A person is eligible to apply for membership either by passing all three levels of examinations prescribed by ICAI and completing three years of practical training or by availing themselves of exemptions under mutual recognition agreement&& (MRAs).
Main article: Indian Chartered Accountancy Course
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Flowchart on how to become a Chartered Accountant by the Examination route
The CA course is designed to combine theoretical study with practical training. The Chartered Accountancy course is considered to be one of the toughest professional courses both in India and Worldwide  with only 3–8% of the students passing in every attempt in Inter and Final Level, though earlier it was mostly in 1-2% range. At Present, pass rate in Foundation is Approx 15%, Inter 5-8%, Final 3-8%, that means students who take admission in CA Course, only 0.0225% to 0.096% actually pass CA. For instance, in the November 2013 CA Final exam, the pass percentage was merely 3.11% (Both Groups) As of April 2014, the Institute has 11,75,000 students, studying various levels of the Chartered Accountancy Course. The Chartered Accountancy examinations are divided into three levels.
Common Proficiency Test
 The Common Proficiency Test, or CPT, covers four basic subjects:
Fundamentals of Accounting
One can register for CPT after completing Grade 10 and take the exam after completing High School (Grade 12). A candidate is considered to have cleared CPT if he/she obtains in a sitting 30% in each of the 4 sections and a 50% aggregate in the entire examination. This amendment was enforced by ICAI on 16 August 2012.The amendment was made public vide ICAI's website notification. CPT exams are held in June and December in paper pencil mode. Mock test/Model test papers are available on the institute website.
Integrated Professional Competence Course
The IPCC or Integrated Professional Competence Course is the second level of Chartered Accountancy examinations. A person can take the IPCC Examination after passing CPT and nine months of study. IPCC has two groups of seven subjects. Group – I consists of four subjects and Group – II of three subjects.
Paper 1 : Accounting
Paper 2 : Business Laws, Ethics and Communication
Paper 3 : Cost Accounting and Financial Management
Paper 4 : Taxation
Paper 5 : Advanced Accounting
Paper 6 : Auditing and Assurance
Paper 7 : Information Technology and Strategic Management
A passing grade in IPCC is awarded if the candidate obtains 40% marks in each subject (each subject is attributed 100 marks) and an aggregate of 50% in the aggregate in each group(or 50% of total marks in case of both groups). Benefit of set-off is also available if the candidate appears for both groups together and obtains 50% collectively in both groups, even if he fails to obtain an individual aggregate of 50% in the each group independently.
CA Final Examination
The CA Final Examination is the last and final level of Chartered Accountancy Examinations. It is considered as one of the toughest exams in the world. Any person who has passed both the groups of IPCC, during the last six months of articleship can take the Final Examination. This exam consists of two groups of four subjects each.
Paper 1 : Financial Reporting,
Paper 2 : Strategic Financial Management,
Paper 3 : Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics,
Paper 4 : Corporate and Allied Laws,
Paper 5 : Advanced Management Accounting,
Paper 6 : Information Systems Control and Audit,
Paper 7 : Direct Tax Laws
Paper 8 : Indirect Tax Laws.
The passing grade for this exam is the same as the second level, i.e. IPCC, as mentioned above.
ICAI conducts CPT exams in June and December, IPCC and Final examinations in May and November each year. Examinations are conducted in major cities in India and other countries such as Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.), Dubai (U.A.E.), Muscat (Oman) and Kathmandu (Nepal). ICAI updates the content and format of examinations periodically keeping in view the technical progress and changes in practice of the profession. The ICAI last revised its training course for membership in 2008.
Several institutions conduct online and offline coaching classes for the CA examinations.
Changes in the CA CPT Exam to be applicable from 2017
The entrance exam CPT will be termed as CA Foundation course. CPT was a MCQ based exam but CA Foundation exam will be partially subjective. CA Foundation Exam will be of 400 marks. As the CA Foundation exam will be partially subjective more time gap is given to students for preparation. So the students shall register for CA Foundation exam 8 months prior to the exam which was 6 months for CPT. Two new subjects have been added and the marking scheme and exam pattern has also been changed.\ This CA Foundation exam came into effect from 1 July 2017.
