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CMA vs Non-CMA Salary: Earn 33% More Money than Your Peers


One of the benefits of becoming a Certified Management Accountants is the enhanced earning power.

Specifically, how much can you earn as a CMA? Does the premium apply in your home country? The latest CMA salary survey by the IMA reveals the answer.

CMA vs Non-CMA Salary

The IMA salary survey includes a useful comparison of salary between Certified Management Accountants and non certificate holders. US and Europe’s level is the highest, averaging US$115K for basic salary. Asia’s level is the lowest at around US$30K.

The difference is a combination of different standard of living, macroeconomics and the fact that IMA members in Asia are much younger: they are on average 35 years old vs the the global average of 43.

CMA salary

The CMA Premium as a Percentage is Surprisingly Consistent

Although the range is big in terms of absolute dollar, the premium of salary for CMAs to that for non-holders is surprisingly consistent across the globe. If you are a certified management accountant working anywhere in the world, you can expect, on average, to earn 1/3 more than your peers without the certification.

This is significant given the impact is cumulative and will last throughout your career.

CMA vs Non-CMA Total Compensation

Similar results can be seen for total compensation. This is defined as basic salary plus benefits including bonus, profit sharing, medical coverage, insurance, rental reimbursement, company car and so on.


For all regions except Asia, they earn around 50% premium in terms of total compensation. One possibility is that CMAs are more likely higher-level managers who tend to have more attractive benefits packages.

Further Analysis by Age

Here is a graph that group CMAs by age instead of by region.

CMA salary by age

Source: Global IMA salary survey 2013 (published in June 2014)

Interestingly, young CMAs are paid more than their older colleagues according to the survey. For those age between 19-29, CMAs earn 96% more than their uncertified peers. The premium drops to 30% in the 30-39 age group, and to 11% in 40-49 age group. The premium slightly increases to 27% for those over 49.

This observation may be explained by higher entry-level salaries being paid to these young professionals due to high demand of their skill set at their age.

Qualitative Measures

There are other benefits to be a Certified Management Accountant. For example, CMAs around the world say the certification strengthens their negotiating position with their employers: 79% from Middle East/Africa region and 78% from the Americas agree.

In addition, almost 80% agree that the CMA certificate creates career opportunities for them. Please refer to the IMA Global survey for details.

Cost Benefit Analysis of CMA Certification

It costs around $2,000 to obtain a CMA certification, and several hundred dollars to maintain the title every year.

In return, you can expect to get 1/3 more in salary on an annual basis. It is clear that benefits far exceed costs in becoming a Certified Management Accountant.


There is clear benefit to become a certified management accountant anywhere in the world, and at all age level. If you have a choice, it is best to get the certification early because:

  • The impact is cumulative;
  • The salary premium is highest in the youngest age group;
  • The CMA certification strengthens your position in salary negotiation; and
  • The CMA certification increases your chance to move across business.

Here is a Summary in Video Format

For Your Further Reading

CMA salary analysis for specific countries

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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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  • Krishna satish pardeshi says:

    I m 21 years old.i m persuaing mcom in banking nd insurance nd from a low middle class family.what do u recommend to me about having a career in cma….

  • sidra says:

    i m cma student at managerial level .i want to do job for carry on my study. bt i dont hve any job experience.and i cant speak english in fluently…wht i do…

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Sidra, you may want to find a job in which you can speak your local language. It doesn’t matter for the purpose of fulfilling the experience requirement in the CMA exam. Regards, Stephanie

  • kohila says:

    Iam MBA student 2014 ..I like course now CMA ..I can do this course?.

    Next i am Indian, so I study in USA do this CMA course..I can do that??..

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Kohila, you don’t need to study for the CMA course in the US. There are courses offered in India, and bette yet (in my opinion at least), there are online self-study courses. The vast majority of people I know in the US take self-study courses. Regards, Stephanie

      If you haven’t already, check out this page on how to become a CMA and decide whether it is a suitable qualification for you. https://ipassthecmaexam.com/how-to-become-a-cma/

  • Yaseen says:

    Hi I’m a b.com student graduated last year
    And I have no work experience
    Can i still join CMA course

  • Vivek says:

    Hello my name is Vivek.I’ve just completed my graduation exams and I’m waiting for some more semester results to be out.Right now I have a tough time deciding what I need to study next. I m residing in India now. But I’d love to work and settle abroad. The places I mainly prefer are New Zealand, Canada, Netherlands, Ireland or Switzerland. And what I have in mind right now is CMA (US). So if I study that is there a possibility that I can work in any of the places I mentioned above if I qualify CMA? I would really like to work in New Zealand…Can you please me out with this? I’d also like to hear your suggestions about any other courses I can study to work abroad…thank you.. 🙂

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Vivek, it’s great that you are planning ahead for your career. The countries you mentioned, however, either have their own management accounting qualification (New Zealand / Canada) or that CMA (US) isn’t well recognized (the European countries). So I would think twice about going for CMA (US). Maybe you need to narrow down your target countries a bit for further planning? Another way is to work in a MNC that headquarters in one of these countries, and plan for an internal transfer in the medium term. Good luck! Stephanie

  • Omar says:

    Hi , Im 23 I studied business economics and worked as a customer service for a year in exchange house , and i am currently working as a cashier and insurance verifier in health care , i want to know if i am eligible to take it , and what i would benefit from it .

  • Sriteja says:

    I’m from India…
    I want to pursue CMA course
    What are the career opportunities in India
    I’m 3 rd year of my bachelor degree
    Suggest me best affordable finance course

  • Tusher says:

    Hi I am bangladeshi.i am student of political
    science sub.i want to do cma course after my graduate complete.can I do this?
    my ssc point is 3.19, hsc point is 4.07.
    may I can this course in bangladesh.

  • Shihabudheen says:

    I would like to pursue CMA . Currently I am working in UAE. I did my graduation (BCOM) and Post graduation (MBA) from University of Calicut. When I checked this approved or not, I could not find the name of Calicut university. Please tell me whether approved or not and if not what i need to do register. Also please give the exam centers in UAE

  • Lovankita says:

    Hlw sir i had complete my 12th from commerce stream with maths i want to do cma is it banificial for mee

  • Kinnari says:

    I m kinnari and im studying at BBA 2nd year i want to become CMA but i m not getting perfect information about CMA. My conepts are not clear
    I just want to ask about placements in INDIA after CMA completion plz help me to clear my concepts

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