TOP TOPICS OF THIS PAGE
Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) are expert accounting and finance professionals who have completed the necessary requirements (including passing the CMA exam) to earn the CMA designation. Keep reading to learn about CMA requirements and if the CMA certification is right for you.
The CMA is the fastest growing global certification for a reason. It is recognized internationally as the “gold standard” of management accounting certifications and earns the CMA-holder immediate respect.
Overall, earning the CMA designation improves and broadens your job opportunities, increases your earning potential, and gives you instant credibility.
The three main CMA certification requirements are:
But beyond those three more involved requirements, to earn and maintain CMA certification, you must also:
What exactly is the minimum level of education and work experience needed to earn the CMA? We’ll go over that now.
There are two ways to meet the CMA educational certification requirements:
Proof of your education or certification must be submitted to the ICMA within seven years of completing your CMA exam.
Note: There is no education requirement to sit for the CMA exam, but in order to become certified you must meet one of the two qualifications listed above.
The CMA professional certification requirements are:
Note: As with the education requirement, you do not have to meet the professional work experience requirement before you take the CMA exam, but you do need to complete it and submit proof to the IMA within seven years of passing the exam.
Studying for and passing the CMA exam can take anywhere from two months to three years (but six months to one year is typical). It is recommended to allocate at least 90 hours of studying per exam part, so if you can study for at least 20 hours per week, you can study for and pass the CMA exam in as little as two months if you take both exams within the same testing window.
You’ll want to budget about 72 – 120 hours for studying per exam part, and it’s best to give yourself six to eight weeks to study before sitting for your first section of the CMA exam. That means you’ll need 12 to 16 weeks of total study time to take and pass both parts of the exam.
For more information on CMA Exam Dates and Registration, be sure to check out our newest article.
Whether you are fitting in study hours as you wrap up school or after work, it’s best to pace yourself and not cram your studying into a condensed timeline. This leads to unnecessary stress. Instead, make a plan and stick to it.
One way to make studying easier is by enlisting the help of a CMA exam prep course. Wiley’s CMA review course is specifically designed to make studying manageable and efficient. It takes Wiley students about 90 – 100 hours per exam part to get through all the lessons, readings, practice questions, and exams in the course.
It might not be useful for professionals interested solely in auditing and attestation (hello CPA!), but if you see yourself becoming a financial analyst, corporate controller, CFO, or another management accounting role, the CMA is right for you.
To get yourself familiar with the type of skills needed to be a CMA, here is a full list of skills tested on the CMA exam:
CMA Exam Part 2 Skills:
Visit our CMA Salary page for more information on CMA Salaries.
Career Networking: IMA Regional Councils & Chapters
The CMA certification extends well beyond the three letters after your name. As part of your IMA membership, you have access to some 300 IMA chapters worldwide that provide a forum for networking and professional education. You can earn NASBA-approved CPE credits, as well as gain access to new leadership opportunities.
Find a chapter near you:
Interested in learning more about becoming a CMA?