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CMA Exam Fees: A Complete Breakdown of CMA Exam Costs

cma exam fees

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) salary totally compensates for CMA exam fees and the amount of money you’ll spend on the CMA certification. However, getting the CMA still requires you to make a significant financial investment. Therefore, you should consider the CMA exams fees in advance so you can budget properly. To do that, let’s analyze the fees you must pay to become a CMA.

CMA Exam Fees

Becoming a CMA is a potential pathway to a great new career or an opportunity to move up in your existing career. People who work in the accounting profession and get their CMA certification will automatically earn more than those who do not. While it does require a monetary and time investment, this investment definitely pays for itself. That said, most people still want to know what kind of fees they are looking at before they begin.

I am going to cover and break down the CMA fees structure as well as tell you some ways to save in order to keep your costs down. The first things to look at are the base CMA fees. At the start of your CMA journey, you must pay three CMA exam fees. Please note that all amounts are in US dollars.

1. IMA Membership Fee

To even register for the CMA exam, you must have a membership with the IMA. IMA membership requires an annual fee you must pay while you are pursuing the CMA. Then, once you earn the CMA designation, you must continue to pay the IMA membership fee to keep your certification active.

The price of IMA membership varies depending on your professional status. For example, if you’re already a working professional, you would select the Professional Membership. Full-time faculty members at accredited institutions would qualify for Academic Memberships. And individuals enrolled in 6 or more credit hours of classes at a college or university should choose to become Student Members.

Therefore, you must select the membership type that is most relevant to you. The membership you choose will determine the pricing. Thankfully, these costs are not all that high in comparison to other accounting membership fees. The Professional Membership option is the most expensive. In contrast, if you’re still a student, you will get a reduced rate.

IMA Membership Fees

Membership Type

Price

Professional

$245

Academic

$135

Student

$39

Two-Year Student

$78

Don’t let IMA membership costs get you down, because there are many benefits to your membership. Additionally, we also provide you with CMA discount codes to help you save even more on nearly all the CMA US fees. You can save 15% off IMA membership costs with our discount.

2. CMA Entrance Fee

After paying your membership fee, you’ll also be required to pay a CMA entrance fee. The IMA membership does not include entrance into the CMA program, which is the route to becoming a CMA in the US. So by paying the CMA entrance fee, you’ll become eligible to pursue a CMA certification.

Unlike the IMA membership fee, the CMA entrance fee is a one-time cost you’ll pay when you’re ready to become CMA certified. The CMA entrance fee also depends on your membership type. While the CMA entrance fee is required, it also provides you with benefits beyond entrance into the CMA program. In short, you’re not just paying a fee for the sake of paying a fee.

For Professional Members, the CMA entrance fee is $250. But Academic and Student members can pay a discounted price of just $188. A Student Member can enjoy this discount for up to 6 years as long as they continue to take at least 6 credit hours per semester.

CMA Entrance Fee per IMA Membership Type

Membership Type

Price

Professional

$250

Academic

$188

Student

$188

Two-Year Student

$188

The CMA entrance fee covers the following features and services:

  • Credential review for educational qualification
  • Credential review for experience qualification
  • Six months of access to the CMA Exam Support package, which includes printable practice questions
  • A final score report
  • Performance feedback reports for candidates who do not pass
  • A personalized, numbered certificate for office display, that is available after you achieve CMA certification
  • A congratulatory notification to employer or others, if desired

3. CMA Examination Fee

Finally, there are fees for taking the CMA exam itself, as there are with other accounting exams and certifications. This is the fee you need to pay in order to sit for the exam. Consequently, once you pay the CMA examination fee, you’ll be able to register and reserve your spot.

Also, you must pay the CMA examination fee for each part of the CMA exam you take. The CMA exam has 2 parts, so you must pay the CMA examination fee at least twice. However, if you fail an exam part, you must pay this fee to take the exam again. This is all the more reason why people try to pass on the first attempt.

