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What is Self-Study CPE and how can it benefit CPAs?

June 16, 2022

What is Self-Study CPE and how can it benefit CPAs?

The professional education landscape for CPAs has changed rapidly  due to COVID, and as a result, we’ve seen a rise of online learning methods. This has come in a couple of new formats, giving a new alternative to live classes or conferences.

While live classes are what we have traditionally done in the past and offer real time engagement and feedback, they can be hard to find time for. Self-Study CPE, which is approved to be used for 100% of CPE requirements in over half of all US States, can solve a lot of the problems that come with live classes. It does so by offering on-demand learning, available 24 hours a day.  

What is Self-Study CPE

Self-Study CPE is a CPE program completed individually without a real time instructor. It encompasses all categories of learning and the content can come in a variety of forms or mediums. The requirement for being credited is that attendance and completion is confirmed and learning is assessed via a quiz.

Some popular Self-Study methods include:

  • Podcasts and Audio Based Content
  • Online, On-Demand Video Courses
  • Pre-Recorded Webinars
  • Text Based/Written Courses

The self-study course must provide an assessment on the material being studied to test understanding. Feedback must be given upon completion of the assessment and the test must be provided during or after the course. Once you have passed, you earn the corresponding CPE credits.

Benefits of Self-Study CPE

There are many ways in which self-study courses can provide benefits that live in-person or online courses can’t offer. Here are just a few of the ways self-study courses provide unique value to CPAs everywhere.

Flexible Scheduling: With self-study, there is not a scheduled course time. This gives you the freedom to pick and choose when you want to start and finish a course., Everyone has hectic lives these days, and the ability to start a course whenever you have free time can help prioritize events in you personal life.

On Demand Capability: With online learning you can freely stop and start classes. If something comes up as you are taking a class you can deal with it without losing all progress. It provides the additional benefit of allowing you to pause or rewind to go over material again if you haven’t understood it the first time through.

Breadth of Material: Many self-study sources have course catalogs in the  hundreds of episodes. That makes it easier to find material on a specific topic instead of searching for a relevant upcoming live course at the right time in your schedule.

Instant Feedback and Learning: In nearly all online self-study courses, grading is done and feedback is provided instantly. This allows you to see your mistakes while the material is still fresh in your mind. It also offers the option of retaking the assessment if not initially passed.

Easier to Record Hours Completed: Many online CPE sources come with an internal method to track and store certification. This on-site tracking removes the hassle of having to manually store records (through Excel or your Desktop folder?) and search through files when they are needed.

CPE Self-Study by State

Now you may be wondering, this sounds great but how much of my total CPE requirements can I complete using self-study CPE courses. The answer is it varies from state to state but an increasing number of states are allowing CPAs to get all CPE credits through self-study.

As a result of the Covid pandemic, a number of rules regarding CPE self-study were temporarily changed. Some states loosened restrictions on the amount of CPE earnable. This choice was made to reflect the loss of in-person options. Some states plan to go back to pre-covid rules and some plan to keep the increased amount of program choice.

Here are the current rules for Self-Study by State

States that allow you to get all CPE credits through Self-Study:

Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee*, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

States that allow you to get half of your CPE credits through Self-Study:

Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina

States with other rules for total amount of self-study credits available to be taken each reporting period:

Minnesota (80%), Arizona (75%), Illinois (66.6%), Rhode Island (66.6%), Arkansas (60%), Delaware (30%)

There may be additional rules or restrictions, if you have any questions contact your state accounting board.


Self-Study is an alternative method of attaining CPE credits that can often fit more easily into the busy schedule of a modern professional. All US CPAs can complete some or all of their CPE requirements through self-study. There are an increasing number of sources offering quality online CPE courses with both technical accounting and soft skills content.

LumiQ is a NASBA approved QAS Self-Study sponsor. We have a catalog of over 350 podcast  episodes featuring interviews with leaders at Slack, IBM, Microsoft, Yahoo, Uber and more!

If you want to try LumiQ we’re offering 5 free CPE credits to all new users. No credit card is required to sign up and you can start listening instantly.

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Text reading: "New York State CPE Requirements"

CPE requirements and regulations for New York State CPAs. Hours required, reporting period, study methods, and subject requirements.