Is CMA Worth It for Your Career Growth? Prepare for Surprise

To become a CMA you must earn a bachelor’s degree, join the IMA and fulfill their 2-year consecutive work experience requirement, as well as pass the CMA exam. Work experience must be in a managerial role, but can be made up of public or private accounting, consulting, research or teaching. Many people weigh the relative benefits of CPA versus CMA when deciding which certification would benefit their career the most. It’s related to a CMA accounting certification but distinct from it. Second, you’ll have to keep paying that IMA membership fee every year.

  1. Cancelling allows test-takers to reschedule for a different date within the same testing window — this does not generate a refund or permit a test window change.
  2. For example, the highest median total compensation for a CMA is in the agriculture industry, where they earn a whopping $142,003.
  3. Those who earn CMAs hone a specialized financial accounting, management, and strategic planning skillset.
  4. In terms of material covered in the required exams, the breadth of management accounting topics covered in the CMA exam far outweigh those of the CGMA exam.
  5. Take the next steps towards a career in financial management and begin the steps necessary to enroll in the CMA program.

The heavy focus on planning, costing, and analysis makes the CMA qualification stand apart from other accounting certifications. These sophisticated costing methodologies are more commonly used and valued by manufacturing companies because they have products and inventories to manage. «I already had the work experience and had already passed the CPA exam, which gave me credit for one of the four parts,» she says. The exam had a four-part program when she earned her designation in 1996. There was a lot of emphasis on “future-proofing” one’s career even before the pandemic.

A Chief Financial Officer is one of the top positions you can rise to as a CMA in business. Becoming a CFO gets you a high-level executive role and the compensation to match. In this role, you will oversee other accountants and would most likely work for a large company or organization where there are multiple accountants employed. For starters, financial analysts can work in many industries, including a bank or an insurance company, or even a startup or global enterprise. This position requires you to be an expert in accounting with high-level communication skills.


This exam comes in two parts, and the breakdown shows the overall scope of the CMA well. If you aren’t sure, then the CMA certification may not be good for you, at least at this stage. There is very little use if you aspire to work in a public accounting firm, either as an auditor or in tax. Maybe all of this means the CMA sounds good, but that doesn’t guarantee it’s great for you.

When considering a career path, it is totally understandable to consider your earning potential. The exam is costly and there is only a 45% pass rate apparently. I feel most people view the CMA as “I was too lazy to get my CPA”. I only ask because I have no desire working in Public Accounting and couldn’t care less about Auditing and Tax.. I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.

Is CMA designation easier than CPA?

Clearly, becoming a CMA helps your career in many ways, and taking the CMA exam is an important step toward achieving that status. Consequently, choosing the right CMA exam prep is an important step toward passing the CMA exam. Gleim CMA prep has been preparing accountants for top management positions is cma worth it for over 35 years, and our course has trained more CMAs than any other. Our comprehensive content coverage and personalized exam support will give you the confidence to pass the CMA exam the first time. Check out our free CMA exam guide and find out how Gleim can help you get certified efficiently.

So once you earn the CMA, people will go to you for answers to big picture, business-related finance questions. When you’re the expert people turn to for advice, you can expect greater responsibility as well as more credibility and status. CMAs fill the consultant role perfectly and thereby distinguish themselves as an important facet of company operations. Surgent earned a place on our list because the average student completes the program in 46 hours.

This is interesting since those with a CPA tend to have higher average salaries, so it might be worth considering which test is right for you. The continuing education for CPAs is more demanding, but only by ten hours per year, or less than one hour of continuing education per month. You may spend additional money on test-prep materials, such as an online self-study course, textbooks, and access to an online test bank. Finally, some continuing professional education (CPE) materials and activities cost money, but there are also options to earn CPE credits for free. As a starting point, I recommend that people interested in earning the CMA look at the Content Specification Outlines. That will give them a good overview of the knowledge and cognitive skills that candidates should possess going into the CMA examination.

It’s Arguably the Most Global Management Accounting Certification

Pass the first time by studying with IMA Strategic Partner Wiley CMA. As of May 2020, less than half of those who took the CMA exam in 2020 passed. The IMA reported a worldwide pass rate of 45% for parts one and two of the over 5,000 people who took the English language CMA exam. For part one, this marked an increase from the previous average pass rate of 35%. Part two remained in line with its previous 45% average pass rate. CMA candidates with bachelor’s degrees should have their schools email official transcripts directly to IMA.

How much does CMA certification cost?

There’s a good chance your employer will be supportive of your goals, as the knowledge and skills you gain can create value for the business. If you are an accountant hoping to be highly involved in a business, getting your CMA is one of the most important things you can do to make that happen. In my opinion, the designation is created largely for CIMA and (especially) AICPA to promote their brands, add value to the membership and increase revenue stream. The fee is now $100 to 150 per year for AICPA members (more details below). For now, the CPE requirement for AICPA member and CGMA designation holders is the same.

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. The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) certifies people who pass the CMA exam. Accountants may get a CPA license before applying to executive positions, like chief financial officers. Professionals with an industry-recognized designation can expect starting salary offers to be higher than the market average.

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) is the global governing body for management accounting. They offer the Certified Management Accountant certification, which is a professional designation that is regarded as the «gold standard» of management accounting. Obtaining this designation proves that you have mastered skills and knowledge related to financial strategy, analytics and risk mitigation. Also, the CMA is a universal accreditation, so it is recognized globally without needing to re-test or re-certify in different jurisdictions. Job opportunities and career advancement are both in store for you if you pursue your CMA certification. As the demand for accountants continues to increase, the demand for management accountants increases right alongside it.

Start studying for the CMA exam with trustworthy materials from an IMA Strategic Partner. Proof of your education or certification must be submitted to the ICMA within seven years of completing your CMA exam. Candidates might also complete practice questions for the CMA exam. Candidates may cancel their Prometric exam appointment at least 72 hours before their scheduled test. Prometric charges a fee to those who cancel within 30 days of the scheduled appointment date.

It lets you specialize your accounting practice with an accurate perception of how accounting and business intersect. The experience required to become a CIMA is sufficient for the CGMA designation. Therefore, CIMA members are automatically entitled to become CGMA at no extra cost. In order to join IMA, you need to select a membership type and pay an annual membership fee. Depending on the membership type, you will need to pay a one-time processing fee of $15.

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