APA® Exam Overview and Important Information


The Accredited Petroleum Accountant® (APA®) certification exam is responsible for accrediting accountants within the oil and gas industry. 

While accounting professionals in any industry need to have an understanding of basic concepts, petroleum accountants operate under unique guidelines and principles. 

In preparing for and earning the APA® credential, you will be exposed to information necessary to practice as an effective, accurate and ethical oil and gas accountant. 

An APA® credential offers professionals the opportunity to provide proof of their knowledge and skills while communicating to those involved with their company (or the public) that they have met the requirements for competency. 

The exam covers the following areas: Fundamentals of Oil and Gas Accounting, General Accounting, Upstream, Midstream, Downstream.

The exam is offered during five testing windows each year in the months of March, May, July, September, and November. Applications for each testing window will be posted on the APA® exam registration page about three months before the start of each window.

Additional information about the APA® certification program can be found in the APA® Certification Candidate Handbook – we highly suggest reviewing this after you finish reading this article. 


In order to be eligible to take the APA® exam, you must meet ONE of the following criteria: 

1) Have a four-year degree with at least 12 hours in Accounting AND at least one year of petroleum industry work experience.

2) Have at least five years of petroleum industry work experience.

Study Tips and Resources

APA® Exam Overview and Important Information - study tips resources 1 e1583447948366 - Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies

It is very important that you properly prepare for the exam so you can have the accounting expertise for the oil and gas industry. 

It may seem a little overwhelming but it is necessary to your success as an accountant in this arena. Below, we have provided some study tips and information on resources that can help you out. 

Study Tips

1. Create a study plan

There is a lot of information that you will need to be familiar with to receive certification so create a study plan that works for you. Some people choose to move through the educational resources over the course of a few weekends while others choose to use an hour or two every evening for study time. Do whatever works best for you and fits into your lifestyle.

After you decide when you will study, put it on your calendar and write down which materials you will cover. This will help you stay on track.

2. Be efficient

Before studying for the exam, think about the most efficient way that you learn. As we said, there is a lot of material to get through and you want to retain as much information as possible. 

Some prefer to use digital copies because they are easy to navigate with find and search functions. 

Others may find it more beneficial to use a physical print out publications, study guides, etc. because they learn best when they can physically highlight the text and take notes in the margins. 

3. Keep study materials and notes organized

One thing that you will want to do is keep all of your study materials and notes organized. This may seem like a pretty obvious tip but you don’t want to lose an important page of notes because they were misplaced. 

If you are going the digital route, have separate folders created for each study material and the corresponding notes you typed up. 

If you choose to go the old-school route and use print outs and highlighters, we suggest having binders with tabs and dividers to organize what you have. 


Having the right resources is the best way to guarantee that you will receive your APA® certification. We provide a bundled package of commercially published, COPAS published, and other resources that will provide you with extremely useful information. 

It is important that you view these materials as helpful resources rather than the sole authority for a specific profession or exam. 

Another optional benefit is that each year you will receive digital access to all revised and new COPAS documents for a reduced price.

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Maintaining APA® Certification

To maintain the good standing of your APA® certification once achieved, the APA® Annual Registration Form and assessment fee must be submitted annually by March 31. In addition, the APA® program requires active APA®s to complete 30 hours of Continuing Professional Education credits over a two-year period (with a minimum of five hours completed in any one year).

Keep education and certifications up to date and focus on courses that are specific to your niche by learning more about the courses offered through COPAS for you or your employees.

If you are interested in APA® exam registration, click below.

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