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Practical Experience

Practical Experience

This section will explain the practical experience requirements CPA students must develop towards their CPA designation

Practical Experience Requirements

In addition to completion of the CPA PEP, including 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. All students must have a CPA mentor in order to report practical experience.

Ultimately, the goal of your practical experience is for you to develop both technical and professional skills to set you up as a successful CPA. To learn more, refer to the CPA Practical Experience Competencies.

Please note that while the CPA profession strives for national consistency, provincial regulations and bylaws (including those of CPA Ontario) take precedence over national requirements.

For more information, please refer to the CPA Practical Experience Requirements and CPA Harmonized Practical Experience Policies.

Practical Experience Routes

There are two paths to fulfilling the practical experience requirements:

1. Pre-Approved Program Route (PPR)

  • PPRs are specific training program(s) in an organization approved by CPA Ontario.
  • Your employer works with CPA Ontario to create a program(s) that meets the CPA practical experience requirements.
  • You complete streamlined experience reports.

2. Experience Verification Route (EVR)

  • Work in any position that meets the initial pre-assessment requirements.
  • Submit detailed experience reports which are verified by a supervisor for approval by CPA Ontario.
  • Work directly with CPA Ontario to have your experience assessed as it is gained.

Does My Employment Qualify?

To determine if your current or prospective employment meets the necessary competency requirements, refer to the Does my Job Qualify for EVR and/or complete the Self-Assessment Tool.

Find a CPA Ontario Mentor

Students are required to have a mentor as part of the practical experience requirements. The mentor must be a CPA member in good standing. Students and mentors can access the Mentorship Lifecycle Tool for guidance and tips to support the mentorship process.

Learn more about the CPA Mentorship Lifecycle Tool.

There are two ways to find a CPA Ontario Mentor:

  1. If you obtain employment in a Pre-Approved Program (PPR), your employer will match you with a CPA mentor. To go this route please connect directly with your employer.
  2. If you are employed in the Experience Verification Route (EVR), it is your responsibility to find a mentor through your business network or by using the Mentor Match Portal. The Mentor Match Portal is an interactive system within PERT designed to help you find a CPA Ontario mentor. Students automatically gain access to the portal 90 days after they have created their profile in PERT and their employment has been approved for meeting the entrance requirements.

Practical Experience Reporting Tool (PERT)

Practical experience is captured through the profession's online Practical Experience Reporting Tool (PERT). PERT facilitates discussion of your progress with your CPA mentor and is the tool that CPA Ontario will use to assess and recognize your experience.

PERT is used by:

  • students in the CPA program (any student enrolled in preparatory courses or the CPA PEP).
  • legacy CA students who either registered OR started working on, or after, September 1, 2014.
  • any student who began working in a Pre-Approved Program (PPR) with an approval date of September 1, 2014 or later.
  • CGA transition students not reporting in Practical Experience Reporting Tool.

How to Access PERT

Before you can obtain access to PERT, you must obtain a minimum grade of 60 percent on the Practical Experience Student Orientation Course within Brightspace (D2L). Access to this course is granted automatically if you indicated your employment when you registered as a student with CPA Ontario. 

STEP 1: Students must be registered as a student with CPA Ontario to access PERT. If you are not yet registered, please visit Get Started on Your CPA Path Today. Students who are in a co-op program should follow the steps outlined in the Practical Experience Reporting Requirements for Co-op Students factsheet.

If you previously indicated that you were unemployed and your employment status has now changed after you have registered, complete the PERT Access Form and submit it to

STEP 2:  Once your student registration has been processed, you will receive an email directly from Brightspace, CPA Ontario’s online learning platform, with your login information. Log into Brightspace and complete the mandatory orientation course with a minimum grade of 60% to gain access to PERT.  One business day after you have successfully completed the course and passed the quiz, you will be able to log into PERT. Students are permitted multiple attempts at the quiz until they have passed. 

STEP 3: Once you have gained access to PERT you will be required to update your profile. Students in the pre-approved program route must submit an "experience report", while students in the experience verification route will be required to submit a "pre-assessment".

  • Pre-Approved Program Route - confirmation of employment will be provided by the Program Manager at your organization. A form is no longer required to confirm your employment. You are required to create an experience report in PERT with a start date that is equal to your start date in the Pre-approved Program. Please ensure that you have indicated the correct employer, location and program name within your PERT profile.
  • Experience Verification Route - a job description of your current position on your employer’s letterhead must be attached to your pre-assessment report in PERT. You must also indicate your employment start date on your job description (hand-written is acceptable).

Note: The required 30 months of CPA Practical Experience cannot commence until your employment has been successfully pre-assessed through PERT.

The PERT User guides are available to assist you in creating your experience reports within PERT. The guides will enhance your user experience and help you become more effective and efficient when capturing your practical experience.

Legacy Students

If you are a legacy student who is reporting in PERT, you are required to identify a mentor within your profile. If you are a legacy student and not reporting in PERT (but following the legacy reporting pathway) you are not required to have a mentor. For more information visit: Legacy/Transitional Students.

Helpful Resources

Want to Become a CPA Mentor?

Learn how you can become a CPA Ontario mentor.

Learn More