(a) If each of the following qualifications is met, the certificate of certified public accountant shall be granted by the board to any person:
(1) Who is a citizen of the United States or, if not a citizen of the United States, a person who is legally present in the United States with appropriate documentation from the federal government.
(2) Who has attained the age of 19 years.
(3) Who is of good moral character.
(4) Who meets the following educational requirements:
a. A person shall have earned a college degree from a four-year college or university accredited by a regional accreditation board such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities, with a concentration in accounting or what the board determines to be substantially the equivalent of a concentration in accounting. Persons who, on May 16, 1989, have previously taken the uniform written CPA examination shall be considered to meet these qualifications.
b. After January 1, 1995, any person who has not previously sat for the uniform CPA examination shall have completed a total of 150 semester hours or 225 quarter hours of postsecondary education, including a baccalaureate degree at a college or university accredited by a regional accreditation board such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities. The total education program shall include an accounting concentration as defined by the board and other course work as the board may require by regulation.
(5)a. Who has successfully passed a uniform examination, administered by the board or its designee, in accounting and auditing and in any other related subjects as the board deems necessary, including, but not limited to, business law and taxation, to maintain the highest standard of proficiency in the profession of public accounting.
b. After January 1, 2016, in order to be eligible for an initial sitting for the uniform CPA examination, a person shall have completed a total of 120 semester hours or 180 quarter hours of education, including a baccalaureate degree at a college or university accredited by a regional accreditation board such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities.
(b)(1) Examinations provided for in this chapter shall be given by the board as often as necessary, but not less frequently than twice each year. The board shall, after each examination, notify applicants of the results.
(2) The board may issue certificates under the signature and the official seal of the board, pursuant to this chapter.
(c) The board shall charge each person certified under subsection (e) and each candidate an application fee for the uniform CPA examination in an amount determined by the board. Examination and reexamination fees shall be charged by the board, or its designee, in amounts determined by the board for each subject in which a candidate is examined. The applicable fees shall be paid to the board, or its designee, by the candidate at the time he or she applies for examination or reexamination.
(d) Persons who, on May 16, 1989, held certified public accountant certificates issued under the laws of this state shall not be required to obtain additional certificates under this chapter, but shall otherwise be subject to this chapter. The certificates issued shall, for all purposes, be considered certificates issued under this chapter and subject to this chapter.
(e) The board may waive the examination under subdivision (a)(5), and may issue a certificate as a certified public accountant to any person paying the application fee provided in subsection (c) who possesses the qualifications specified in subdivisions (a)(1) through (a)(3), and what the board determines to be substantially the equivalent of the applicable qualifications under subdivision (a)(4), and who is the holder of a certificate as a certified public accountant, then in full force and effect, issued under the laws of any state.
(f) The board may make appropriate regulations to govern the issuance of a certificate as a certified public accountant to the holder of a certificate, license, or degree which is then in full force and effect in any foreign country constituting a recognized qualification for the practice of public accounting in the country, comparable to that of a certified public accountant of this state.