How to Become a CMA: 10 Steps to Getting Certified

How to Become a CMA 10 Steps to Getting Certified

A lot of people ask me about how to become a CMA.

There is a common misconception that becoming a Certified Management Accountant is incredibly difficult. Some even wonder if it’s worth it at all.

The truth is, CMAs are in high demand and low supply right now. And the good news is, becoming one is absolutely attainable. By following my plan below you can apply for your CMA Certification in as little as 8 months!

But before I share my step-by-step plan, let’s talk about why you should become a CMA in the first place.

Why Become a CMA in the First Place?

why become a cma

Becoming a CMA was a game changer for me. It allowed me to travel the world and work remotely, allowing me freedom in my personal and professional life.

What is CMA (Certified Management Accountant)? It’s a sub-discipline of accounting that focuses on strategic considerations and management.

And it can be a lucrative option for accounting professionals who want to further their careers and increase their income.

Here are some amazing reasons to consider getting a CMA certification.

In High Demand

CMAs are in high demand and relatively low supply, so now is the perfect time to add this designation to your resume. Now is a better time than ever to enter CMA careers.

Well Known Internationally

The CMA designation is well known around the world, so if you’re looking for global recognition, this could be right for you.

While you might assume that the majority of CMAs are located in the United States, we actually represent a mere fraction of those certified globally. The CMA has grown immensely over the years, especially in China and the Middle East.

Higher Earning Potential

According to the 2019 IMA Global Salary Survey, the average CMA salary reported across all regions was $54,401 base salary and $64,451 total compensation.
In the United States specifically, the overall median base salary is $94,000, and the overall median total compensation is $102,000.

table of cma salary and compensation by region

Pretty impressive when you consider that a Certified Management Accountant salary is 31% more in median salary than their non-CMA counterparts.

CMA Certification vs Others

cma exam vs cgma

Earning your CMA certification requires a lot of consideration, especially since it’s not the only management accounting option.

The Chartered Global Management Accountant certification (GCMA) is a direct competitor of the CMA. The CGMA was created in early 2012 and is the brainchild of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), so you can earn this designation through either entity.

Both the CMA and CGMA are relatively new designations in the world of accounting. While the CPA has been around since the late 1800s, the CMA was established in 1972. It’s goal was to provide individuals with more in depth knowledge and understanding of financial planning and analysis.

CMA certified professionals are greatly valued in large multinational corporations, but can work in private or public sectors of any size. Their expertise can open doors to many amazing opportunities.

On the other hand, the goal of the CGMA is to build upon the global reach of management accounting. But what exactly makes them different?

Requirements and Eligibility

We will touch-base on exactly how to become a CMA below, but essentially you must earn a bachelor’s degree, join the IMA and fulfill their 2-year consecutive work employment requirement. Of course you are also required to pass the CMA exam.

On the other hand, to join the CGMA you must go through the AICPA or CIMA.

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) pathway is similar to the CMA insofar as candidates must fulfill 3 years of management accounting work experience, be a CIMA member and pass 12 individual CIMA exams.

The American Institute of Chartered Public Accountants (AICPA) route is a much longer process because you must be a member as well as be an active CPA. This means you must have passed all 4 parts of the CPA exam and earned that certificate prior to acquiring 3 years of management accounting work experience and then passing the CGMA exam.

This route is ideal if you already have your CPA certificate and want to add the CMA designation to your resume as well.

CMA Exam vs CGMA Exam

It appears that the depth of material covered in the CMA exam is far greater than that of the CGMA, but below is a quick comparison of the exam essentials:

Format2 Parts - MCQ and Essay1 Part - Case Study
Duration4 hours - 3 hours for 100 Multiple Choice Questions and 1 hour for 2 essay questions3 hours - 3 x 60-minute sections
Testing WindowsJanuary, February, May, June, September, OctoberFebruary, May, August, November
Exam Cost$415 per part plus a one-time entrance fee that ranges from $188-225$325
Review Course Cost$1,000 - $2,400 depending on provider$4,395 and provided directly by CGMA
Material CoveredPart One - Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics:
cost management, internal controls, technology and analytics, external financial reporting decisions, planning, budgeting, and forecasting, performance management

Part Two - Strategic Financial Management:
risk management, investment decisions, professional ethics, financial statement analysis, corporate finance, decision analysis
Operational Level:
data analytics, budgeting, regulatory framework, cost accounting, finance technologies

Management Level:
cost management, financial statement analysis, leadership and management
business models, organizational performance

Strategic Level:
financial objectives, risk oversight, internal controls, strategy formulation and execution, regulatory compliance
Designation Maintenance30 hours CPE per year + IMA membership fee ($39 - $245)Membership fee of $395 + annual dues to AICPA (for CPAs)

Which Designation Do Employers Want?

