CMA Exam Requirements: Two Simple Steps Towards Certification

CMA exam requirementsOne of the benefits of pursuing the CMA certification is that the CMA exam requirements are very straightforward — as long as you hold a bachelor degree you are qualified to sit for the exam. Let’s look into the details below.

Is There a Prerequisite?

There are two level of exam requirements you need to fulfill in order to become a Certified Management Accountant:

  • Educational requirements
  • Experience requirements

CMA Exam Requirements #1: Educational Experience

For educational requirements, as long as you have a Bachelor degree in a “decent” university in your country, you are qualified.

In other words, it can be 3-year or 4-year bachelor degree. By “decent”, you can check whether your school is listed  list.

If not, don’t worry as you can still get qualified with an extra step to get your transcript evaluated. You can choose any agencies that is a member of NACES or AICE. Then, ask them to send an evaluation to IMA. You will also have to send an official transcript (in English) to IMA for their reference.

Students may sit for the exam before they complete their degree, provided they’re registered for at least 6 credits per semester during the academic year.

CMA Exam Requirements #2: Working Experience

Each candidate will have to complete two continuous years of management accountant or financial management. The experience has to be verified but not necessarily by CMAs.

The nature of work can include the following:

  • Financial analysis
  • Budget preparation
  • Management information systems analysis
  • Financial management
  • Management accounting
  • Auditing in Government, Corporation and Public Accounting
  • Management consulting
  • Research, teaching and consulting in related field

Note:

  • This requirement may be completed prior to or within seven years after completing the examination. There is no such limitation on experience gained before the exam. Teaching experience can be counted as well.
  • For part-timers (minimum 20 hours per week), each 2 years of part-time experience can be used to substitute for 1 year of full-time experience.
  • Internships, trainee programs as well as non-technical positions in sales & marketing, IT, HR and administration will not be considered as relevant.

Let me Walk You Through the Process Again with This Video

For Your Reference

Need More Information?

For more information on the CMA exam as well as tips on study tactics, consider signing up to my e-course which is completely free. You can learn about the mini e-course here or sign up directly below:

Comments

  1. Kyle Schaffner says

    Do you have to have 2 years of professional work experience in accounting before even signing up for the CMA or just before you sit for the test. Could you register and start the course work and studying before two years of accounting work experience?

    • StephanieStephanie says

      Yes certainly you can do that. You only need to get the experience within 7 years of passing of the CMA exam. I think IMA is trying to be very flexible on this for candidates who weren’t accounting majors but would like to get into accounting.

  2. Riz says

    Hello Stephanie,
    I have completed my B. Com (3 yr degree) from an accredited university in India. I plan to write my exam in India, work here for a couple of years and then move to US, Canada or Australia. I would like to know if my CMA certification would be acceptable in those countries or will I have to write the CMA certification exam again as per those country’s requirements????

    • StephanieStephanie says

      Hi Riz, I have to say Canada has its own version of CMA (CMA canada) so if you are sure you want to go to Canada, it is better to get the other one.

      But if you aren’t sure which country you may work some day, the US CMA is more recognized around the world and it would be a useful investment when you have the time to get it done. Cheers, Stephanie

  3. StephanieStephanie says

    Hi Riz, I have to say Canada has its own version of CMA (CMA canada) so if you are sure you want to go to Canada, it is better to get the other one.

    But if you aren’t sure which country you may work some day, the US CMA is more recognized around the world and it would be a useful investment when you have the time to get it done. Cheers, Stephanie

  4. Nadia Mirza says

    I have Masters degree in economics. I have 18 years of expereience working as accounting and finance managers with various organizations. Do I need a degree in accounting to pass CMA exam? Or do I need to complete some accounting courses from a college before appearing to CMA exam.

    • StephanieStephanie says

      Sure it can be counted. I don’t know the statistics but non-US candidates represent a substantial percentage of the CMA population.

  5. m says

    hye, i have more then 10 years work experience in financial and non financial roles. i have pass grade 10 school and enroll in acca and pass my six acca papers. is em eligible to apply cma? and my previous work experience will count towards my membership? as an student what will cost me. regards

    • StephanieStephanie says

      Hi m, if you are a ACCA full member then you can get your exemptions on the CMA education requirements. Your work experience should work to fulflil the experience part of the requirement as long as you got it within 7 years of passing the CMA exam. You might be able to get discounts as a student if you are eligible to the following:

      To qualify for Student membership, individuals must be enrolled in at least six (6) undergraduate or graduate credit hours, or the equivalent, per semester. Student membership can be held for a maximum of six (6) years. Student members who move to another membership category cannot revert back to Student membership.

