Just because you’re a certified public accountant (CPA) doesn’t mean your education is over. If you want to keep your license in good standing, you’ll need to meet annual continuing professional education (CPE) credits required by the AICPA.
Whether you’re just thinking about becoming a CPA or you’re already a seasoned professional, we’ve got you covered. When you already have a busy career with significant personal obligations, its good to know convenient online based courses exist to help you earn additional CPE credits.
This article will provide you with a few convenient CPE course options to consider.
What Are CPE Credit Requirements?
What your specific CPE requirements will be depends upon which state you practice. You’ll want to check your state’s CPA requirements before signing up for anything. If you’re going to spend your time and money, you want to first ensure it will satisfy your requirements.
Your requirements will spell out the particulars you have to meet. That may include:
- How many hours of continuing education you must complete within the year.
- When the reporting period begins and concludes.
- Which programs qualify for satisfying your requirements, and how to calculate how many hours those programs are worth for your CPE.
Be aware that not all online courses are created equal. And with so many out there, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. Before deciding which online course you’ll sign up for, you’ll want to keep the following factors in mind.
- How much it costs: There can be a wide range in price, but that can be because the courses vary greatly in credit hours and providing live instruction.
- The resources you’ll have access to: Your course cost might give you resources such as webinars, videos, and quizzes.
- Credit hours: You’ll need to know how many credits you’ll earn and if that is enough to satisfy your CPE requirements for the particular reporting period.
- How long you’ll have access to the materials: That will let you know how quickly you need to complete the course for the current reporting period.
- Live instruction: Some courses will provide an instructor, while others will be self-guided using online materials.
Popular Online CPE Providers
When looking for programs, there are a few you should consider first. We’ll give you the lowdown on some popular providers and look at the specifics you’ll need to know about, like price and features.
Surgent is well known as a high quality CPA Exam Review course provider. However, Surgent also maintains a vast library of online CPE courses and live seminar options to meet CPE credit requirements. They are also approved as a provider of CPE credit by the NASBA, IRS, and the CFP Board.
You can view a complete list of Surgent’s CPE Accreditations here.
The CPE courses are available in packages. You can choose from self study packages or live webinar packages. All courses include the ability to access the course material from a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
16 Credit Seminar Package
This is the most basic course option available. This option is best when you only need a few extra credits to meet your requirements. With this option, you can pick any combination of individual webinars that equal 16 CPE credits.
- Self Study option for $225 or Live Webinar option for $399.
- Can choose from over 250 self study courses or 1,200 live webinar options.
- Either option is only valid for the current calendar year period.
Unlimited Self Study Package
The most popular option is the unlimited package. This course package provides additional flexibility and the option to earn up to 1,200 CPE credits. This course also includes access for a rolling 12 month period rather than a single calendar year.
- Self study option available for $499 & live webinar option for $599.
- Ability to take as many courses as your schedule allows.
- 12 month access period.
Unlimited Plus Package
This option represents the premium course package. You have the ability to access an unlimited number of courses, but you also have the ability to access premium courses with the most up to date content and you have maximum ability to access the courses on demand.
- Both self study and live option option for $799.
- Access to over 190 self study courses and 100 on demand webinars.
- Premium course access covers most timely new legal and regulatory trends.
- Available courses include over 7,500 CPE credits.
- Access for a rolling 12 month period.
Another popular online course option is through Becker. Becker offers a variety of course options, ranging from individual courses to annual packages. You can also choose whether you just want on demand access or you would like to utilize the live webinars.
Becker’s CPE course library includes over 1,400 hours of on demand and live course options. For more information on Becker’s course options, click here to see the full CPE course catalog.
On Demand & Webcast Courses
This course package includes full access all on demand and live webcast CPE courses in Becker’s library. New webinars are also added to the on demand library as they happen. Pricing for this package is available based on your desired amount of access time.
- 12 month access available for $399.
- 24 month access available for $749.
- 36 month access available for $989.
On Demand Course Package
The on demand package includes access to all previously recorded courses in Becker’s library. You don’t have access to live webinars, but you can view those courses after they get added to the library. These packages are available at a slightly lower price point than the live webinar packages.
- 12 month plan for $299.
- 24 month plan for $559.
- 36 month plan for $799.
Individual Course Options
If you only need a few extra CPE credits to meet your annual requirements, you might want to consider individual courses rather than package options. You can purchase a single CPE credit course for $29 or as many as 8 CPE credits for $159 (approx. $20 per credit).
Web CE offers a wide range of continuing education courses for a number of professions. Accounting CPE credits is a core part of Web CE’s course offering. Web CE is also registered with the NASBA as a sponsor of continuing professional education.
With Web CE, you’ll be asked to choose your state when you visit the website to look up particulars about the course offerings. Once you choose your state, you’ll see the options available to you.
Your cost and course packages will be dependent upon the state you practice. Here are a couple of examples as to what you might receive:
- Pennsylvania options: You can build your customized 40 hour CPE package for $74.95 in this state. For every extra hour you go over 40 hours, you’ll pay an additional $2.50. You also have the option of selecting individual classes, such as a 3-hour Financial Statement Analysis course for $19.95.
- Illinois options: When you click on this state, you’ll see you can pay $99.95 to build your own 80-hour CPE package.
No matter which state you choose, you will have a wide variety of courses to select.
Gleim offers one of the larger CPE course catalogs which includes Accounting, Tax, and Ethics courses. All courses are available on demand from Gleim’s web site.
Gleim’s CPE courses are in compliance with AICPA and NASBA standards. The course completion certificates are accepted by all State Boards of Accountancy, the IRS, and many other organizations.
Gleim’s CPE course options are available as part of a package or can be purchased individually. All courses and packages are available for a full 12 months after purchase.
- 100 hour course package for $600 ($6 per course hour).
- 40 hour course for $280 ($7 per course hour).
- 20 hour course for $160 ($8 per course hour).
- 4 hour course for $48 ($12 per course hour).
- 3 hour course for $36 ($12 per course hour).
- 2 hour course for $24 ($12 per course hour).
- 1 hour course for $12.
Meeting your CPE Requirements
Be sure to plan ahead when your CPE requirements. If you wait to the very end of the year, you risk running out of time to complete your requirements. The best way to meet your requirements is by spacing them out over the course of a year.
Online CPE courses are a great way to knock out your requirements when it is most convenient for your schedule. If your unsure which option is right for you, we recommend signing up for a free course to see what to expect from the instructors and the course content.