Which Designation do Employers Want

Employers nowadays are looking more and more for the unique skill-set that management accountants possess, and the desire for them is not just located in the United States. The CMA designation, in particular, has grown widely across the globe, especially in the Middle East and China.

With less than a decade of experience, the CGMA designation does not appear to be firmly established just yet. That’s not to say that it will not grow in popularity once the certification has had a few more years to establish itself in terms of reputation and execution of knowledge, but for now the CMA is much more widely accepted.

How to Become a CMA in Just Over 8 Months

how to become a cma in just over 8 months

For all you readers wondering how to become a CMA as quickly as possible, this one’s for you. Having a tight schedule of tasks is a necessity if you want to become CMA in under a year. But it is absolutely doable if you prepare carefully and follow these 10 steps:

1. Meet the CMA Education Requirements

Educational requirements to become a CMA

In order to become a CMA you must earn a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited university or college. You can also do so by getting a professional certification. CMA candidates often come from varying backgrounds, but the most common degrees include accounting, finance, economics, and general business.

Did you know that you can take the CMA exam before you even earn your degree?

That’s right. Even though one of the requirements for how to become a CMA includes earning your degree, you can get the exam out of the way first. Most candidates, however, choose to earn their degree or professional certification first, but the choice is yours.

2. Pay for an IMA Membership

Pay for an IMA Membership

In order to be eligible for the CMA certification, you must be an active member of the Institute of Management Accountants, or IMA.

Wondering how to join IMA?

It’s easy!

Start by choosing the IMA membership best suited for you. Here are your options:

IMA Professional Members

IMA Professional Members

The fee to become a professional member is $245 first year, then $230 annually. This membership is geared towards individuals who already have a career in accounting or finance. Think business accountants or financial managers.

The IMA benefits are available worldwide. With a professional membership you can take advantage of the IMA’s cutting-edge resources. Use these resources to further expand and hone your knowledge and skills in all areas of management accounting.

IMA Student Members

IMA Student Members

If you are a current student at an accredited college or university, then this membership is for you. It is perfect for individuals looking to kick-start their career in accounting or financial management.

Students have the option of choosing a One- or Two-Year membership. With a nice, low fee of only $39 per year (or $78 for the two-year option), student members worldwide can gain access to all of the IMA resources. Delve into the world of management accounting and discover potential career options while you’re studying at college.

IMA Academic Members

IMA Academic Members

Created for full-time faculty members of accredited institutions, this membership is $135 first year, then $120 annually.

Members have access to benefits worldwide. In addition to this, academic members also have access to the IMA’s ethics curriculum, webinars, case studies, mentor program, research grants, and various other teaching resources.

Staff Enrollment Discount Program

Staff Enrollment Discount Program

The IMA offers a discount on the annual fee when your organization signs up 5 or more staff members. This discount program offers a 15% discount on IMA membership rates.

Similar to the other options, members have full access to all IMA amenities, including CMA certification, continuing education, networking and more.

This discount is run under one company organizer name and paid as a lump sum each year. When adding new members to the program, fees are calculated on a pro-rated basis.

If a new employee has already paid their IMA membership for the year, no refund will be provided for unexpired months remaining in their current membership.

For full details on eligibility and pricing, click here.

3. Join the CMA Program

Join the CMA Program

One of the steps to become a CMA is paying a non-refundable entrance fee for your CMA certification program. This means you must pay this fee in order to even take your exam.

Pricing varies depending on your IMA membership. For example, the cost for professional members is $250, but for Student and Academic members, the fee is only $188.

Once you’ve paid this fee, you probably want to know how long does it take to get CMA certified?

The answer to this question varies. How long depends on what sort of CMA exam prep you take and how quickly you want to work through the material.

To be clear, you must complete the CMA program and pass both parts of the CMA exam within 3 years of entry. If you fail to do so, you will have to repay the entrance fee and retake any passed exams.

You must also register for one exam part — either CMA Part 1, or CMA Part 2 — within the first 12 months of entry or you’ll have to repay the entrance fee. There are several testing windows each year, so plan accordingly.

My advice to you is wait to join until you are 100% sure you are ready to take the exam!

