iStock_000001696664_featureBecoming a CMA(R) (Certified Management Accountant) can have a huge impact on your career and earning potential–but it doesn’t come easily or necessarily cheaply. Here are the true costs, in time and money, of passing the CMA Exam.

First, The CMA Exam & Its Parts

To become a CMA, candidates must meet the professional requirements set by the U.S.-based Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and pass the two-part CMA Exam. You’ll also need to pay all applicable exam and membership fees, which are covered later in this post.

OK, Part 1 of the CMA Exam focuses on financial reporting, planning, performance and internal control. Its weighting and focus breaks down like so:

  1. External financial reporting decisions (15%)
  2. Planning, budgeting and forecasting (30%)
  3. Performance management (20%)
  4. Cost management (20%)
  5. Internal control (15%)

Part 2 of the CMA Exam focuses more on financial analysis and decision making than Part 1. It’s also broken down into six sections like so:

  1. Financial statement analysis (25%)
  2. Corporate finance (20%)
  3. Decision analysis (20%)
  4. Risk management (10%)
  5. Investment decisions (15%)
  6. Professional ethics (10%)

You’re eligible to take the CMA Exam in any order you wish. However, because of its composition and overall higher pass rates, many candidates — especially those who already hold a CPA license — elect to take Part 2 of the CMA Exam first.

Minimum Study Time Required

As you can see, the CMA Exam covers a great deal of ground. In fact, IMA has compiled its CMA Program curriculum around a total of 650 Learning Outcome Statements. Mastering this large amount of information obviously will require a good deal of study time.

How much time exactly? Well, it of course depends on the student and their current knowledge of management accounting. But we can give you a rough guideline for the minimum amount of time you should spend preparing for the CMA Exam.

We when into our Wiley CMAexcel CMA Review Course — which covers 100% of the CMA Program’s Learning Outcome Statements — and made a *rough* count of the time it would take a candidate to complete all of the lessons, readings, practice questions and exams in the coures.

Part 1: 90 – 100 study hours

Part 2: 90 – 100 study hours

Now, if you were to break that out into 12 weeks, it would amount to at least 8 hours of studying per week. Most people attempt to condense their studying into much tighter timelines.

If you were to pass both parts of the exam in consecutive testing windows (January/February, May/June, September/October), you can still reasonably expect to spend between 6 months and 8 months of your live devoted to preparing for and passing the CMA Exam. The more time devoted to studying, the higher your likelihood passing.

Exam Fees & Costs

All figures are up-to-date and accurate as of August 2016.

Professional Member Fees

Non-refundable CMA Entrance Fee:      $240
Exam Fee:                                                     $395 per part ($790 total)

Student Member Fees

Non-refundable CMA Entrance Fee:      $180
Exam Fee:                                                     $296.25 per part ($592.50 total)

NOTE: IMA membership is required to enter the CMA Program.

Cost of Study Materials

You performance on the CMA Exam directly correlates to the quality of study materials you use in preparation. For the absolute best performance — and your best chance of passing the exam on your first try — you should rely on study materials that map directly to the CMA curriculum and its Learning Outcome Statements.

Only the Wiley CMAexcel CMA Review Course covers all 650 Learning Outcome Statements and is the officially endorsed by IMA You can certainly find lesser and/or less expensive study options but none will fully preparing you for the CMA Exam … and if you have to retake one of the exam parts, you’ll quickly see your “savings” vanish.

Review Course Cost:

  • Non-student/Professional = $1,795
  • Student (still in school) = $1,436

Total True Costs of the CMA Exam

Time: 6 months/ 200 hours study time — *minimum*

Money: $2,208.50 — $2,825

And there you have it.