CMA Salary: Discover the Numbers for the Certified Management Accountant Salary

cma salary

If you’re interested in earning the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification, there truly are a whole host of reasons to do so. But one of the biggest reasons to become a CMA is the increased earning power you’ll enjoy.

According to the Institute of Management Accountant’s (IMA) 2018 U.S. Salary Survey, CMAs make 47% more than professionals without the CMA or the CPA in the U.S.

That means the CMA generates an almost 50% income increase for accountants. And at the global level, CMAs receive a median total compensation that is 67% higher than that of non-CMAs.

If the CMA seems even more intriguing to you now, you’ll be happy to see exactly how much you can make as a CMA and if the premium applies in your home country. So, learn more about the CMA salary in this summary of the IMA salary survey.

A Glance at the Global Certified Management Accountant Salary

The global mean and median base CMA certification salary may rise and fall from year to year. However, the figures remain high and attractive to future Certified Management Accountants.

The IMA reports that the global mean base CMA salary of 2018 was $74,344, while the global median base CMA salary was $66,000.

CMA Salary and Compensation by Region

Annual Base Salary ($)Annual Total Compensation ($)This Year as a % of Last Year
RegionMeanMedianMeanMedianBase SalaryTotal Compensation
All Countries74,34466,00095,36873,00096%99%
Middle East/Africa34,99323,50040,72227,00087%92%

This table demonstrates that both the global base CMA salary and total compensation decreased slightly from last year. But, the decrease is almost insignificant for total compensation.

Furthermore, the IMA suspects that an increase in the number of respondents between the ages of 20-29 years old could account for some of this decrease. Younger professionals typically make less than older professionals.

Additionally, salary decreases seem to have affected Asia and the Middle East/Africa most severely. While the Middle East/Africa faced a salary decline for the second year in a row, Asia experienced the largest decrease of 27%.

Women’s total compensation in that region is only 78% of that of men. For this reason, the IMA says the increase in female respondents might account for Asia’s significant salary decrease.

On the other hand, the Americas and Europe saw more favorable salary trends. Both regions boast the highest CMA salaries. Furthermore, salaries in America held steady from this year to last, while salaries in Europe increased.

Therefore, in much of the world, the CMA salary remains a respectable source of compensation.

The CMA Salary vs. the Non-CMA Salary

Even when the CMA accountant salary decreases, Certified Management Accountants still make significantly more than non-certified accountants.

That’s because the IMA salary survey finds that at the global level, CMAs earn 62% more in median salary and 67% more in median total compensation than non-CMAs.

Median Salary and Total Compensation by Region, CMA vs. Non-CMA

CMANon-CMACMAs as % of Non-CMAs
RegionBase Salary ($)Total Compensation ($)Base Salary ($)Total Compensation ($)Base Salary ($)Total Compensation ($)
All Countries81,00092,00050,00055,000162%167%
Middle East/Africa35,00039,50017,70018,500198%214%

The CMA accounting salary as a percentage of the non-CMA salary increased from 2017 to 2018. Consequently, the IMA believes this could be because more of the respondents held the CMA in 2018 than in 2017.

Additionally, the increased number of CMAs among respondents could indicate that accountants are seeing how financially advantageous having the CMA can be.

The Salary of CMAs in Management

Not only is the average CMA salary higher than the average non-CMA salary, but the salaries of CMAs in management positions are also higher than those of non-CMAs in management.

The IMA is thrilled to report that CMAs in lower-level positions benefit the most from their certification. The median salary for CMAs in lower-level positions is 119% greater and the median total compensation for these individuals is 88% greater than those of non-CMAs at the same level.

Median Salary and Total Compensation by Management Level, CMA vs. Non-CMA

CMANon-CMACMAs as % of Non-CMAs
Management LevelBase Salary ($)Total Compensation ($)Base Salary ($)Total Compensation ($)Base SalaryTotal Compensation
Top management130,207150,013101,291107,500129%140%
Senior management102,044120,00065,00074,500157%161%
Middle management71,12080,00042,68050,000167%160%
Lower management/entry level58,50062,00026,68233,000219%188%
Academic position in college/university100,000104,00065,00075,500154%138%

Additionally, CMAs making more in management positions is a universal occurrence. According to the IMA salary survey, total compensation increased by management level in almost every region.

Specifically, total compensation for those in top management positions in the Americas was $160,000, $87,240 in Europe, $76,000 in Asia, and $35,650 in the Middle East/Africa region.

The CMA Certification Salary vs. the CPA Certification Salary

Typically, CMAs around the globe not only make more money than non-CMAs but also more than CPAs. And, accountants holding both the CMA and the CPA earn the highest median total compensation.

The IMA salary survey’s mixed group of certification-holding respondents demonstrated these facts.

Percentage of IMA Salary Survey Respondents with Certifications

Certification% of Certified RespondentsMedian Total Compensation vs. Non-Certified Respondents
CMA42%47% higher
CPA8%40% higher
CMA and CPA20%59% higher

Increases to the CMA Accountant Salary

Along with high salaries, CMAs have plenty of other reasons to be satisfied in their jobs. These reasons include employee benefits, good working relationships, interesting and challenging work, job security, and more.

But one of the biggest contributors to the job satisfaction of CMAs is opportunities for advancement, which often come with pay increases.

And in the 2018 IMA salary survey, 69% of all respondents testified to receiving a pay raise within the last year. All regions reported a similar result, and the median raise of 6% was up from last year’s 5%.

Moreover, with a median of 10%, Asia and the Middle East/Africa had higher raises than the Americas with 4% and Europe with 6%.

CMA Salaries Compared to Total Workweek Hours

Cleary, CMAs all over the world make a very respectable living. But do they work an extreme number of hours a week as a result?

The IMA salary survey says no, CMAs don’t have to work incessantly for their pay. Instead, the average number of hours per week survey respondents worked was 45.1. And in fact, this figure is slightly less than last year’s average of 45.5.

However, the U.S. put up the highest number of workweek hours at 46.3, an increase from last year’s 45. With an average of 45.5, India and Jordan reported the second longest workweeks.

Mean Hours Worked by Country/Region

Mean Hours WorkedLast Year
All Countries45.145.5
Globally (excluding U.S.)44.046.0
United States46.345.0
Middle East / Africa44.545.8
Saudi Arabia43.645.7
United Arab Emirates45.046.2

Cost/Benefit Analysis of CMA Certification

Even though CMAs enjoy so much earning potential, does the price of the CMA certification outweigh this lifelong benefit?

Definitely not. Obtaining the CMA certification costs around $,2000. Additionally, maintaining the certification costs a few hundred dollars a year.

But in return, you can expect to make almost 50% more on an annual basis. Therefore, the benefits far exceed the costs of becoming a Certified Management Accountant.

Conclusions from the CMA Salary Survey

No matter where you live in the world and what age you are, you can experience the advantages of acquiring the CMA certification. However, the earlier you earn the certification, the better, for the following reasons:

  • The impact is cumulative
  • The certification strengthens your position in salary negotiation
  • The certification increases your ability to move across and up in the business

If you’d like to learn more about the CMA salary in India, China, and the Middle East, you’ll find that information in these specific articles.

Help Earning the CMA Certification

The CMA salary is a very good reason to earn the CMA. Another notable benefit is the vast quantity of CMA careers you’ll qualify for.

If this information has convinced you the CMA certification is what you want, you can take the next step by learning how to become a CMA. You can also learn how to pass the CMA exam on your first attempt from my free e-course. Learn more about this course or sign up below.

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…

    • 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??..

    • 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.

  • Yaseen says:

    Hi I’m a 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.. 🙂

    • 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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