Want to become a CPA? Getting you started on your CPA path (For Canadian Accredited program applicants only)

By Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA
Feb 25, 2022
Photo credit: Ischukigor/Depositphotos.com
So, you want to become a CPA but are not quite sure how, if, or when to enroll? You have come to the right place. For this post, I teamed up with a Program Evaluator from CPAWSB’s Admission Services team. Together, we share with you the answers to the frequently asked questions. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1. I’m a student who is completing or has just completed an accredited program (e.g., a qualifying Master in Accounting), do I need to request a Transcript Assessment? Do I also need to provide any transcripts from my post-secondary institutions (PSIs)? What about if I’m only working and not taking any modules, do I still need to follow these steps?

If you completed your CPA PEP module equivalents through an accredited program you are not required to request a transcript assessment but are required to enroll in CPA PEP.   
You must enroll with CPAWSB:
  • To have your work experience qualify for professional experience requirements 
  • To be eligible to receive advanced standing
When available, you are required to submit official copies of your undergraduate degree and accredited program transcripts which include the conferral date to receive advanced standing.

Unsure what qualifies for eligible work experience? Please contact your provincial CPA body.

Q2. Help! I completed my undergraduate pre-requisite courses through a PSI outside of Western Canada, but am working in Alberta, will my pre-requisite courses be recognized by CPAWSB? 

Yes! No need to stress. CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) is a national program so you will receive the same placement in every province/territory in the country, regardless of where the accredited program was completed. 

Q3.a. I’m not currently completing a CPA PEP module, but am planning on writing the CFE and/or recording my practical experience (PERT) in the CPAWSB region. Do I need to pay annual dues and complete annual re-enrollment?

Yes! You must be a registered CPA PEP candidate and pay CPA dues to be eligible to claim practical experience and register to write CFE. You must continue to pay dues every year even if you are taking an accredited program or a break. Is there an extenuating circumstance causing you to pause your studies? Please email cpaapplication@cpawsb.ca to discuss your annual enrollment options.


Q3.b. Follow-up question: Since I have to register at CPAWSB, does that mean I automatically get access to D2L and the module materials? 

No! Only candidates registered in a module will get access to the module materials. 

Candidates who are exempt from a module but wish to register for a “Materials Only” version of that module? Please contact learnersupport@cpawsb.ca to discuss options specific to your learning goals and needs. 


Q4. I only completed part of the accredited program (e.g., Master of Professional Accounting). Can I receive exemptions in CPA PEP based on the part of the program I did complete?

No. Only students who complete the entire accredited program are eligible to receive advanced standing in CPA PEP. CPAWSB is unable to offer partial exemptions for incomplete accredited programs.

Bonus Non-FAQ

The number one question candidates about to apply to enter CPA PEP that should ask but don’t. Prospective candidates should ask: When should I apply to CPA PEP? Why is there a delay in between applying for CPA PEP and registering for Core 1? 

Future candidates often do not realize and panic-text me about one week before the Core 1 start date (EW and JK – I’m looking at you!) that there are two parts which must be completed before starting Core 1.
  1. Application to CPA PEP: which requires a transcript assessment and an in-depth application review, both of which can happen at any time; and 
  2. Registering for the module: the registration deadline is often two months before the module starts. 

Okay, our job here is done. I am looking forward to seeing you in Core 1. Come say ‘hi’ when you’re there. 

Do you have feedback on this post or a question you’d like answered by an experienced CPAWSB educator? Please contact your facilitator or send a question to the General Topic in the Candidate Discussion forum. 

Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA

Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA, is an educator and lead policy advisor for CPAWSB and a Senior Instructor of accounting at Dalhousie University. She is on a mission to understand and enable learner efficacy while eliminating doldrums occasionally associated with accounting education. Read more of Sam’s posts at the CPAWSB blog.

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