I Pass The CMA Exam!

CMA CPE Requirements (and Approved Courses Suggestions)

cma cpe requirements

Like most professional qualifications, Certified Management Accountants are required to fulfill CMA CPE requirements on an annual basis.

CMA CPE Requirements: An Overview

  • 30 hours per year
  • Minimum 2 hours in ethics
  • If accumulated more than 30 hours, up to 10 hours can be carried forward to the following year. If more than 2 hours of ethics are earned, the additional hours can be carried forward to the following year.

Acceptable Courses

IMA allows courses in the following topics:

  • Accounting
  • Financial management
  • Business applications of mathematics and statistics
  • Computer science
  • Economics
  • Management
  • Production
  • Marketing
  • Business law
  • Organization behavior

Ethics Course

The ethics education for the purpose of CMA CPE should focus on the area of management accounting and financial management. Topics include:

  • Ethical consideration in the area of decision support, planning, and control for accounting and finance professionals working inside organizations
  • Coverage of ethics within the general business environment


There is much flexibility in this aspect. You can take the course as regular college courses, seminars, webinars, workshops, technical meetings under the direction of speakers, instructors or discussion leaders. You can also take home study courses, speeches, publication of technical articles, as well as examinations.


CMAs are required to report the CPE hours but do not need to submit supporting documents. You can use the member profile section in the IMA website to organize and record your CPE hours. All courses done through IMA will be automatically recorded in that section.

IMA does perform CPE audit, in other words, there are chances that you got picked and have to submit the CPA certificates as proof. IMA advises to keep the supporting documents for 2 years.

When to Start Taking CPE Courses

The cycle is based on calendar year. If you pass the CMA exam in the middle of the year, you don’t need to fulfill any CPE requirements immediately — that is, IMA offers a grace period for the rest of that year.

If you have the time, you are welcome to start taking the classes. Up to 10 CPE hours can be carried over to the next reporting year.

How to Calculate CPE Hours

This is pretty much standard practice.

College courses

  • 1 semester = 15 CPE hours
  • 1 quarter = 10 CPE hours

Other classes

  • 50 minutes of session time = 1 hour
  • At least 6.5 hours of session time (as in a full-day course) = 8 hours

Professional examination

  • Counted as 10 hours for each part of an exam

Service as college teacher

  • Course credit hour x number of weeks of the course
  • Can be counted once only

Service as a speaker / discussion leader

  • Twice the time of the presentation (i.e. counting the preparation time)
  • Can be counted once only


  • Books: maximum 20 hours
  • Technical publication: maximum 6 hours
  • Unpublished technical publication: 50% of hours you can get if it were published; no further credit if the article is published at a later date

Questions from Readers

1. I passed the CMA exam but haven’t fulfilled the experience requirement. Since I can’t use the CMA title yet, does it mean that I don’t need to get the CPE hours?

Quoting from the IMA website, “once you’ve completed and passed both parts of the CMA exam, you must complete 30 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) each year”.

In this case, even if you can’t call yourself a CMA yet, you passed the exam and therefore the clock has started to click.

2. What should I do if I’m not sure whether the course is acceptable?

IMA can issue a ruling in advance. You can send  a copy of the program or other information describing the course/ activity to IMA.

3. I am a CPA. Can my CPA CPE courses be counted as fulfilling the CMA CPE hours?

In most cases, the answer is yes because programs presented by organizations which are registered with NASBA meet the requirements of CE for CMAs. You can confirm with IMA if you have a specific course in mind.

4. I don’t actively work in management accounting anymore. Can I switch to an “inactive” status and stop taking the CPE courses?

There is no “inactive” status for CMAs, and you need to be 55 years old or above to get qualified for the “retired” status. In case of  special circumstances (e.g. military service, serious illness, extreme financial hardship), you may be allowed to waive the requirement. Please contact IMA for details.

Do You have any Suggestions?