4. Enroll in a CMA Review Course Program

Enroll in a CMA Review Course Program

While the CMA Entrance Fee includes 6 months of access to the CMA Support Package, the majority of candidates will not find this helpful enough. Instead, I highly recommend that you find the best CMA review course that will fit your needs and use it to prepare for the exam.

CMA Exam Academy is a cutting-edge CMA exam review program. It provides candidates with a complete step-by-step instructor-led format; it provides you with virtually everything you need to be 100% prepared for the exam.

If you’re new to CMA Exam Academy, let me break down what this program has to offer and why it’s a step above the competition.

One-on-One Expert CMA Coaching

There is no better way to prepare for the CMA exam than to learn from someone who has experienced it.

One-on-one coaching with a certified CMA like myself offers you unparalleled insight into the CMA exam.

One-on-one coaching gives you the opportunity to work directly with someone who has taken the exam. An experienced CMA understands what material is most important and can answer your most pressing questions.


Accountability Check-Ins and Assignment Tracking

One of the most common struggles I see candidates experience is a lack of self-motivation.

Sticking to a study schedule is demanding, which is why having someone to report to is a great way to stay on track. An accountability partner can motivate you to stay focused when you feel demoralized or tempted to procrastinate.

Textbooks and Test Banks

Textbooks are where you will learn most of your material, so choosing the right one is essential. Your CMA handbook should be up to date and easy to follow along.

Having access to an online test bank is also critical. Test banks contain thousands of practice questions giving you valuable insight into the exam design and question formatting.

Practice CMA certification tests help you discover your personal strengths and weaknesses, so you can tailor your studies to match your knowledge base.

Video Lectures

Though textbooks are a must, many individuals learn more easily through interactive methods.

Video lectures deliver subject material to you in a dynamic format that might better suit your personal learning style.

The advantage of video lectures is that you can see formulas and examples explained on the screen, which may help you retain the material better.

Audio Review

Many of the potential CMA candidates I speak with have one question in common:

“How can I study for the CMA exam online when I’m always on the go?”

The truth is, life is busy and many candidates are full-time workers and, sometimes, parents on top of that. Being able to listen to review material is a wonderful option. Whether you’re commuting to work or running around the house doing chores, just pop in a set of earbuds to consume material and learn as you go.

This is an incredibly convenient and beneficial option for those with an auditory learning style. Please note that if you are not a good multi-tasker, this may not be the best option for you.

Exam Formula Guides

The CMA exam has several key formulas, and you need to know them all. This is often one of the most challenging aspects of the exam.

Why? Because not knowing which formula to use to perform calculations could make you fail the exam.

Needless to say, having the formula guides for reference is a life-saver.

My Top CMA Review Course Comparison

There are several reputable CMA review courses available. Here is a quick side-by-side of my top picks:


Both Parts

Both Parts

Both Parts

Both Parts
Weekly support calls with your CMA Coach
Printed Textbooks
Free Shipping Worldwide
24 Hour Email Response Time
Online Test-Bank
Video and Audio Lectures
Course Type
Coaching/Weekly Guided
16-Week Study Program Per Part
Weekly Accountability Coaching
Formula Guides
Accounting 101 Crash Course
"Your Exam Day" Coaching & Prep
"Pass or 100% Refund"
"Partner Until You Pass"
(course access until you pass)
"Access Until You Pass"
"Pass or We Pay"
(covers exam fee for 2nd attempt)
CMA Exam Academy

To learn even more about these review courses, click here.

5. Begin Studying by Following a Proven Study Plan

follow a proven study plan

Everyone learns differently and each person’s schedule differs. Unsurprisingly, how long to study for CMA exam varies from person to person.

In my professional experience, I have found that a 16-week study plan is optimal to most candidates taking the exam in 2020.

The reasoning is simple:

Sixteen weeks of study for each part of the exam (16 weeks for Part One and an additional 16 weeks for Part Two) gives candidates ample time to learn everything they need to know for the exam. Furthermore, it’s long enough for you to consume all the material without forgetting key topics.

To put this in perspective, I spent approximately 6 months total studying for the exam, taking 3 months to study for each exam part, but the exam wasn’t as extensive as it is in 2020 and onwards. A 16-week study plan per part will set up candidates for exam success in 2020.

When I was preparing for the exam, I would head to Starbucks after work and put in 3 to 4 hours of studying each day. With small 10-minute breaks every hour, I was able to focus and optimize my study time.