The CMA examination fee is the same for both exam parts. Furthermore, the price of this fee also varies per membership type.

CMA Examination Fee per IMA Membership Type

Membership Type

Price

Professional

$415

Academic

$311

Student

$311

Two-Year Student

$311

CMA Exam Fees Summary

Clearly, being a Student or Academic member allows you to take the least expensive path to become a CMA. However, if you are a professional accountant, you are most likely making more money than a student, so it’s easier for your salary to offset these costs. When you look at it this way, you can see that it is just another investment into the career path you choose. There are costs involved in every profession, but getting certified as a CMA will help you make more money now and in the future.

CMA Exam Costs — IMA Fees

Student [1]
Academic Professional
 1. IMA Membership [2]  $39 $135 $245
 2. CMA Entrance  $188 $188  $250
 3. Exam Registration
 Part 1  $311 $311  $415
 Part 2 $311 $311  $415
 Total  $849 $945  $1,325

Note:

1. The student discount is for current students only (defined as those who have taken at least 6 credit hours of courses in the past semester). Graduated students do not qualify.

2. There is an extra one-time $15 application fee for first-time registration.

Source: IMA

Overall, how much does first becoming a CMA cost? Depending on your membership status, between $864 and $1,340.

Hidden CMA Exam Costs

Now that you know the basics, are there any other fees or exam costs you need to be aware of? In fact, there may be some “hidden” CMA exam costs. This is definitely something you want to know about in advance so you can prepare as much as possible.

After you pay the IMA’s CMA fees, you’ll need to account for a few other CMA expenses in order to pass the CMA exam.

1. CMA Review Courses

The IMA does not supply study materials to candidates who enter the CMA program. So, your CMA exam preparation options include anything from free secondhand notes to expensive coaching classes. I generally recommend something in between — self-study review courses. These courses offer some of the best products from nationally renowned instructors, the flexibility of studying at home, and generally lower prices. In the US, CMA course fees range from about $600 to $1,800. However, you can actually save hundreds on your course by checking out my CMA discounts and promo codes.

2. Travel and Accommodation

If you’re lucky enough to have a Prometric testing center located within driving distance of your home, this cost is minimal. But there are candidates who must travel to a faraway city or even another country to sit for the exam. The farther you travel, the more you usually have to pay for airfare, additional transportation, accommodations, and food. So, if you’re in this situation, remember to take this cost into account. The good news is that the exam is offered all over the world, as there are nearly 200 CMA exam locations available.

3. Annual Certification Maintenance Payments

As long as you would like your CMA certification to remain active, you must continue to pay for the annual IMA membership. Therefore, this fee will be part of your annual CMA certification maintenance costs.

You also must meet the annual CMA CPE requirements. The IMA requires CMAs to earn 30 hours of continuing education (CPE) credits per year. To fulfill these requirements, you must usually pay for continuing education courses every year, which add to your overall CMA fees list as well.

Therefore, keeping your CMA certification active will cost you a few hundred dollars every 12 months. If you fall behind on your CPE, the IMA may suspend your certification, so it’s important to plan for these requirements.

How to Save on CMA Exam Fees

If you’re looking for a way to save on the CMA exam fee and related costs, you’ve come to the right place. I realize how important the CMA designation is to accounting professionals. Also, I know that saving money is a top concern for a lot of CMA candidates. This site is dedicated to helping you save money on the CMA exam and learn how to prepare for and pass the exam (hopefully on the first try).

I’ve already explained some of the ways you can save, like being a student or using the discount codes on this site. In addition, I highly recommend you follow our advice for study and review courses, so you can prepare with the best materials available. This greatly increases your chances of passing on the first try, thereby reducing your overall fees.

CMA Exam Fees Compared to Other Accounting Certification Exams

Now that you know the basics about CMA fees, how do they measure up against other accounting certifications? We can take a look at some of the other popular accounting exams and their fees to get an idea of how the CMA compares.

