Thinking of CIMA Certification: How to Become a Certified Investment Management Analyst

Earning the CIMA designation is a process and takes time and money, both in completing and maintaining certification. Generally speaking, to earn the CIMA designation takes 9 to 12 months to complete and requires candidates to meet a range of experience, education, examination, and ethics requirements.

First, Application and Background Check

Candidates for the CIMA designation must first complete and submit the CIMA Certification Program Application and application fee (here’s an overview of current fees). Know that the application will ask for detailed contact information, work experience, and any record of complaints and regulatory actions. This is important because the Investments and Wealth Institute must complete a background check on you and your claimed work before you are admitted into the CIMA program. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance into the program within ten business days.

Educational Class & Exam

To earn the CIMA® designation, you must successfully complete an executive education program at one of the Investment and Wealth Institute’s three registered programs: The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Yale School of Management. If you are based in Australia you can enroll at Investment Management Research Program.

The education courses are generally two to four days in length and have their own “final” examination at the end. While the costs of these course offerings vary greatly, expect the courses – in addition to travel and lodging – to be a large expense, costing at least $4,500.

TIP: Yale offers an online option for a competitive cost.

The Certification Exam

After completing your course, you are then ready for the CIMA designation’s certification exam, which is administered during the months of February, May, August and November—again at an AMP testing center. The certification exam is five hours long, with 140 multiple-choice questions: 125 scored, 15 non-scored pretest questions.

Preparation for the exam is entirely self-study.

TIP: Plan to study for around 150 hours to pass this examination.

Documentation and a Second Background Check

Lastly, after completing your exam and education course, you’ll have to document your professional experience – a minimum of three year’s verifiable financial advisory work is required – and complete a second background check before you can hold the CIMA designation. You must also sign and promise to abide by the Investment and Wealth Institute Code of Professional Responsibility.

CFA Charterholder? Good News! If you already hold a CFA charter, you are not required to take the educational course. That means CFA charterholders, upon successful application to the CIMA program, can immediately take the certification exam. If you’re a CFA and pursuing the CIMA designation, it’s highly recommended you devote up to 100 hours of study time to the certifying exam (just as you would if you were qualifying for the program). This will ensure you don’t waste time and money and are fully prepared for this challenging exam. Find out more

To Remain Current with CIMA Certification

To maintain the CIMA designation, you are required to complete three certification renewal requirements during each certification renewal period. More information about those requirements can be found in the CIMA Renewal section of IMCA’s website.

Ready to learn more? Find out what the CIMA program entails.