On the weekends I put in several more study hours. On Saturdays I would study for 3 hours in the morning, followed by a well-deserved lunch break. After lunch, I would clock in 4 more hours. Following dinner, I would cap the night off with 3 hours of studying.

Same with my weekday studying, each hour of study was followed by a 10-minute break.

This may sound intense to some, but it worked for my lifestyle.

To reset and recharge I planned Sundays as my rest day. I used this time to rest and spend quality time with family and friends.

You’re probably wondering how I stuck to this schedule without losing my mind. Some days I definitely wondered that myself.
Some weeks were harder than others, but thanks to a lot of moral support from friends and family I was able to walk into the exam fully prepared.

It’s worth mentioning that the exam has changed and the percentage and depth of knowledge in the Content Specification Outlines has been revised. This is why I now recommend 16 weeks per part, rather than 12 weeks.

If you struggle with motivation and are a constant procrastinator then you may find it extremely beneficial to plan out your study time.

For example, make study appointments. Mark your calendar with how long to study for CMA exam that day and stick to it.
Remember to also plan study breaks. It’s incredibly important to make sure you spend some time relaxing so you don’t get burnt out.

Scheduling regular break times (like quick 10 minutes every hour) will ensure that you have enough time to rest and refresh without getting thrown off track.

Want even more study hacks? Check out the links below to help streamline your studying:

6. Register for a CMA Exam Part After Week 8 of Your Study Plan

Register for a CMA Exam Part

There is no better way to light a fire under your studying than to register for one part of the exam on an upcoming CMA exam date.

There are three exam windows you can register for each year:

  • January/February
  • May/June
  • September/October

Registrations close after the 15th of February, June, and October.

You may register on the IMA online store or by calling 800-638-4427 or (201) 573-9000.

After your registration is complete you will receive your authorization from ICMA. From there you can schedule your testing appointment at a Prometric Testing Center near you by logging onto

7. Take the CMA Exam

Take the CMA Exam

Now that you have studied for weeks and prepared to the best of your ability, it is time to take the CMA exam.

The CMA exam is a computer-based exam and as I mentioned before, consists of two parts. While you certainly have the option to take Part One and Part Two in the same exam window, I strongly recommend taking each part in separate windows. This will allow you ample time to study and focus on each part individually. Consequently, you will be more confident on exam day.

Each part of the CMA exam is 4 hours. The first 3 hours are dedicated to a multiple-choice section, while the final hour consists of an essay section with 2 essay questions.

Here is an in-depth breakdown of each part of the exam:

Part 1 – Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics

Duration: 4 hours

Format: 100 multiple-choice questions and two 30-minute essay scenarios

How is the CMA exam scored?

Key topics are marked differently depending on their category. Here is their breakdown:

  • Cost Management – 15%
  • Internal Controls – 15%
  • Technology and Analytics – 15%
  • External Financial Reporting Decisions – 15%
  • Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting – 20%
  • Performance Management – 20%

Part 2 – Strategic Financial Management

Duration: 4 hours

Format: 100 multiple-choice questions and two 30-minute essay scenarios

Breakdown of scoring:

  • Risk Management – 10%
  • Investment Decisions – 10%
  • Professional Ethics – 15%
  • Financial Statement Analysis – 20%
  • Corporate Finance – 20%
  • Decision Analysis – 25%

In order to move on to the essay portion of the exam, you must answer at least 50% of the multiple-choice questions correctly.
But keep in mind that in order to actually pass the exam, you’ll need a minimum score of 65% on the multiple-choice questions and a perfect score on the essay section, so definitely aim higher than that!

Once you have submitted your multiple-choice answers for scoring, you cannot go back.

If you do not answer 50% correctly, you automatically fail the exam part and will need to retake that part of the exam. There is no discount for exam re-write meaning you will pay full CMA exam cost to retake that exam part.

The good news is, if you complete and pass the multiple-choice portion before the 3-hour limit, you can use the full remainder of your time to complete the essay portion. This means if you complete the multiple-choice section in 2 hours you now have 2 full hours to complete the essay section instead of just one hour.

A word to the wise – do not rush through the multiple-choice portion just so you have extra time for the essay. You don’t want to risk scoring less than 65%.

Think of any additional time as an added bonus IF you finished before the 3-hour limit.

8. Fulfill the Experience Qualification

Become a CMA - Fulfill the Experience Qualification

Another prerequisite for becoming a CMA is to complete two years of professional experience. The good news is you have quite a large window in which you can complete this qualification. You must complete your experience qualification either prior to or within 7 years of passing the CMA exam.

