Key steps to becoming a CPA

Key steps to becoming a CPA

Before you embark on the path to becoming a CPA, you need to have a high school diploma (DES) and a college diploma (DEC).

Note that some CEGEPs will require you to pass Secondary IV and V math (Technical/Scientific or Natural Sciences option) courses, or the equivalent, to be eligible for certain programs.

There is no specific CEGEP program for becoming a CPA. However, some universities will require you to pass Differential Calculus 103, Vector and Linear Algebra 105 and Integral Calculus 203 courses, and/or obtain a minimum R score of 24 to be admitted to a bachelor in accounting or bachelor of business administration (concentration in professional accounting).

Propel your career in 5 steps

In Quebec, the chartered professional accountant (CPA) designation can be acquired in 5 steps:

1) Obtain a recognized university degree

To be admitted to the CPA Professional Education Program, you must have a recognized bachelor's degree (bachelor in accounting or bachelor of business administration, concentration in professional accounting) or successfully complete the equivalence of degree or training process. A minimum GPA of 2.8/4.3 for the undergraduate degree will be required. However, universities may require a higher GPA for graduate programs.

Did you obtain the recognized bachelor’s degree five or more years ago and/or did not achieve the required academic average?
In accordance with our administrative procedures, refresher courses may be required, given the constant evolution of the required knowledge. Consult the “Recognized bachelor's degree update” profile on our website for training equivalence.

2) Register with the Order as a candidate

You must register as a candidate for the practice of the profession (CPP) when:

  • you hold an undergraduate degree recognized in Quebec or the equivalent;
  • AND you are ready to begin the CPA Professional Education Program.

3) Complete the CPA Professional Education Program

In Quebec, two pathways provide access to the Professional Education Program (PEP) leading to the CPA designation:

4) Complete a period of practical experience

Lasting a minimum of 24 months, the period of practical experience enables candidates gain valuable experience, putting theory into practice in a wide range of real-world business situations. This involves a paid period of practical experience in business, public practice or government.

5) Pass the Common Final Examination (CFE)

Held over a three-day period, the CFE is compulsory for all candidates. Candidates must demonstrate the competencies expected of professional accountants. Note that completing a period of practical experience is not required in order to write the CFE.

Want to know more about these steps?

Join one of our information sessions or meet us at an event!

Permit application

Once you have successfully completed all of these steps, you must send a permit application to the Order to obtain the CPA designation.

Note that you must complete your CPA path within 7 years of your registration as a candidate for the practice of the profession.

Recourses during the process of acquiring the CPA designation

At any step in the process of acquiring the CPA designation, if you are dissatisfied with the way in which your file has been handled by the Order, you may share your observations with the Order’s qualification committee by writing to

You may also file a complaint for free with the Commissaire à l’admission aux professions, an independent government entity that receives and reviews complaints about professional admission processes, whether they concern the Order or another organization involved in your admission process, such as a university or CPA Canada.

Academic prerequisites Register as a candidate Professional Education Program Practical experience Common Final Examination