      Please check the official website for the current rate: http://www.imanet.org

  6. m says

    for registration i need institute or as an private candidate i can apply registration?
    for online registration which documents required to send IMA?
    for full time student registration fee is 39$ plus 75$ is it?
    if i apply registration today than may i eligible to attempt exam in june 2013 ?

    • StephanieStephanie says

      Hi M,
      You can apply as an individual – that’s what I did and I am sure it works. Once you register online, you will need to ask your school to send in the official transcript. I understand that some schools may not want to do it and if so, you can send an email to IMA and see what they suggest. From my experience they are helpful and give prompt answers.

      On the fees, yes but please include the exam fee ($300-350 for each section) in your budget. Also, once you are no longer considered a student, the student fee doesn’t apply and you should expect to pay the regular fee.

      And on your last question, if you apply in April/May you can sit for the exam in the May/June window, or other windows within 12-month period.

      Hope it helps! Stephanie

    • StephanieStephanie says

      Hi Raisa, for CMA review courses you can get more information on this page: http://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-review-course/
      These are self-study courses and you can take it at the comfort of your home.

      There are live courses available in major cities around the world, but since the quality of lecturers vary greatly (especially those outside of the US), I usually recommend candidates to get these self-study courses instead. Stephanie

  7. Sana Khan says

    Hi Stephanie,
    I am a recent college graduate (BBA in Accounting and Finance) from India. I am currently in Qatar looking for a decent job. I have no work experience but can I still sit for the CMA exams and complete my 2 years work ex. while passing the exam?
    Also is there a different version of the CMA for the middle east. Do you suggest I do the US – CMA and if so How do i go about doing that.

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Sana,
      Yes, you can definitely sit for the CMA exam before you get any working experience, but you are supposed to finish the whole program within 3 years, so be mindful of this.

      There is only one version of CMA from IMA and you can take it in all major cities around the world. There are other CMAs e.g. the one from Canada, but it’s from a different organization. The most international version should be this one, i.e. the one from US / IMA. It is especially well recognized in the Middle East. Cheers, Stephanie

  8. Raza Mohammed says

    I have done Bachelor’s of Commerce ( 2 years ) and 2 years of working experience in a multinational company in Finance Dept. Am I eligible for the CMA ??

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Sure m, it took me half an hour to get registered… but then it does time a few days for the transcript to arrive to their office to complete the exam registration process. Stephanie

  9. Federico says

    Hello Stephanie.
    I think that the “You can gain your experience up to 7 years prior to taking the exam” statement is wrong. Actually there is no time limit for prior experience, and the 7 year limit counts AFTER taking the exam.
    Please check it out (my experience is 11 years ago, so this is an important issue).
    Thank you!

  10. Shailaja Pramod says

    Dear Ms.Stephanie

    I have done B.Com MBA in Finance and having 4 yrs of Banking experience.

    Am I eligible to take up the CMA Exam. If so how long i will have to invest my time in studying and getting prepared for the exam?

    Please help in this regard. Now I have a 5 yr old kid so i have taken break in my career so i’m planning to take up CMA exam.

    Thanks in Advance.
    Regds

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Shailaja, yes, definitely can qualify if you have BCOM + MBA. For banking, it depends on the job nature but if it involves financial management it should be fine.
      On the time, it is suggested by IMA that candidates need 100-150 hours for each. I think I needed less than that but it all depends on the background of candidates.
      It’s a good idea to “restart” your career with a certification! Best of luck to your exam! Stephanie

  11. Tim says

    How does one gain experience when no one will give me an opportunity. I have not taken the CMA exam. I would like to pass it in the near future. However, I graduated five years ago with a B.S. in accounting and I still haven’t found any work in my field of study. I have been working in a manufacturing environment all this time.. I continue to search and apply for accounting positions with the same luck. I don’t have any experience other than an internship. Do you have any suggestions? I am thinking that by passing the exam that I will become more appealing to potential employers. Thanks in advance for the help!

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Tim, yes it helps, but maybe what is needed is a resume that can fully highlight your skill set. I am in the process of writing a bunch of posts on resume and interviews on accountants. Hope it will help. Stephanie

  12. Sufeyan says

    Can anyone help me?

    I have passed my CA Intermediate examinations from Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan. I also worked as finance manager in local organisation for 5 years. I do not have any bachelors degree. Am i eligible for CMA?