Why is this good news?

Because it means college students and professionals looking to make a move into the CMA field can still sit for the exam even if they don’t have 2 years of accounting experience yet. Not only does completing the CMA exam look great on your resume, but it’s a great way to get ahead of the game.

In order to fulfill the experience requirement, you’ll need two years experience in management accounting and/or financial management. You must hold a professional full-time position. Alternatively, you can work part-time at 20 hours per week for 4 consecutive years in the same field.

Qualifying experience may be anything from working as a staff accountant to a CFO in roles such as financial analyst, senior accountant, etc. While the ICMA prefers consecutive years of experience, each CMA membership is evaluated on a case-by-case basis so don’t let this hold you back.

If you are an academic and at least 60% of your courses are accounting and corporate financial management courses above the fundamental level, you meet the experience qualification.

9. Apply for your CMA Certificate

Apply for Your CMA Certificate

Once you complete both parts of the CMA exam and meet the education and work experience requirements, you may apply for your CMA certificate. Woohoo!

To do this, you send your application directly to the IMA. Instructions are available inside your personal IMA account.

10. Comply with Ethical Standard and CPE

Comply with Ethical Standard and CPE

In order to maintain your CMA membership, you must fulfill your Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirement.
Certified Management Accountants are required to complete 30 hours of CPE every year, with at least two of those hours in the area of ethics.

Be sure to keep all CPE certificates for at least two years since reported CPE hours are verified at random.

Weighing the Financial and Time Investment

Weighing the Financial and Time Investment

There are several factors that contribute to the cost of becoming a CMA – both financially and time-wise.

Financial Investment

The most basic costs for becoming a CMA include paying for both parts of the CMA exam, the exam entrance fee, and your IMA membership.

Each part of the exam costs $415 however they do offer discounts for students and academics. This does not apply to graduates though.

The one-time entrance fee is anywhere from $188 to $250 depending on your student or professional status.

Your IMA membership is an annual fee and can be as cheap as $39 for students to $135 and $245 for academics and professionals.

In addition to these basic costs, candidates will want to consider the cost of various CMA review courses to help them prepare for the exam. The cost of study materials can range anywhere from $699 to $1800 depending on the course you go with. (See my review course comparison chart above.) Not to mention the cost of earning your undergraduate degree.

Time Investment

In addition to the financial cost of getting your CMA certification, you may want to consider the actual time it will take to earn it.

As one of the CMA prerequisites is having an undergraduate degree, you are looking at a minimum of 3-4 years right off the bat.
Preparation for the exam itself often ranges from 8-12 months depending on your schedule flexibility and study plan.

Another prerequisite is 2 consecutive years of applicable work experience. While they do offer part-time work experience options, this would mean adding even more years. It is worth mentioning that this requirement may be completed prior to or within seven years of passing the examination so you have a little flexibility when it comes to this requirement.

All in all, becoming a CMA can take upwards of 5 years depending on your game plan.

So what now?

Look, I have just hammered a ton of information your way. Taking it all in can feel a bit overwhelming, but the decision to become a CMA should not be taken lightly.

There is no doubt in mind that if you choose to earn your CMA certification, you will crush the prerequisites and earn the highly coveted CMA certificate. I would love to be by your side to help you turn your dream into a reality.

For any and all questions regarding how to become a CMA and the CMA certification, feel free to drop me a line in the comment section below. I am here for you!

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73 Comments on “How to Become a CMA: 10 Steps to Getting Certified”

  1. Hi! I was just wondering if the CMA certification works in all states or if you have to transfer the certification like a CPA would have to?

    1. Hi Abby,

      Yes, this designation is recognized worldwide, regardless of where you take the CMA exam.


  2. Useful info, thanks
    2 Questions :
    1. Do we need to get prescrpts / or Scan
    Copy of degree will work
    2 Is Exam center is there in Mumbai India

    Pls advise


      1. Thanks Nathan
        Is prescrpts/ notarized copies required to
        Submit before appearing exams or after qualifying exam
        Is CMA India degree copy also needs to submit.I am qualified CMA India from ICWAI in year 2006
        Pls suggest

        Best Regards
        Deepak Gupta

        1. You can submit them to IMA either prior to the exam, or within 7 years after passing the exam.

  3. Hey, i have worked in CA Firm for 3 years as an accounts assistant, whether it is counted? I am from CA background and want to attempt both parts in JAN-FEB session? Can i start with?

