Certified Management Accountant Requirements

Certified Management Accountant Requirements

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Last Updated on April 2, 2024 by Qusai Ahmad

Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a professional certification that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a mastery of management accounting skills and knowledge. The certification is awarded by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), a global association for management accountants. Obtaining a CMA certification is a rigorous process that requires meeting certain requirements. In this blog post, we will discuss the requirements for obtaining a CMA certification in detail.

CMA Certification Requirements at a Glance

Let’s dive deeper into the CMA certification requirements so you can start your journey toward becoming a Certified Management Accountant.

Education Requirements for CMA Certification

The first requirement for obtaining a CMA certification is education. To qualify for the certification, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Your degree can be in any field, but it is recommended that you have a degree in accounting, finance, economics, or business. If your degree is not in one of these fields, you will need to have completed a certain number of credits in accounting and finance.

You can also meet the education requirement by completing an IMA-approved program. The IMA has approved various bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in accounting, finance, and business. You can find the list of approved programs on the IMA website.

Understanding the CMA Practical Experience Requirement

For those aspiring to become a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), it’s essential to grasp the intricacies of the CMA practical experience requirement. This requirement ensures that CMAs have hands-on experience in management accounting, allowing them to apply their knowledge effectively in real-world scenarios.


The CMA practical experience requirement typically requires a minimum of two continuous years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management. This hands-on experience helps CMAs develop the necessary skills and expertise to excel in their roles.

Work Experience Requirements for CMA Certification

The second requirement for obtaining a CMA certification is work experience. You must have at least two years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management. This experience can be gained before or after completing the education requirement. However, if you complete the education requirement first, you will have seven years to gain the required work experience. You can gain this experience by working in areas such as financial planning and analysis, budgeting, forecasting, or internal auditing.

The work experience requirement is designed to ensure that CMAs have practical experience in management accounting and can apply the knowledge they have learned to real-world situations.

CMA Exam Requirements and Preparation

The third requirement for obtaining a CMA certification is passing the CMA exam. The CMA exam is a computer-based exam that consists of two parts, each with 100 multiple-choice questions and two essay questions. The exam is designed to test your knowledge and skills in management accounting and financial management.

Part one of the exam covers topics such as planning, budgeting, and forecasting; performance management; and cost management. Part two of the exam covers topics such as financial statement analysis, corporate finance, decision analysis, and risk management.

To prepare for the CMA exam, you can take advantage of the resources provided by the IMA, including study materials, practice exams, and online courses. It is also recommended that you join a study group or enroll in a review course to get additional support and guidance.

To pass the exam, you must score at least 360 out of 500 on each part. You must also pass both parts within three years of each other.

IMA Membership Requirements for CMA Certification

The fourth requirement for obtaining a CMA certification is becoming a member of the IMA. The IMA is the organization that awards the CMA certification, and membership is required to obtain the certification. Membership provides access to resources such as professional development opportunities, networking events, and industry publications.

To become a member of the IMA, you must pay an annual membership fee and agree to abide by the IMA’s Statement of Ethical Professional Practice.

Continuing Education Requirements for CMA Certification

The final requirement for obtaining a CMA certification is continuing education. Once you have obtained the certification, you must complete 30 hours of continuing education each year to maintain it. This education can be in the form of seminars, webinars, courses, or other professional development activities.

The purpose of continuing education is to ensure that CMAs remain current with the latest trends and developments in the field. It also helps CMAs maintain their skills and knowledge and stay competitive in the job market.

In conclusion, obtaining a CMA certification is a challenging but rewarding process. It requires a combination of education, work experience, passing the CMA exam, becoming a member of the IMA, and completing continuing education requirements.

A CMA certification can provide a competitive advantage in the job market, demonstrating to employers that you have the skills and knowledge required to succeed in management accounting and financial management. CMAs are in demand in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, technology, manufacturing, and financial services.

To summarize the key points of this blog post, the requirements for obtaining a CMA certification are:

  1. Education: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, or completion of an IMA-approved program.
  2. Work experience: At least two years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management.
  3. CMA exam: Passing the CMA exam, which consists of two parts.
  4. IMA membership: Becoming a member of the IMA and agreeing to abide by its Statement of Ethical Professional Practice.
  5. Continuing education: Completing 30 hours of continuing education each year to maintain the certification.

The benefits and advantages of the CMA certification:

  1. Competitive Advantage: The CMA certification is highly respected and recognized globally, providing individuals with a competitive advantage in the job market. According to the IMA, CMA holders earn on average 31% more in total compensation than non-CMA holders.
  2. Professional Growth: The CMA certification equips individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their careers. For example, the CMA curriculum covers topics such as financial planning, analysis, control, decision support, and professional ethics.
  3. Job Opportunities: Many companies, especially those in the finance and accounting fields, prefer or require candidates to have a CMA certification. According to the IMA, more than 50% of Fortune 500 companies employ CMA-certified professionals.
  4. Flexibility: CMA certification holders can work in a variety of roles, including management accounting, financial analysis, budgeting, forecasting, and strategic planning, among others. This flexibility allows individuals to pursue a range of career paths within the accounting and finance fields.
  5. Continuing Education: The CMA certification requires ongoing continuing education, which helps individuals stay up-to-date on industry trends, regulations, and best practices. This continuing education requirement ensures that CMA holders are equipped with the most relevant and current knowledge and skills.

If you’re interested in obtaining a CMA certification, it’s important to carefully review the requirements and prepare accordingly. The process can be time-consuming and challenging, but it can also be a valuable investment in your career. With the right preparation and dedication, you can obtain a CMA certification and take your career in management accounting and financial management to the next level.

According to a recent survey by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), professionals who hold the CMA certification earn on average 28% more in base salary and 50% more in total compensation compared to non-certified peers in the same position. Additionally, CMAs are more likely to be promoted to senior leadership roles within their organizations.

Useful External links:

Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) website

AccountingTools website

Investopedia article on CMA certification

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