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Sufeyan, I think they do need a bachelor’s degree, but you may want to double check with IMA and see if it is possible to consider your CA as equivalent to a bachelor’s. A quick email will do. Good luck! Stephanie

  13. JC says

    Hi Stefanie,

    Just wondering, does my work experience in public accounting (both attest and tax) count for the two-year experience requirement? I saw the words “public accounting” in your list of acceptable experience, but is it still acceptable if it is the only experience that one has?

    Thank you,

    JC

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi JC, I am quite sure it is ok, but if you want to confirm (which I encourage you to do), contact IMA and they will tell you the exact answer. They have been doing that for my other readers. Good luck! Stephanie

  14. Pankaj Kumar Patel says

    Hi…Stephanie ji
    i am final year student of chartered accountant of india . my question is that can i join cma course & can i pass this exams within 9 months after join. i am intersted to make carrier in the field of finance. i have completed 3 years degree course from recognised university of india with only 50 % marks.

  15. Allan says

    I have a B’com degree from a listed university in India. I also am presently working as an Assistant Accounting Manager and has a work experience of 15 years in similar field. I want to pursue US CMA. Firstly, please let me know whether I can enroll for CMA. If so, are there any coaching institutes in Bahrain(where Iam presently working) for CMA?. What are the fees for CMA? What are the enrollment requirements and process?

  16. Vanessa says

    Good day, Stephanie!!
    I am recent graduate of BSBA- Major in Management Accounting. Do I need to have 2 meaningful years before taking up the CMA Exam? Thank you.

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Vanessa, by meaningful years do you mean working experience? You can take the exam first and fulfill the working requirements later. If I misunderstand your questions just let me know. Cheers, Stephanie

  17. C says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am a B.Com graduate from India staying in the US. I want to pursue CMA course. I have an year’s work experience. I worked in an Audit Firm before moving to the USA. I have a couple of doubts for which I need clarification.

    1) Does doing CMA help me in satisfying the 150 Credit Hour Rule for CPA?
    2) Will my work experience be taken into account for the Professional work experience requirement in CMA???
    3) Would you suggest self studying or are there any online coaching classes for CMA????

    Thanks in Advance.

    Regards.

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi C, on your questions,
      (1) I am afraid CMA cannot be used to waive any CPA educational or licensing requirements.
      (2) Sounds like it is fine, but you can double check with IMA with an email before you apply.
      (3) Sure, most of my readers do that, and I believe it is more common to self-study at least in the US. Here are the pros and cons of major CMA review providers: http://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-review-course/

  18. Ganesh says

    I have done my B.com from an accredited university in India. I would like to take up my CMA exams in Dubai, can I take up the exams with the tourist visa or should i take up a resident visa or work permit? Please help me out with this.

  19. Kanika says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have done my graduation from India (accredited University). I am pursuing Executive program in Applied Finance from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (One of the top Institute of finance in India).I would like to pursue CMA this Oct 2014 attempt.I am little bit confused with the MOU signed betwwen IMA – AACA and IMA – ICWAI.Can you highlight which papers will be exempted if I clear CMA.Is there any claue for ICWAI that I will get recognititon if I will give exam out of India.

    Thank you!
    Regards,
    Kanika

  20. kashif says

    Hi,

    Stephanie,

    I fulfill the education and experience as I am a Bechalors from recognised university and well enough experience with required roles.

    But, I need your help to know the following next steps:

    EDUCATION: Should I have to send my original transcript?? or It should be sent by the university. if yes by what time original transcript will be returned back. Plus what is the Notirised Copy.

    EXPERIENCE: what steps are needed for experience verification?? how ima will know about my experience.

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Kashif, the standard is for the university to send the transcript directly. This is the best proof that the transcript is official and original, and so you don’t need to worry about notarized copy. However if it is difficult for you to arrange that, you can email IMA and see if there is alternative ways to get it done.

      I don’t think they return any transcript so don’t send your only one original to the IMA.

      On experience, there is a form to fill out, but if you want to check whether your experience is fine, you can email IMA with description of your job. hope it helps! Stephanie

      • kashif says

        Hi,

        EDUCATION: I have contacted IMA on Degree Submission Procedure, they replied that I have to submit the original trascripts instead of from university.

        I have forded the email to you at “stephanie@ipassthecmaexam.com”

        • Stephanie Ng says

          Thank you Kashif, and I got your email. I sent the official transcript with no problem, so do everyone I know. Now this makes me confused :)

          I have to say, for those who study in the US, the first/original transcript is the same as any other official transcripts prepared by the University.

          It’s smart for you to double check whether they will return the original transcript. Please make sure they do that. If not, I will just go ahead and ask the school to send the official one. Just my own opinion, but it doesn’t worth the risk… Stephanie

          • kashif says

            Hi,

            Thanks for your prompt reply.