    1. Hi Anchal,

      Regarding the experience requirement, it’s best to verify directly with the IMA if yours qualifies for the CMA certification.

      But the good news is that you can still take the exam and fulfill the experience requirement later on, if the IMA says that yours doesn’t qualify yet.

      I don’t usually recommend my students to take both exam parts within one exam window. The exams are hard, so it’s best to focus on one part at a time to increase your chances of passing in your first attempt.

      Let me know if you have any other questions, Anchal!


    1. Hi Kamal,

      For public accounting which is auditing and taxation, the CPA is the best route to take.


    1. Hi Keerthi,

      Good question!

      The expertise a CMA can bring to the table is in high demand worldwide. That’s why CMA holders have a 30% higher earning potential than their non-certified peers.

      So to answer your question – yes, you will absolutely have more job opportunities and an accelerated career growth once you earn your CMA certification.

      Let me know if you have any other questions, Keerthi.


  4. Hi, I have a four year of work experience, part time, in my dad’s sole proprietorship business, where my work position was to maintain general ledgers, financial statements, and making investment decisions for my dad’s business, my question here, is will my experience in a sole proprietorship business count for CMA certification when i complete the CMA exams, or i need to work in a accounting firm or a registered company?

    1. Hi Vishal, your work experience working at your dad’s business definitely qualifies. It doesn’t have to be from an Accounting firm or a major corporation. As long as your dad’s business is an active business and you’re performing accounting duties for it, then it’ll be accepted.

  5. Hey Nathan,

    I just found this article and it offered some really great insight. I am an upcoming junior and am trying to decide whether to get my CMA. I have an economics and business management background. Is it possible to get my CMA while still in college? For the work experience, does it need to be in accounting, or can it be in managerial consulting or investments/ finance? I am not a huge accounting person but I love the managerial and financial side of things. Thank you!

    1. Hi Keegan,

      I’m glad you found this article helpful! You’re asking a great question! It’s advantageous to pass the CMA exam while in college. That’ll put you ahead of most graduates since it takes about 8 months to study and take both exams. As for work experience, it doesn’t have to be in accounting. Financial management definitely meets the requirement. After all, Part 2 of the exam covers most topics in Finance. Lmk if you have other questions. Happy to help.

  6. Pingback: Become a CMA and Travel the World - CMA Exam Academy

  7. Hi Nathan,

    If I order the course material now, how fast do I get it during this lockdown period? I am in the Middle East.


    1. Hi Vineetha,

      I saw you’ve already enrolled. Welcome to the Academy! 🙂

      As I’ve mentioned in my email response to you, we are still able to ship internationally with no interruption during this pandemic, and the textbooks are being delivered within 10-12 business days.


  8. Hi there,
    I Have passed my bachelors in engineering and masters in business administration and finance as a major. I am from india.I am working in a bank for 6 years. Can I take this exam? What are the acceptability and chance of getting job in USA?

    1. Hi Vasim,

      Yes, you can!

      The CMA certification will definitely give you a competitive advantage when applying for jobs in the US. You can read more about how the CMA can benefit your career here.


  9. Hi Nathan,

    I am Namrata from India. I have completed my in 2018 and now I’m studying my MBA in Information technology. I’m in the “thinking stage to go for CAM or not”. I don’t have any experience with accounting but i have given CA exams in India, I’m IPCC group 1 clear but I left it because of the time and uncertainty of clearing the exam. I really want a prefix to my name but I’m unable to decide when i look at the past. It took me 2.5 years just to clear my group 1 after being isolated from the world, it was only studies for 2.5 years. I didn’t get the feeling of acheivement and instead got depressed.
    Please guide me to what to do?

    1. Hi Namrata,

      Studying for the CMA certification does take a lot of time and dedication, but your efforts will pay off. I have a YouTube video on why the CMA certification is worth it, you can watch it here if you’d like.

      If you enroll in a coaching course like this one you’ll need to study for only 15 hrs/week for a period of 4 months to prepare for your first exam part, and 4 more months to prepare for the other part, and then you’ll reap the rewards for the rest of your life 🙂

      If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to hit Reply and I’ll gladly clear them up for you!


  10. Pingback: Is the CMA Certification Worth It? - CMA Exam Academy

  11. Hi Nathan,

    I am currently in sophomore in university and have no background of accounting. Do you think if I should start taking your course now or wait until I finish junior? Do you think it will be too hard for me if I have no background in accounting?

