A Student How-To for Transcript Assessments
The transcript assessment is your ticket to entry into the graduate-level CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP). It lets CPA Ontario know that you have the required education to officially move forward on your CPA journey.
If you’re in the last semester of your degree program and want to start the CPA certification program right after you graduate, the deadlines for transcript submission and signing up for your first CPA PEP module come quickly within the first few weeks.
To help you prepare for this exciting next step, we asked Sean Mullin, one of our student recruiters, to answer your most asked questions about transcript assessments for graduating students.
- I graduate this year, when do I submit my transcript?
- How long does a transcript assessment take?
- What documentation do I need to prepare?
- How can I submit a transcript when my final grades aren’t in?
- How long will it take me to finish CPA PEP?
- What’s the self-assessment tool? Do I have to do it?
The answer to this question depends on your pathway to becoming a CPA.
If the goal is to join CPA Ontario’s Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) right after you graduate, you’ll need to submit your transcripts to CPA Ontario for assessment at the start of your final semester.
If you choose an accredited program, like a graduate diploma or Master of Accounting, you’ll apply to the post-secondary institution, rather than through CPA Ontario. If you’re not sure you’ll be admitted to the accredited program, it is common for some students do both: apply to the program and submit your transcripts to CPA Ontario as a back-up option.
A transcript assessment takes four to six weeks, followed by the second step of student registration which takes eight to ten business days.
Both steps have a deadline and need to be completed prior to the end of the current enrolment period for the first CPA PEP module, so that you can sign up before the deadline.
If you’re in your last semester and you did your full undergraduate at a degree-granting institution in Ontario, you only need your unofficial transcript (a PDF is fine) and proof of legal name (like a driver’s license, passport, etc.). You can wait until after you start CPA PEP modules to provide your official transcript. But if you’ve already graduated and received your degree, you’ll need to provide an official transcript.
If you bridged from a college or diploma program to a degree program, you will need the following:
- official transcript from the college
- unofficial transcript from your degree-granting institution
- a transfer of credit letter from your degree-granting institution stating specifically which courses were given credit
When it’s time to submit your official transcript, you must get your institution’s Registrar’s Office to send it directly to CPA Ontario. They can do this by mail or through one of three approved credential platforms (Parchment, MyCreds or National Student Clearinghouse). Check with the Registrar’s Office on which way is best: if they don’t use one of these platforms, they’ll need to mail the transcript.
If you have a degree from outside of Canada, you will need to go through World Education Services (WES). If you are an internationally educated professional (IEP), I highly recommend you attend an IEP information session and meet with our team for consultation.
If you submit a transcript at the start of the final semester, the transcript will at that point show all the courses you’ve taken and the final courses you’re currently enrolled in and expect to finish.
If your grades to date are above the minimum threshold and the final semester is on trajectory to be completed, CPA Ontario will grant you conditional enrolment into CPA PEP. Once in CPA PEP you will have time to provide your final and official transcripts after your final course grades come out.
CPA PEP consists of six modules and the Common Final Examination (CFE), alongside 30 months of practical experience. The modules are designed to complement full-time work experience, with about 20-25 hours per week of self-study. Each module is about a season long, so four modules over four terms will take a full year.
You can take Core 1 starting any term, but Capstone 1, Capstone 2 and the CFE, which must be taken together in sequence, are only offered twice a year. Students working at a firm can only do the Capstones and CFE over spring and summer. Students working in industry have the option of taking the Capstones/CFE over winter and spring or in spring and summer.
If you’re graduating in April and want to start CPA PEP right away in May, you can complete the modules and CFE within 18 months with no break.
If you’re starting CPA PEP at other times in the year, there is likely to be a one to three term break before the next Capstone 1 start (winter and spring). But students can take breaks at any point and are encouraged to map out a journey that works for them.
If you are unsure if you have all the prerequisites or you don’t know which courses you still need to enter CPA PEP, then using the self-assessment tool is a quick way to see if you’re ready to begin.
First, this tool is only for students who are in or have completed their degree program in Ontario. In the self-assessment, you’ll enter the courses you’ve completed, and the tool will tell you what you’re missing. It takes only a few minutes and can be completed as many times as you need. This helps save you time and money by avoiding unnecessary formal transcript assessments.
Once the self-assessment tool confirms you are ready to begin CPA PEP, you can submit your transcripts for a formal assessment with CPA Ontario.
The self-assessment is not mandatory. That said, it's a great way to find out which prerequisite courses you might already have an equivalent credit for from your post-secondary program.
Still thinking about becoming a CPA? Learn about all the different career paths the CPA designation opens for you. Post-secondary students can join our events and information sessions. Level up by networking with inspiring CPAs, building marketable technical and human skills and meet employers through exclusive events, conferences and competitions as part of our Post-Secondary Ambassador Program (PSAP) opportunities.