How Do I Earn CIA® Certification?

How Do I Earn CIA® Certification?

Becoming a Certified Internal Auditor® is a great way to advance your career in accounting as well as enjoy greater job security and career prospects. But completing your CIA certification requires a great deal of work, time and patience, as there are a number of requirements you’ll need to fulfill (and document) along the way.

You must complete the CIA certification process within four years of applying. As always, refer to the official Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) website and requirements for the most current CIA certification requirements.

A College Education

To be eligible for CIA certification, you must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Unlike requirements for the CPA or CMA designations, this degree does not have to be in accounting or business.

For those candidates who have not completed a post-secondary degree, they can still meet CIA certification requirements by having five-to-seven years of verifiable employment in the internal auditing field. This, of course, is subject to IIA approval, so be sure to work with the IIA directly to determine if you meet its educational requirements.

Internal Auditing Experience

To earn CIA certification, you must have completed at least two years of experience working in the internal auditing field—and this must be documented and verified by your employer.  

Fortunately, The IIA also accepts work experience in closely related fields, such as external audit, internal control, compliance, and quality assurance. A master’s degree in a relevant field can substitute for one year of work experience. Again, these substitutions must be approved by The IIA to meet CIA certification requirements.

Pass the CIA Exam

Central to completing CIA certification is taking and passing the three-part CIA exam. This entirely computer-based exam can be taken at any time via any of the 5,000+ Prometric testing centers. The pass rate for the CIA exam stands around 40%, globally.

You may apply to the CIA program and sit for the CIA Exam prior to satisfying the professional experience requirement, but you will not be certified until all program requirements are met.

Provide a Character Reference

Next up in the certification process, you must provide The IIA with a Character Reference Form filled out and signed by either your work supervisor or a work peer who holds a CIA, CGAP, CCSA, CFSA, or CRMA designation. What’s more, you must provide a copy of your valid official passport or national identity card.

Agree to The IIA Code of Ethics

CIA certification requirements include agreeing to abide by the IIA’s Code of Ethics, which you can read on The IIA website. Central to this is promising to keep the contents of the CIA Exam confidential. Sharing or discussing exam material is a breach of the Code of Ethics and could result in your disqualification.

Complete Continuing Professional Education (CPE)

Upon completing your initial CIA certification, you are then required to keep your knowledge and skills up to date. To do this, you must meet a range of continuing professional education, or CPE, requirements. Learn more about the CIA CPE requirements here.

IIA Membership May Be Required

In general, you do not have to be an IIA member to take the CIA Exam or become a CIA. However, some countries’ requirements include that you be an IIA member to take the exam. Please check with your local chapter