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CPA Program Information

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Invest in Your Future — Become a CPA

A CPA designation is earned through completing the graduate-level CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) and relevant practical work experience. The time and investment in your education will increase your earning potential once you have started your career. Find out what you need to begin and what you can expect.

CPA Certification Program Overview

The CPA certification program is designed to ensure that all CPAs have a strong foundation of ethics, knowledge and skill. CPAs navigate through complexity to drive success across all industries and in organizations of any size. The nationally developed and provincially delivered CPA certification program consists of:

  • academic prerequisites with specific area coverage;
  • the CPA Professional Education Program, which includes the Common Final Examination (CFE); and
  • 30 months of recognized relevant practical experience.

CPA Certification Program

The CPA certification program must be completed within specified timelines as outlined in the Member’s Handbook, Regulation 6-1 (s.13). Please note that the CPA certification program does not award a degree.

Want to Learn More About The Prerequisites?

Academic Prerequisites

CPA Professional Education Program

The CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) is the graduate level program that makes up the educational portion of the CPA certification program. The program is designed to enhance future CPAs' ability to apply professional knowledge, values, ethics and attitudes in a professional context. 

The CPA PEP consists of a series of core, elective and capstone modules built upon the CPA Competency Map, culminating in the Common Final Examination (CFE). Unless specifically exempted, students must complete the modules in order (i.e., Core 1, Core 2, Elective 1, Elective 2, Capstone 1, Capstone 2 and then the CFE).

CPA PEP Modules

CPA PEP Modules

The Common Final Examination (CFE) is the three-day final exam that caps the education portion of the CPA certification program. The CFE evaluates students on the competencies defined by the Competency Map, which outlines the knowledge, skills and proficiency levels you must have as a Canadian CPA.

Students must demonstrate depth in either Financial Reporting or Management Accounting as well as depth in one of the other technical competency areas. Students also have to demonstrate breadth in all six technical competencies.

The CPA PEP program takes two years to complete on a part-time basis while earning practical experience through relevant employment.

Want to Learn More About the CPA PEP and the CFE?


CPA Practical Experience Requirements (CPA PER)

In addition to completion of the CPA PEP and the CFE, the CPA certification program requires students to complete a minimum of 30 months of relevant practical experience. The knowledge and competencies gained through practical experience complement those developed through education. Practical experience may be gained while completing the CPA PEP. A minimum 12 months of relevant work experience must be developed during or after the CPA PEP is completed.


There are two ways to meet the practical experience requirements:

Pre-Approved Program Route (PPR)

CPA Ontario partners with employers to create PPRs that offer specific employment and training programs for students in the CPA program. In PPR, students are provided with mentors by their employer. 

Find a list of pre-approved programs:

Experience Verification Route (EVR)

Students may also complete their practical experience through an employer of their choice, provided the experience meets the requirements of the CPA PER. In EVR, students find their CPA mentor independently.

Become a CPA: Register for a Complimentary Information Session

You will learn how the CPA designation provides you with:

  • Job security and career advancement
  • High earning potential
  • Job opportunities 
  • Improved skills and knowledge

Want to Learn More About the Practical Experience Requirements?

CPA Mentorship Program

Students must work with a CPA mentor during their period of practical experience. The mentor must be an experienced CPA who will guide and coach the student on competency development. Practical experience can be completed concurrently or after your other program requirements.

Admission to Membership

Students who complete the educational and practical experience requirements of the CPA certification may apply for membership with CPA Ontario.

Interested in Becoming a Licensed Public Accountant?

You can prepare to apply for a Public Accounting Licence through the CPA certification program by completing specific courses and practical experience requirements. Discover the path to becoming a public accountant.