    Best regard

    1. Hi Suong,

      I’d recommend starting now for two main reasons:

      1. As a student, you’ll benefit from a significant discount on the IMA and CMA exam fees.

      2. Having the experience of taking and passing the CMA exam will give you a competitive advantage over your non-certified peers, and will help you fast-track your career right off the bat.

      At the CMA Exam Academy we offer unlimited coaching support for you to ask as many questions as you need to truly grasp the material and not waste time figuring it on your own.

      We’ve had students with no previous accounting background who successfully completed our program and passed the exam, and I’m sure you will too! 🙂

      If you have any other questions, please let me know!

  12. Hi Nathan,

    I’m an accountant with only 2 years experience and earned an MBA from an accredited college . Do I meet all the requirements to register for the CMA certification?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Yvonne,

      You definitely meet the education requirement. As for the work experience requirement, it’s best to check directly with the IMA for they have the last say in that.

      Thank you,

  13. Hello Nathan, Question from Calgary – Alberta – Canada:
    What do I need to do to get a CMA Certification being a Bachellor in Accounting graduated from The University of Calgary this year 2019? What steps to follow?

    1. Hi Ed,

      You meet the education requirement, so that’s great. There’s an experience requirement (step 8 of this article), but you can fulfill it within 7 years after passing the CMA exam.

      The first step in your CMA journey is to enroll in a coaching course to help you prepare for the exam. Within this course you’ll be guided on all your next steps (what and how long to study, when to pay the membership fee, when to register for the exam etc.).

      If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

  14. Hi Nathan,

    I am working as a SAP FICO consultant from last 3 years, is this experience can consider as professional experience ?.

  15. Hi, I am looking to study CMA in the USA through a real classroom by a centre. I am wondering if you can advise me of some names so I can register and follow them.

  16. Hi,
    I’m planing to take CMA, originally COA, but I found CMA maybe better for me. If I want to take the part 1 exam on September/ October this year, will it be enough time? I have a bachelor degree in accounting

    1. Hello.
      I am a Business Management grad from a non-accredited school. I am somehow confused with the needed evaluation of my educational attainment from agencies before I am qualified to take the exams. Can you please elaborate it or render other possible options for me?

      1. Hi Hilda,

        You can definitely take the exam first, and submit the education and experience qualifications to IMA within 7 years of passing the exam.

        If your degree is from a non-accredited school, I suggest you to reach out directly to IMA and they’ll provide you with a list of steps you need to take for them to approve your education qualifications.

        If you have any other questions, please let me know.

        Thank you,

  17. Hi Nathan,

    I have 7+ years of Accounting related experience. Earned my MBA in 2017. I would like to take the exam in September/October 2019. Will it be feasible if I sign up for your course within the next week or two?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Albeena, Yes absolutely. If you enroll sometime in June, you’ll have enough time to complete the course and take your exam before the end of the last exam window. Thanks, Nathan

  18. Hi Nathan,
    My plan is to purchase your study materials for part 1 in July with a goal of stitting for the Jan 2020 exam. What advice can you share with regards to upcoming exam changes and how your course will be able to incorporate coverage of new materials? I read in the comments above, new materials will be available in September. What would I need to do specifically when purchasing part 1 mid summer, if there are changes to part 1?

    1. Hi Tan, I look forward to helping you pass the CMA exam in 2020. If you enroll in mid-summer, we’ll put you on the waitlist and ship your textbooks as soon as they become available in early September, if not sooner. We’ll email you prior to shipping them out to discuss your start date. Thanks, Nathan

  19. Hi Nathan, Would you recommend the CMA for a 60 year old? I entered the workforce as an Accountant full time about 14 years ago. I was a stay at home Mom working 13 years preparing Income Taxes. My concern is the two requirement to become certified.

    Is the CMA a viable option for me?

    1. Hi Reneta, Which two requirements are you concerned about? More than looking at age, look at the number of years you plan to stay in the workforce. Passing the CMA exam takes about 6 to 9 months. Assuming all other requirements are already met, how many more years do you plan to work?

  20. Hi Nathan, I’m thinking to start my self-study on both part 1 and part 2 in this year but go for the exam of both parts in Jan/Feb 2020. Is your existing course material already covered the new exam contents set in by IMA? Regards, Anna.