Articled and industrial training
After passing Group – I of IPCC, a candidate must undergo a rigorous 3-year on-the-job training as article or audit assistant, articleship. Only members in practice are entitled to engage such assistants. The Institute strictly governs through Regulations, the stipends, working hours and working conditions of such assistants. Articles provide CA firms a steady supply of motivated assistants while providing the students with invaluable on-the-job training. Audits are normally conducted by partnering senior and junior assistants with a supervising partner of the firm. This provides steady increase in the depth and variety of experience to the Articled Assistants. During the last year of articleship, a student may opt for industrial training instead. Industrial training can be for a period of 9 to 12 months and has to be completed under the supervision of an existing CA member employee of a financial, commercial or industrial organization. Over the years several cases of abuse of the system such as articles being made to work long hours, work without pay/delayed payments, or being made to perform personal tasks for their Principals, some faking their training (also called dummy articles, i.e. not going to the office but spending time studying at home or in coaching classes) led the institute to start enforcement of rules and regulations in the interest of the profession. Chartered Accountants may not provide coaching classes during working hours, as students are expected to apply themselves wholly to practical training in that time. An article may complain to the Disciplinary Committee against a member or firm for non-compliance with regulations.
Earlier students were required to undergo ITT training before commencing their articleship, but on 14-10-2014, ICAI announced that students who have registered for Practical Training on or after August 1, 2012 were required to complete 100 hours of Advanced IT Training before admission to the Final Examination. But due to lack of infrastructure, the Council of the Institute decided to defer the implementation date of Regulation 29(c)(iv) from August 1, 2012 to February 1, 2013...
CPT Exemption for Graduates
With effect from 1 August 2012 onward, CPT is exempted for a17034.pdf CPT is exempt for the following class of Individuals]</ref>
Commerce Graduates with more than 55% marks from a recognized university
Non-Commerce Graduates with more than 60% Marks
Any Candidate who has passed the Intermediate Exam conducted by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India or by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India
Those Candidates who are exempted from clearing CPT Exam can also directly register for articleship without clearing IPCC Group 1 as is the case with those candidates who have registered for the CA Course through the CPT Route.
Other qualifications and certifications
With the introduction of IPCC scheme of exams, ICAI also introduced the Accounting Technician Course. Any person who passes Group-I of IPCC and completes one year of practical training under a member can apply for an Accounting Technician Certification. After obtaining the certificate the person can designate himself as an Accounting Technician. This Certification was introduced to help a large number of students who were unable to complete the CA Final Examinations and obtain membership.
ICAI has entered into agreements with various universities such as the Indira Gandhi National Open University, Bharathiar University and Netaji Subhas Open University to help CA students acquire a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) degree, writing a few papers to supplement the IPCC. For example, a bachelor's degree in Commerce can be obtained from IGNOU with a major in Accounting and Finance provided the student is able to provide the grades received in CPT and IPCC and pass the term end examination conducted by IGNOU. This initiative has helped a lot of students attain both the degrees without any duplication of subjects and credits.
Mutual recognition agreements
The second method of obtaining membership is through mutual recognition agreements or MRAs. ICAI has entered into MRAs with several institutes globally, of equivalent standing, to enable members of those institutes to acquire membership of ICAI and to enable the members of ICAI to gain membership of its counterpart in other country.This is done by granting some exemptions in the regular scheme of examination and training.
ICAI currently has MRAs with following professional accounting bodies:
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (since 20 November 2008)
Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (since 2009)
The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
CPA Australia(originally signed in February 2009 and re-signed in September 2014)
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal
Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland (since October 2010)
Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (since 2011)
ICAI is also in process of negotiating MRAs with Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Certified General Accountants Association of Canada.
Memorandum of Understanding
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with professional accounting bodies of various countries. These MOUs aim at establishing mutual co-operation between the two institutions for the advancement of accounting knowledge, professional and intellectual development, advancing the interests of their respective members and positively contributing to the development of the accounting profession.
Currently ICAI has MOUs with following professional accounting bodies:
Accounting and Auditing Standards Board of Bhutan, Bhutan (signed on 22 November 2013)
The Vietnam Association of Certified Public Accountants, Vietnam
Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants (SOCPA), Saudi Arabia (since 2014 for a period of 3 years)
Higher Colleges of Technology, UAE (signed on 4 January 2011)
College of Banking and Financial Studies, Oman