high as $51,500 per year.

City Annual Median Wage
Jefferson City $47,700
Joplin $56,000
Kansas City $51,700
St. Louis $51,500
SW MO Area -
Entry Level Mid Career Late Career
$48,900 $58,100 $52,800
  • Missouri Average Cost Estimator Salary: $65,000
  • Missouri Average Auditor Salary: $53,900
  • Missouri Average Budget Analyst Salary: $54,700
  • Missouri Average Credit Analyst Salary: $45,700
  • Missouri Average Financial Analyst Salary: $58,400
  • Missouri Average Personal Financial Advisor Salary: $79,500
  • Missouri Average Financial Examiner Salary: $64,000
  • Missouri Average Tax Examiner, Collector, or Revenue Agent Salary: -
  • Missouri Average Tax Preparer Salary: $56.200
  • Missouri Average Actuary Salary: $94,800
  • Missouri Average Forensic Science Technician Salary: -
  • Missouri Average Payroll and Timekeeping Clerk Salary: $66,000

Missouri Accounting Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average annual pay for an accountant in Missouri?

Your average annual pay will be around $52,000 if you work in St. Louis. At the beginning of your career, that may be closer to $39,000 and by your mid-career, your salary may be $67,000. However, your pay will also depend on the education you choose to complete, your experience, where you live, and the level of competition for work in your area.

Will I be able to find an online option for an accounting degree in Missouri?

If an online option for an accounting diploma is the only one that fits your life, you should know that the education you earn online will be just as challenging as an in-person education. Not only are there schools around the country which can offer you an accounting education from anywhere, there are also schools in your state that can offer you an online bachelor's degree from a school near you.

Will I be able to transfer my AAS credits to a four-year accounting program?

You’ll want to first look for the Missouri universities that accept transfers of community college students. An A2B program (Associate to Bachelor) locks you into a four-year degree plan, as well as your catalog year, so you won’t be surprised by any catalog changes when you transfer over. However, you really need to make sure to attend an accredited school if you think you’ll want to transfer at some point. Unaccredited schools are nearly impossible to transfer credits from because the quality of the courses is not assured.

What is the job outlook for accounting in Missouri?

Between 2019 and 2029, the employment of auditors and accountants is expected to grow by 4%. This is roughly the same percentage as for all other US occupations. You can expect the growth in the employment of auditors and accountants to track closely to the overall economic health of the country.

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