CPA practical experience: Overview for students/candidates
Learn more about the two practical experience routes, the CPA mentorship program, how to report your progress and details about the development of the required competencies.
To earn the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation, Canada’s pre-eminent accounting and business credential, students and candidates must complete relevant practical experience in addition to formal education and the Common Final Examination.
The CPA certification program meets or exceeds the requirements of regulators, global accounting organizations and the Canadian business community for professional accountants working in both public practice and industry. It provides you with the technical and softer skills you need in today’s business marketplace. The knowledge and competencies you gain through practical experience complement what you gain through education.
The CPA Practical Experience Requirements (CPA PER) has been updated to include both the general practical experience requirements for certification as a CPA, and the specific practical experience requirements for those seeking registration to practice public accounting. Candidates pursuing their public accounting designation through the Audit or Review streams should consult the Chargeable Hours Guidance to determine the types of practical experience that qualify for chargeable hours under these streams. The specific regulations and bylaws of the provincial/regional body and the specific licensing regime or authority within each provincial body to control public accounting take precedence over these general requirements.
The Changes to the CPA Practical Experience Requirements document outlines the changes to the CPA PER that came into effect April 1, 2023.
There are two routes you can take:
You can complete your practical experience requirements through either route or in combination.
There are five common elements that support both routes:
The CPA Harmonized Practical Experience Policies outlines the profession’s expectations regarding the implementation of policies for qualifying practical experience, mentorship, transition rules, and reporting and assessment.