    1. Hi Anna,

      Our material is still for the 2019 exam. We’ll be releasing the 2020 material early September. My advice is to take one exam per window. The exams are very hard and attempting both in the same window will diminish your chances of passing one or both. You still have time to take one exam in Sept/Oct, and the second exam in Jan/Feb. You’d be done with both parts by your target exam window but tackling one exam at a time. Nathan

  21. Hello Nathan!

    I’m currently a final year B.Com (Management) student. I have very little experience with accounting and no work experience in that field as well. Will pursuing CMA be extremely hard as a student as opposed to being a working professional?

    1. Hi Afreen,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      With no accounting experience or degree, pursuing the CMA will be more challenging but not impossible.

      The IMA allows anyone with a Bachelor’s degree in any field to pursue the CMA because they understand that the CMA is a great way to transition into the accounting field from other professions.

      It won’t be easy but it’s possible.

  22. Pingback: CMA Exam Changes in 2020 - CMA Exam Academy

  23. Hi Nathan,

    With the exam changes coming in 2020 what do you suggest as far as studying for the correct material? I am just at the “thinking about going for it” stage right now but am concerned that if I purchase the study materials and then can’t take the exams until 2020 I won’t be prepared for the new exams.



    1. Hi Ruth,

      If you purchase a review course that provides free updates to the material I think you’ll be in good shape. At CMA Exam Academy, we do that in case you’re interested in our courses 🙂

    1. Hi Ahmad,

      Professionals who want to transition into Management Accounting may find the exam content matter more challenging but not impossible to learn. It’ll just take a little more time compared to someone who already works in Accounting.

  24. Hello, I’m looking into starting the University of Phoenix MBA concentration in accounting program. Will this online program satisfy the education requirement? I have a BA in political science.

  25. what if you are a little late with your CPE? I have taken 2 courses, one 16 hours mammoth GAAP course and one 14 hour mammoth Excel course, and I’m only about 70% through each (by the way, I’ve spent at least 25 hours on this 500 page GAAP monster).

    Will you go inactive a year or just have to do 60 hours the late year?

    1. Hi David, the IMA runs random audits of CPE hours. If you’re running a tad behind by the end of a year, my suggestion is to catch up as quickly as possible the following year. You may go inactive if the IMA audits your CPE units and there aren’t enough.

  26. Pingback: CMA Exam Release Dates for 2018 - Here's the Scoop - CMA Exam Academy

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  28. Hello Mr. Nathan Liao,

    Is IMA offering CMA degree without appearing exams, like through grandparenting or based on work experience?

    Many Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi Binod,

      Unfortunately, the IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) will not grant the CMA certification based on grandparenting or work experience alone.


      1. Hi Nathan,

        I have a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from an accredited university in Asia. Is it necessary to have a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting/ Finance to appear for this exam or do I meet the educational requirements.

        1. Hi Shilpa,

          To meet the education requirements, any Bachelor’s degree will do 🙂

          Your degree doesn’t have to be in Accounting or Finance.

          If you have any other questions, please let me know!

          Thank you,

  29. Pingback: Certified Management Accountant Certification - CMA Exam Academy

  30. Hello Nathan,
    I had completed my Level 1 exam for CMA in May 2016,but then i could not continue my studies and did not complete my Level2,
    Is it still possible to sit for level 2 exams or should I start all over again?

    1. Hi Joe,

      “Candidates must complete the CMA program within three years from the date of entry into the program. If both exam parts are not successfully completed within three years of entering the certification program, any passed part will expire and the CMA entrance fee will have to be repaid.” – CMA Handbook 2017 –


  31. What if I don’t have a college degree or professional certification and just the experience. Can I still take the exam?

    1. Hi Elena,

      You can still take the CMA exam but in order to be a CMA, you need to comply with the education requirement within 7 years from the date of passing the exam. I would suggest that you start a Bachelor’s degree before taking the exam and register as a student member for the CMA exam to get a student discount for both the IMA membership, CMA entrance, and exam fee.


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  33. Hi, how many hours did you put in the part1? 3 months totalling 3-4 hours daily (20 hours)+10 hours saturday?30 hours for 12 weeks?360 hours?)

    1. Hi Sheva,

      That’s correct. I was self-studying so had to figure out how and what to study. Fortunately my students don’t have to spend that much time because the Academy was created as a step-by-step course slashing study time in half of what I spent.

  34. Hi! Could you please elaborate item 8? What if i work as an accounting staff only, am i still qualified to take the exam? Thanks!

    1. Hi,

      Yes, you are still qualified provided that you either have a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited university or college, or a professional certification.


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