Work schedule, working environmentBecoming a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) can advance your career significantly, as well as positively improve to your income and professional development. But what does the common CMA career path look like?

Who gets a CMA?

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), the organization that bestows CMA certification worldwide, requires that candidates have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university as well as completed two years of documented, full-time work in a management accounting rule to qualify for CMA certification. In addition, candidates must of course pass both parts of the CMA exam within a 12-month period.

So who are the people pursuing CMA certification?

Interns & Entry-Level Professionals

The work experience for CMA certification can begin with your internship in a company’s finance, accounting, or similar department. For many, that shortens the timeline for certification once they graduate from college and a key reason that many students choose to take the CMA exam before entering the workforce. Common early career roles for CMA candidates include roles such as analysts, general accountants, or business and financial management associates. A CMA is not required for entry-level positions but is a great way to quickly prove yourself to your employer and get on the fast track.

Those Who Want Rapid Career Advancement

Many people who earn their CMA already hold popular accounting credentials such as the CPA or have established careers in finance and accounting. What the CMA offers is a benchmark of expertise that allows an individual the opportunity to get to the next level or specialize in a specific area.

Before getting their CMA, many professionals find themselves in positions where they manage financials and accounting for a portfolio or business. By earning certification, they can quickly set themselves apart when applying for a new job role, either with their current employer or another company. It’s a great way to make the transition from being a contributor to a more strategic management role.

Those Who Work (or Want to Work) at Large Corporations

The most common employers of CMA holders are large, multinational corporations. That’s because CMAs are able to offer specialized advice and expertise in the areas of management and cost accounting, which are invaluable to organizations with large, complex operations. As such, CMA holders can work in a variety of roles, from cost accountant all the way up to CFO.

What Can CMA Certification Do For You?

After you earn your CMA, your open yourself up to a varied of potential career paths. Many people with the CMA credential go into traditional accounting and finance roles but will often find themselves in a specialized division or department, such as risk management or cost accounting. You may also find yourself closely advising key corporate decision-makers or developing accounting and financial strategies for an entire division or business.

A random search on LinkedIn will show that a professional with a CMA will hold a position such as CFO, Managing Director, Controller, Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis, and Global Operations Manager, among many other interesting roles.