  • CPE courses available from the IMA
  • My recommended CPE courses for CPA licensees — many of these courses can be used to fulfill requirements for both designations

You can always double check with IMA with the course description if you are unsure whether they can be counted.

For Your Further Reading

About the Author Stephanie Ng

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.

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Leave a Comment:

Ann says January 7, 2020

As a procurement officer, who uses cost analysis and gross margin report analysis on a regular basis to ensure that the financial goals of the procurement function are met, would the experience count?

    Stephanie Ng says January 8, 2020

    It sure sounds like it, but you can double-check with the IMA to make sure 🙂

Jen p says August 24, 2019


Are there available ethics free webinars?


    Stephanie Ng says August 27, 2019

    Hi, I don’t know of any at this time, but you could email the IMA to ask. I wish you the best!

    Brent says December 14, 2019

    Yes there is! From a recent post on the ima’s website:

    Members have access to Ethics CPE through a new Annual Ethics Benefit token program. The program gives members a yearly “token,” which can be used to purchase any one (two-credit) IMA Ethics Series product. Each year, a new token is automatically issued to each member upon membership renewal. Members can find their token in the myProfile section of their membership dashboard.

Gregory says September 13, 2018


I passed both exams in 2015, but now i checked my profile in the IMA website and it says that my certificate is expired! Most probably because I never did a CPE. The question is how to renew my certificate and bring it back to life? (I am currently doing my Masters degree)

Thanks a lot,

    Stephanie Ng says September 15, 2018


    Did your certificate expire because you weren’t paying your annual fees? Your online account should provide you with some insight as to what to do to get your certificate active again. If it doesn’t, please reach out to the IMA by emailing ima[at]imanet.org.

    Kind regards

Vivek S says April 2, 2018

Hi, I’m currently studying CMA USA. I’m aware that we need 2 years of experience to get the CMA certification even after qualifying the exams. Are there any pre defined set of jobs that I must do in order to get the 2 years experience? I’ve just heard some vague responses like “accounting jobs”. But if possible I’d like to know the exact type of jobs I must look into. Thanks. 🙂

N. A. says November 21, 2017


I am currently studying for the CMA exam and I am thinking of just passing the exams, completing the work experience, and then getting the CMA certificate. Also, I am willing to pay the IMA annual fees, but I have no intention of completing the CPE requirement on an annual basis. So, my question is: Is it possible to hold the CMA certificate without taking the CPE??

Moreover, I went through the ICMA bylaws and I think I might have found the solution to my question, but I am not quite sure so can you please tell me the difference between: “member”, “participant”, “inactive member”, and “inactive participant”??
And is one of those titles does not require completing the CPE requirements??


    Stephanie Ng says November 22, 2017

    Hi NA,
    I wouldn’t do it, because if your status is inactive, you cannot hold yourself out as a CMA, i.e. you can’t have the CMA title in the business card, email correspondence etc. Regards, Stephanie

Palanichamy VP says November 20, 2017

I have completed 10 CPE Requirements so far.
If I dont complete remaining 20 hours of CPE credits, what will happen to my qualification.
Whether my CMA Qualification will be cancelled if i dont complete my 30 Credits.??

    Stephanie Ng says November 22, 2017

    Hi Palanichamy, the certification won’t be cancelled, but it will be considered delinquent and inactive, and you won’t be able to hold yourself out as a CMA. If the shortfall is not made in the next calendar year, one must get at least 60 hours of CPE within one calendar year to get back to active status. Hope it helps! Stephanie

      David says March 4, 2019

      Hello Stephanie,
      I had a similar situation, Only completed 10.5 CPE credits in 2018, now in 2019, I completed 35 CPE, am I ok to hold the CMA? or I need 50 CPE?
      Do I need to self report this issue, somehow?

        Stephanie Ng says March 21, 2019

        If you are short in one year, you may make up the shortfall in the following year. However, this is a two-year policy and cannot be rolled over into a third year. Therefore, you’d need to make up the difference in 2019.

