On the fence about whether the CMA is for you? This free guide will help.

Many Indians search for information about the CMA certification every year, so we’d like to address them in this article. If you’re interested in earning the US CMA in India, use these facts about the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) international certification, the application steps, and tips for passing the exam.

Cooperation Between the IMA and ICAI

Let’s start out with good news. Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) (previously ICWAI) members can apply for the US CMA membership with a valid ICAI certificate.

The reverse of the agreement also works. Current CMAs can obtain Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) membership, as long as they completed the CMA program outside of India.

This means you must have physically taken the CMA international exam at testing centers outside of India.

Study of IMA Members from India

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) Global Salary Survey of 2021 noted that CMAs in India earn more than non-CMA certified colleagues.

Compared to members around the world, Indian IMA members work pretty hard, averaging 45.8 hours per week. That number comes in fifth to Egypt (46.2), United States (46.3), United Arab Emirates (46.4), and the Philippines (47.2). Indian IMA members are also very well educated. All those in the Middle East/Africa/India region have bachelor’s degrees (100%) and a little less than half have advanced degrees (41%).

We see even more interesting statistics by observing IMA members from the Asia/Pacific region. Among these members, 62% are CMAs (it’s likely the rest are pursuing the certification).

The mean age is 36, which makes the Middle East/Africa/India region the second to youngest among all IMA members.
Let’s take a quick look at the management levels of the IMA membership in Asia and America:

Management Levels of Asian and American IMA Members

Top Management3%14%
Senior Management14%25%
Middle Management52%39%
Lower Management/Entry Level31%19%
Academic Position in College/University1%4%

The fact that Asian members are typically about ten years younger than American members provides one explanation for the differences between these figures.

Additionally, the CMA certification is a more recent commodity in Asia than in the US.

US CMA Salary in Asia

According to IMA’s 2021 Global Survey, Asian/Pacific CMA holders earn 35% more in total compensation than non-CMAs. The median salary of Asian/Pacific CMAs is $22,000 USD, however most CMAs earn additional compensation through bonuses and overtime. On average, 81% of compensation for Asian/Pacific CMAs comes from their salary, and total compensation ends up being closer to $29,500 USD.

Some additional CMA benefits enjoyed by IMA members in the Asia/Pacific region include additional career opportunities and paths. Almost 70% of those with the CMA credential said the certification expanded their career options, while 90% credited the CMA with the strengthened ability to move across all areas of business.

US CMA Salary in India

On average, CMAs in India earn higher salaries than non-CMAs, and they enjoy increased career opportunities. In 2021, CMAs in the Middle East/Africa/India (MEAI) region earned an annual median base salary of $31,600 USD and an annual median total compensation of $36,000 USD.

One of the most important findings from the IMA salary survey is that the CMA makes a considerable impact on compensation in India. CMAs in the Middle East/Africa/India region earn 80% more in median total compensation than non-CMAs, and this premium has widened steadily and significantly throughout the years.

US CMA Salary for Accountants

Indian accounting professionals with the CMA USA can earn a higher salary than non-CMAs. Across all countries, CMAs make 58% more in total compensation than non-CMAs.

You can also advance to even higher paying jobs once you get more experience as an accountant. Jobs with promising growth potential, like financial analysis, are more likely to be filled by professionals with a CMA than a non-CMA.

US CMA Salary for Financial Analysts

US CMA certified financial analysts in India can earn almost twice as much as Indian accountants. These numbers apply to new financial analysts, but once you get more work experience, you can advance to senior positions and earn even more. Advanced CMAs can even become CFOs. In most countries, CMAs earn two to three times more than non-CMAs.

Other job opportunities available to CMAs include cost management, financial planning, performance management, risk management, strategic financial management and working in corporate finance.

Job responsibilities can include auditing, forecasting, budgeting, internal controls, decision analysis, financial statement analysis, investment decisions, and making external financial reporting decisions. Having the CMA professional certification certainly improves your job opportunities.

How to Become a CMA in India

Ready for more good news? You can earn the US CMA certification right from India; you don’t have to travel or work abroad.

The exam prerequisites are simple: you just need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and 2 years of experience doing any relevant work, all of which you can get in any part of the world.

Other requirements include becoming an IMA member, registering for the CMA exam, and paying the exam fee (or entrance fee), meeting professional ethics requirements, and completing continuing education.

Learn more about the CMA exam requirements here to verify your eligibility.

CMA Exam Content and Format

The computerized CMA exam features two parts with 100 multiple-choice questions and two essay scenarios each. You have four hours of total testing time to finish each part. You can take the exam on any weekday at the US CMA exam centers in India within the testing windows, which cover six of the 12 months each year.

CMA Exam Parts:

  • Part 1: Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance, and Control
  • Part 2: Financial Decision Making

CMA Exam Testing Windows:

  • January/February
  • May/June
  • September/October

For more information be sure to read CMA Exam Changes: Everything You Need to Know.

Prometric Testing Center Locations in India

The CMA exam is administered by Prometric Testing Centers. There are currently 10 test centers in and around India where you can schedule your exam dates:

  • Ahmedabad
  • Allahabad
  • Bangalore
  • Chennai
  • Dhaka
  • Gurgaon
  • Hyderabad
  • Kolkata
  • Mumbai
  • Trivandrum

You can mingle and network with fellow CMAs at one of these eight regional IMA chapters:

  • Bangalore
  • Chennai
  • Delhi
  • Hyderabad
  • Kochi
  • Kolkata
  • Mumbai
  • Pune

CMA Exam Passing Rates

The average pass rates for the CMA exam are 45% for Part 1 and Part 2.

Specific passing statistics for India are unavailable, but based on the data we have, Asian candidates have a better than average pass rate. However, the Americas and Europe have the highest passing rates. How can you achieve similar CMA exam success? We list a few suggestions for accomplishing that below.

How to Increase Your Chances of Passing the CMA Exam

1.  Read Essay Question Writing Tips
While Indians have a good command of English, their writing style can be different from that of Americans, so you should work on composing essays that feature the standard use of English. Use these free CMA exam study tips that include how to navigate CMA exam essay questions to make the most of your study time.

2. Take Self-Study Review Courses Instead
We recommend international candidates rely on self-study CMA review courses for two reasons:

  1. The problem with local coaching classes: One common reason for lower pass rates among Asian countries is too much dependence on local coaching classes. While there are some excellent live courses in Asia, many of them do not adequately prepare candidates for the exam, and sadly, you can’t tell how little you’ve learned until it’s too late.
  2. The lower price and increased convenience and reliability of self-study courses: More often than not, domestic candidates prepare with the self-study courses that have a reputation for higher quality study material and lower course fees. By working with the same courses as the US candidates, you know you’re more likely to receive a better review experience and, consequently, a more level playing field. It’s simple, really: the Americas have a higher passing rate (50-60%), so what they’re studying with seems to work. Therefore, we recommend using the review courses they are using.

How Can You Begin Your Own CMA Journey?

If you’re new to the CMA program, you can learn about:

  • How to earn the CMA title quickly and without leaving India
  • Common issues when taking local CMA coaching classes

If you’ve already set off toward the CMA, you can discover:

Are you ready to start your journey to becoming a CMA?

Get started with 14 days of FREE access to Wiley’s US CMA Course. You’ll get access to study text, practice questions, video lectures and more.