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CMA Salary Quick Facts

  • CMAs benefit from better job opportunities, increased earning potential, and global appeal
  • Globally, CMAs earn 58% more in total compensation than non-CMAs
  • CMAs in the Americas earn 25% more in total compensation than non-CMAs
  • CMAs are 72% more likely to be CFOs than non-CMAs
  • CMAs in lower management earn 90% more in median salary then non-CMAs
  • 79% of CMAs agree that career advancement is a benefit of earning the CMA designation
  • Dual CMA and CPA holders earn 149% more in median total compensation than those with neither certification

How Does a CMA Serve the Accounting Industry?

Certified Management Accountants are the strategic thinkers of the accounting industry. They use their specialized understanding of financial accounting and strategic business management to explain the financial implications of different business decisions or investments and also help manage risk.

CMAs’ advanced education helps them contribute to businesses in the following areas:

  • Performance management
  • Cost management
  • Risk management
  • Financial analysis
  • Decision-making support
  • And more

Positions Held by CMAs

Certified Management Accountants enjoy increased career mobility and have skills that are relevant to many industries and at different levels of business.

Career paths for CMAs (from entry-level to advanced leadership) include:

  • Managerial Accountant
  • Financial Analyst
  • Financial Planner
  • Private Accountant
  • Cost Accountant
  • Financial Risk Manager
  • Corporate Controller
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Having a CMA certification increases your chances of moving up in a company. When compared to their non-CMA counterparts,

  • CMAs are 73% more likely to be directors;
  • CMAs are 72% more likely to be CFOs; and
  • CMAs are 66% more likely to be finance managers.

Plus, 79% of CMAs agree that career advancement is a benefit of earning the CMA designation.

CMA Salary vs. the Non-CMA Salary

Certified Management Accountants are highly coveted for their unique skills. Because of this, they earn more than their non-credentialed peers.

In the Americas, CMAs earn 25% more in total compensation than non-CMAs ($124,000 median total compensation vs. $110,000). And the CMA holds great power to increase earning potential worldwide.

Globally, CMAs earn 58% more in total compensation than non-CMAs.

cma median salary

Source: Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) 2021 Global Salary Survey

CMAs enjoy these higher salaries no matter their level in a company. In fact, CMAs in lower management earn 90% more in median base salary than non-CMAs in a similar position.

CMA Certification Salary vs. CPA Certification Salary

In the U.S., professionals who are CMA (Certified Management Accountant) or CPA (Certified Public Accountant) certified earn more than those who hold neither certification. And holding both certifications increases earning potential even more.

When compared to those without the CMA or the CPA certification,

  • CMA holders earn 59% more in median total compensation;
  • CPA holders earn 106% more in median total compensation; and
  • Dual CMA and CPA holders earn 149% more in median total compensation.

The chart below shows that these earning trends stay fairly consistent across age groups, with those ages 20 – 29 highly incentivized to earn both designations as it stands to increase their median total earnings by 218% compared to those with neither certification.

Source: IMA 2021 Global Salary Survey

To learn more about the differences between the CMA and CPA certifications, visit our CMA vs. CPA resource page.

CMA Salary by Region

Salaries for Certified Management Accountants vary by local and global region, but CMAs always earn more than non-CMAs. And as mentioned earlier, CMAs around the globe earn 58% more in total compensation than non-CMAs.

 

RegionBase Salary ($)Total Compensation ($)
Americas110,000124,000
Asia/Pacific25,90231,000
Europe**
Middle East/Africa/India31,60036,000
All Countries70,00079,000
*Too few respondents for comparison.

Source: IMA 2021 Global Salary Survey

 

 

U.S. Median Compensation by Region

RegionTotal Compensation ($)
Mid-Atlantic Region$127,000
Midwest Region$119,800
Mountain Region$115,000
Northeast Region$120,000
Plains Region$109,000
South Region$110,000
West Coast Region$123,500

Source: IMA 2021 Global Certified Managerial Accountant Salary Survey

Increases to the CMA Salary

CMA (Certified Management Accountant) salaries continue to rise, and even during the COVID-19 pandemic, most CMAs reported their compensation either increasing or remaining the same.
More and more professionals are getting CMA certified every year, and it’s actually the fastest-growing global certification. The CMA is the “gold standard” of management accounting certifications, and international companies know the value of professionals with highly specified skills in financial accounting, strategic management, risk management, and decision-making.

How to Tell If Your CMA Salary Is a Competitive Offer

Your Certified Management Accountant salary will depend on a variety of factors, such as:

  • Position
  • Years of Experience
  • Education
  • Region

Knowing how each of these factors affects your earning potential will help you evaluate whether your CMA salary is competitive or not. So, let’s look at how these factors affect accounting professionals in the U.S.

Source: IMA 2021 Global Salary Survey

As you can see, there is still a pay gap in the U.S. where, on average, women make 84% of what men in similar positions make. But being armed with this information, and the Annual Salary Calculator below, you can make sure you are getting a fair offer regardless of gender, age, or region.

“Average” U.S. Salary Calculator

Use this easy chart to calculate what your salary might be.

Your Calculation
Average Base Salary Figure$63,835
Management Level
  • Top-Level Management – Add $64,786
  • Senior-Level Management – Add $56,064
  • Middle-Level Management – Add $22,587
  • Advanced Degree? Yes – Add $15,490
    CMA Designation? Yes – Add $13,151
    CPA Designation? Yes – Add $16,990
    Estimated Salary Level

    Source: IMA 2021 Global Salary Survey

    How to Become a CMA

    Becoming a CMA requires obtaining a minimum level of education and work experience and passing the CMA exam. These requirements are known as the 3 E’s (and we’ve added a fourth E).

    1. Education – earn a bachelor’s degree or related professional certification
    2. Experience – have at least 2 years of continuous work experience in management accounting or financial management
    3. Exam – pass both parts of the CMA exam
    4. Ethics – Adhere to the IMA’s Statement of Ethical Professional Practice

    CMAs must also complete 30 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) each year to maintain certification.

    The easiest way to complete the third E (passing the CMA exam), is to enlist the help of a results-driven CMA review course. Wiley CMA courses help you pass the exam the first time around with tools like a personalized exam plan, predictive scoring, and the help of expert instructors.

    CMA Salary – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Here are quick answers to some frequently asked questions about earning the CMA credential.

    • The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a business professional that has expertise in financial accounting and strategic management.
    • Both exams are challenging, but the CMA exam does have a slightly lower pass rate (about 45%) than the CPA exam (about 50%). The CMA exam is comprised of 8 hours of testing split between 2 exam sections. And the CPA exam is comprised of 16 hours of testing split between 4 exam sections.
    • The CMA is in-demand and generally has broader appeal if you’re looking to pursue a corporate accounting leadership position, but the CFA is still beneficial for those who want to pursue an advanced career in investment management.
    • The CMA exam has about a 45% pass rate and requires CMA candidates to display mastery in management accounting. Get more information about the CMA exam on Wiley’s CMA resources pages
    • A Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is an accounting professional with a global certification that endorses their expertise in financial accounting and strategic management. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an accounting professional with a U.S. license that authorizes them to conduct audit levels and sign tax and regulatory filings. CMAs typically work for private businesses and CPAs typically work in public accounting.
    • Dual certification can be greatly beneficial, especially for CPAs. Having dual certification differentiates you from your colleagues, allows you to better serve your clients and employer, and makes you eligible for an even higher salary (149% higher than the median income to be exact). Read more about the reasons to earn both your CPA and CMA.