Ron says April 7, 2017


I am considering getting my CMA this year, but i am not sure what to expect regarding post certification fees. With regards to the CPE courses, can MOOC (EDX, Coursera) courses count? I am curious as to what the annual costs would be associated with this. I am an entry level Finance professional so heavy annual fees may cause me to delay becoming a CMA.

Thank you.

Aleksandar says January 31, 2017

I became a CMA last year. This is the first year I will have to deal with CPE.

Can someone share the link with acceptable on-line courses?

Also, since my employer is refusing to pay for these trainings, I would appreciate if the link is pointing to affordable (i.e. cheap) courses. Are there any free of charge courses on line that would be acceptable?

My employer offers certain trainings on its intranet website (communication, negotiation, marketing, anger management, ethics…). Would these courses be acceptable?

Finally, it is unclear if the courses are required to be academic? Are skill based courses acceptable? For example, would an excel course (pivot, macro..) would be acceptable course? An introduction to SQL?

My confusion stems form quite relaxed explanation of requironments above, yet they have the right to audit you.
I apologies for the length of the post, but I find all this quite confusing.

    Stephanie Ng says January 31, 2017

    Hi Aleksander, a professor has been in touch with me regarding his new CPE courses. We’ll have him tell us about his offer in a new post soon (I am going to have an interview with him). Will get this done after my ski trip 😉

Haitham Ismail says November 29, 2016

how can i fulfill my cma cpe requirements with home studying and what are the applicable courses for that?and what happen if i don,t fulfill the cpe in the first year?

    Stephanie Ng says December 3, 2016

    Hi Haitham, there are webinars and online courses that are available from time to time. IMA, Gleim and many providers offer these courses.

    If you don’t fulfill the CPE requirements, your CMA certification becomes inactive and you can’t call yourself a CMA.

      Mjoshi says March 27, 2019

      I have completed my CPA examination after CMA examination. Can I get credit for the course for CPE. As its been 3 years after completion of my CMA certification what can I do to make it active again to full fill the certfication requirement. Do i have to repass the papers?

        Stephanie Ng says March 28, 2019

        I don’t believe you can get CPE credit for taking the CPA Exam. You can double check with the IMA though. To make it active again, you don’t need to re-take the exam. You’ll need to reinstate your membership and make up the CPE hours.

Fares says October 31, 2016

Thanks Dear , I can plan for vacation now!

Fares says October 28, 2016

I got my CMA in September 2016, Do I have to fulfill the CPE requirements before the end of 2016?

    Stephanie Ng says October 29, 2016

    Hi Fares, this is a good question and I’ll include this info above.
    You will be given a grace period for 2016 (that is, no need to take the CPE courses). The requirements will start next year beginning Jan 2017. If you have time though, you can start taking some courses and this can be carried over to next year. You can do this up to 10 CPE hours.

Axelle says December 30, 2015

I passed part 1 only. do I have to complete any CPE before the year ends?

    Stephanie Ng says January 3, 2016

    Hi Axelle, you are required to complete the CPE after becoming a CMA, that is, passing the two parts and fulfilling the experience requirements. Cheers, Stephanie

      MG says August 18, 2016

      Dear Stephanie,

      you are contradicting your answer above:


      “Questions from Readers

      1. I passed the CMA exam but haven’t fulfilled the experience requirement. Since I can’t use the CMA title yet, does it mean that I don’t need to get the CPE hours?

      Well, I am afraid you do. As long as you pass the CMA exam you need to fulfill the CPE requirements to maintain your IMA membership.”

      Does one need to fulfil the requirements after passing both parts but before accumulating enough work experience?

        Stephanie Ng says August 19, 2016

        Oh, it does sound strange MG. Thanks for pointing this out to me. I’ll reword it. Cheers, Stephanie

Kamel says September 11, 2015

Can I attended and count CPE before passing the CMA exam?

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