In short, the cost of taking the CMA exam falls somewhere between the costs of the CPA and CIA exams. And the CMA exam costs fall well short of CFA exam expenses. All of these totals take the cost of review courses into account.

Exam Fees Only Exam Fee + Review Course
 CMA  ~$1,300  ~$2,500
 CPA  ~ $1,000  ~$3,000
 CIA  ~$1,000  ~$2,000
 CFA  ~$3,000  ~$4,500

Therefore, if money is one of many factors influencing your decision of which accounting certification to pursue, you can see that the CMA doesn’t ask as much of you financially as other accounting certifications. However, the accounting certification that will help you best meet your career goals is the one you should pursue, no matter the cost. Remember, the costs are always going to be worth it if they get you to your goal.

How the CMA Fees Pay Off

One of the best ways to visualize how the CMA fees are an investment rather than a penalty is to look at the ways they will pay off throughout your career. The return on investment from this certification is more than reasonable when you see how much money you can make as a management accountant.

Each year, the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) conducts a global salary survey to discover trends in compensation and other useful information for members. Data from the IMA 2020 Global Salary Survey shows that the average Certified Management Accountant (CMA) base salary in the Americas is $105,278. Therefore, your first-year salary can definitely cover the money you must expend to become a CMA.

CMA Exam Fees Explained in Video Format

To help you further visualize how much you must pay to become a CMA, I’ve created this video walk-through of the different layers of CMA fees.

The Value of the CMA

Considered on their own, CMA USA exam fees can be a bit pricey. However, you must remember two things as you’re pursuing the CMA. First, the CMA certification cost is more affordable than other qualifications like the CPA. Second, if you are pursuing a professional career in accounting and financial management, the certification will soon pay for itself and benefit you for a lifetime.

So if you’re ready to move on with the CMA certification process, learn how to study for and pass the CMA exam in the most efficient manner by signing up for my e-course. It’s completely FREE and tells you how to pass the CMA exam on your first attempt. You can learn more about the e-course or sign up directly below.

​Get Free CMA Information!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is the CMA exam?

The fee to sit for the exam itself is $415 per part for professional IMA members and $311 per part for academic and student members. However, there are IMA membership and entrance fees to keep in mind, as well.

How much is the CMA membership fee?

The annual membership fee for the Institute of Management Accountants, which gives out the CMA designation, is $245 for professionals, $135 for academics, and $38 for students. The first time you apply, there’s also a $15 registration fee.

Do you pay an annual license fee for the CMA after meeting experience requirements? What is the CMA annual fee license for active certifications?

It’s an IMA membership fee rather than a CMA license fee, but yes, you must pay it every year to remain an active CMA. After you have become an active CMA, you’ll continue to pay the appropriate membership fee every year, depending on whether you’re a student ($38), academic ($135), or professional ($245). If your membership status changes – for instance, from student to professional – your annual fee will change as well.

Are the CMA fees and exam a tax deduction?

Unfortunately, the CMA entrance and exam fees, including any review courses, are not tax deductible. However, if you’re self-employed or own a business, dues to professional organizations can count as tax deductions, so your annual IMA membership fee may be deductible. Be sure to talk to a tax professional if you have any questions.

What are the US CMA fees in India?

Since the US CMA is an internationally-recognized designation and there are Prometric testing centers all over the world, you can choose to study for and take the CMA exam in India. In this case, you’ll simply pay the American rate for the exam and any CMA USA course fees in Indian rupees. While the exchange rate will vary, current CMA exam fees in India come out to 30,371.65 rupees, the equivalent of $415. Meanwhile, US CMA course fees in India may vary between about 43,910.82 and 131,732.46 INR.

What are the CMA exam fees in the Philippines?

If you’re pursuing a US CMA designation in the Philippines, the cost will depend on the exchange rate to American dollars. As of the time of writing, the CMA exam fee of $415 comes to 19,944.15 Philippine pesos.

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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