            I have already asked from IMA about return of the original transcripts. Will update you once I get any reply from them.

            Thanks

          • kashif shahzad says

            Hi,

            I sent my transcripts and IMA has accepted by transcripts.

            I have filled the membership form amd scanned it. But, now can you tell me how to submit the membership form, pay fees and get the membership number as IMA ppl are asking for membership number to step further.

          • Stephanie Ng says

            Hi Kashif, did you receive an email on the membership? Or if you sign in in the IMA website, you should be able to get the relevant information under your profile. If you can’t figure it out please drop me a note again. Stephanie

  21. Martin says

    My daughter just completed her HSC from Mumbai, India and starting her B.com degree. She wants to do CMA from USA. Is she eligible for CMA ? Which Coaching Class do you suggest in Mumbai?

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Martin, yes she can take the CMA exam as long as she is taking at least 6 credit hours of courses per semester in the year. There is a student discount too. More info here on fees: http://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-exam-fees/

      As for coaching class in Mumbai, I don’t usually comment/recommend local courses because it is quite impossible for me to track and comment on each instructors, who are critical to the quality of the program. Instead, I recommend online/self-study CMA review courses because (1) the quality is guaranteed because I have personally reviewed their courses; and (2) I believe most candidates in the US rely on self-study classes and they have the highest pass rate worldwide. There are lots of reasons for the pass rate but I think the quality of courses is one of them Hope it helps!
      More info on the review courses here: http://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-review-course/

  22. karim eid says

    i just earned my cma certificate but regarding the experience part do you think that experience as an accounts payable accountant gets accepted by the ima thanks in advance

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Karim, first of all, congratulations! As long as there are some analysis and management involved in your work (versus, say, an accounting clerk who only uploads the journal entries) it should be fine. When you/your boss describe your experience, you may want to emphasize that. Good luck! Stephanie

  23. Ahmed says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have a bachelor degree in accounting since 2006 and I’m working as accountant and then as a senior accountant, do i have to complete two yer after passing the exam or my previous experience is enough?
    And whatever the answer would be, how the experience would be attested or assured by IMA?
    do they need the experience certificate to be attested from a ministry or something like that?
    do they have a specific form for it ?
    I will start self-study for the CMA and I’m located in the Middle East specifically in Saudi Arabia but I’m from Egypt, my question is : is the US version good for me or i have to get another version?
    thanks in advance and sorry for taking long.
    Note that I’ll get other more questions very soon.

    Thank you!
    Regards,
    Ahmed

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Ahmed, thanks for your note. On your questions:
      1. Previous experience is good as long as the work is relevant.
      2. The experience is verified by your supervisor. There is no attestation and assurance by the IMA as it is the responsibility of the candidate (i.e. you) and the supervisor.
      3. No
      4. The exam is exactly the same anywhere you take it (except in China, where exam in Chinese language is available). So there should only be one version, and so the US version you refer to is great.

      Hope it helps! You are most welcome to drop me a note along the way. Cheers, Stephanie

  24. Ahmed says

    Hi Stephanie,

    As i told you I’ll have other more questions but i didn’t know it would be so fast.
    Months go i contacted the IMA to get info about centers or agencies to register or to deal with them and the following was their reply:
    Yes, you can book your exam at Prometric Testing Center.
    Steps for Prometric Internal Process to walk member through:
    · Visit http://www.prometric.com/ICMA/default.htm
    · Select Schedule an Exam
    · Select Country
    · Click on Next
    · Select I Agree
    · Enter in your full Authorization Number (for eg:1234567890-1) and the first 4 letters of the last name and select next
    · Search for seat availability, select date and time
    · Confirm your appointment
    · You will receive a confirmation from Prometric with the exam appointment details.
    ( the end of the reply)
    Do they mean that i don’t contact IMA directly as i’m out of US?

    Thank you!
    Regards,
    Ahmed

  25. Ahmed says

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks a lot for your quick response, and i would like to ask again about the supervisor, do you mean the supervisor at the company i work for or supervisor from IMA itself ?
    And regarding the experience certificate i will send it as a scanned copy of a letter on company documents to certify my job description translated to English ?

    Thank you!
    Regards,
    Ahmed

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Lucy,
      Should be ok as long as the experience is relevant and consecutive. Please contact IMA to check whether your specific experience is acceptable. Regards, Stephanie

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Sushmitha,
      I got the approval almost right away. Unless there is anything special, it should be the same for you and after the approval you can schedule the exam. Not recommended, but pretty much the next day if you are in a rush for some reason. Stephanie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>