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Membership Requirements and Definitions

Peer Review Requirement

All members engaged in the practice of public accounting must be affiliated with a firm that is enrolled in a COCPA-approved practice monitoring program.

CPE Membership Requirement

All COCPA members (with exceptions for Professional Leave members holding an inactive Colorado CPA certificate, Student, Retired, Honorary, and certain Associate members) must complete continuing professional education as described below.

Associate Members

Associate members who are pursuing further requirements to become a CPA, or administrative staff of a CPA or CPA firm, are exempted from the membership CPE requirements. All other Associate members must complete 80 hours of CPE every two years if in public accounting or 60 hours every two years if in business or industry.

Industry Members With an Inactive Certificate

Industry members who have an inactive certificate with the Colorado State Board of Accountancy must complete 60 hours of CPE every two years.

Professional Leave Members

Professional Leave members are exempt from the membership CPE requirement if they hold an inactive CPA certificate with the Colorado State Board of Accountancy.

New Members

New membership CPE requirements begin in the calendar year following the year you become a member. If you join in the current calendar year, your CPE requirement begins January 1 of the next year.

Retired Members

Retired members are exempt from the COCPA membership CPE requirements. “Retired” means you are fully retired from all employment and receiving no income for work performed.


If you are a former member and wish to rejoin the COCPA, you must reapply for membership. Your membership CPE requirement recommences January 1, following your reinstatement. If you were terminated for CPE non-compliance, you must demonstrate that you meet the two-year continuing education requirement prior to reinstatement.

Qualifying CPE Programs

A program qualifies for continuing education credit in meeting the COCPA membership requirement if it is a formal program of learning as described in the AICPA/NASBA Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) ProgramsYou have many options for selecting continuing education suitable to your professional activities.

Your participation in learning activities should maintain and/or improve your professional competence. Select learning activities that address your current and future professional plans, current knowledge and skill level, and desired or needed skills to help you meet future opportunities and professional responsibilities.

Tracking CPE Credit

The following criteria will help you track CPE credits. Each 50-minute period (contact hour) is equal to one CPE credit. An increment of one-half CPE credit (equal to 25 minutes) will count once you have earned the first full credit. You can claim CPE credits only for programs that maintain or improve your professional skills and abilities. If you participate in part of a program, claim CPE credit only for the portion you completed.

CPE Documentation and Records Retention

You are responsible for documenting your continuing education requirements. Document and retain the following course information for a minimum of five years:

  • Sponsor organization and contact information
  • Program title
  • Field of study
  • Date(s) and location
  • Type of instruction/delivery method used
  • Verification of attendance by program sponsor
  • Number of contact hours

Continuing Education Waiver

Circumstances can arise that hinder you from completing your COCPA membership CPE requirement. If you find you cannot fulfill the requirement, you can request a waiver. Send your request and supporting documentation to the attention of the CPE Director at the COCPA office. The instances for which you can request a waiver and the information you will need to provide to support your request are:

  • Foreign Residency - Include the resident country, name of your employer, principal duties you perform, and reason(s) foreign residency hinders your ability to fulfill the requirement.
  • Health - Include the nature of the illness, name and address of your attending physician, and reason the illness hinders your ability to fulfill the requirement.
  • Military Service - Include the principal duties performed, where you are stationed, name and address of your commanding officer, and reason why military service hinders your ability to fulfill the requirement.
  • Other Similar Hardship - Include the nature of the hardship and why it hinders your ability to fulfill the requirement.

Bylaws and Code of Professional Conduct

Members agree to abide by the COCPA Bylaws and Code of Professional Conduct.