The Post-Designation Public Accounting Education Program (PDPA)

The Post-Designation Public Accounting (PDPA) education program offers members who obtained their designation through a route other than public accounting, a professional development opportunity.  Furthermore, the PDPA program provides the specific education requirement for members looking to apply for a Public Accounting Licence who have not obtained their designation through the public accounting route.

In Nova Scotia, a CPA can work at a public accounting firm without a Public Accounting Licence. However, the engagement partner responsible for the issuance of public accounting engagements must hold a Public Accounting Licence.  The qualification requirements include both an education and experience component. 

The most prescribed career path for CPAs is in public accounting, the requirements for which are determined by provincial regulation and legislation. Many students/candidates meet these requirements, and thereby qualify for a Public Accounting Licence when they earn their CPA designation by making particular choices within the certification program:

  • education: completing the assurance and taxation electives 
  • evaluation: writing the Common Final Examination demonstrating depth in both the assurance role and financial reporting 
  • experience: meeting the specific chargeable hour requirements for public accounting within the mandatory 30 months of qualifying practical experience 

The PDPA module structure

The PDPA module covers the technical knowledge required for public accounting registration, including tax, assurance, financial reporting, finance, strategy and governance. It is a self-study module that consists of reading resources, practice problems, and multiple-choice questions covering the CPA Competency Map at the elective level. There are no deadlines, submissions or face-to-face components (for example, workshops) to the module.

The PDPA is designed as a preparatory module; participants are provided with a suggested eight-week study schedule to assist with the preparation of the PDPA examination. Candidates must enrol in the PDPA module to be eligible to write the PDPA examination. While the PDPA module covers a vast majority of the technical knowledge outlined in the CPA Competency Map for licensure and assessed on the PDPA examination, participants may need to supplement their learning with additional resources.

Effective October 2017, the PDPA module will include existing cases from the CPA PEP Assurance elective and a new instructional video on case writing to reflect the changes to the PDPA examination blueprint that come into effect in December 2017.

The PDPA examination

Members must complete the PDPA module to be eligible to write the PDPA examination.

The PDPA examination consists of multiple-choice questions and one case-based question. See the PDPA examination blueprint for more information.

sample case andsolution have been developed to help members prepare for the PDPA examination.

PDPA Examination Dates 

November 3, 2022