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CMA Review Courses - Exam Information

Certification Programs

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA)  Program has been designed to recognize the unique qualifications and expertise of those professionals engaged in management accounting and financial management. This certification provides distinction in today's economic climate and affords the opportunity to certify your expertise in the business areas that are critical to the decision-making process.

Four Objectives of Certification Programs

  • To establish management accounting and financial management as recognized professions by identifying the role of the professional, the underlying body of knowledge, and a course of study by which such knowledge is acquired:
  • To encourage higher educational standards in the management accounting and financial management fields;
  • To establish an objective measure of an individual's knowledge and competence in the fields of management accounting and financial management fields;
  • To encourage continued professional development.


The Certified Management Accountant designation is granted only by the ICMA. Candidates must meet the following criteria to become a CMA:

  • File an Application for Admission with the ICMA and register for the CMA examination.
  • Be a member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).
  • Pay the entrance fee.
  • Pass both parts of the CMA examination.
  • Fulfill or expect to fulfill the educational requirements.
  • Be employed or expect to be employed in a position that satisfies the experience requirement.
  • Be of good moral character
  • Comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct.

Once the Certificate is earned, the CMA must meet the following to retain the Certificate:

  • Satisfy the continuing education requirement.
  • Comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct.
  • Maintain membership in the IMA.


To be a candidate for the CMA, an applicant must meet one of the following:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree, in any area, from an accredited college or university. Students attending accredited U.S. universities may apply and take the examination when they attain senior standing and will be permitted to seek certification upon receipt of their degree. Degrees from foreign institutions must be evaluated by an independent agency approved by the ICMA.

It should be noted that if you qualify for one IMA Certification Program, you do not need to reapply for admission. A completed Application for Admission must be filed by new applicants along with the appropriate fee.

Experience Requirement

Candidates for the CMA Certificate must complete two continuous years of professional experience in management accounting and/or financial management. This requirement may be completed prior to or within seven years of passing the examination. Teachers can meet this requirement if the majority of their course load is in accounting and corporate financial management courses above the principles level. Professional experience is expected to be gained in full-time employment. However, continuous part-time positions of 20 hours per week meeting the definition of qualified experience will count toward this requirement at a rate of one year of experience for every two years of part-time employment.

Qualifying experience consists of positions requiring judgments regularly made employing the principles of management accounting and financial management. Such employment includes financial analysis, budget preparation, management information systems analysis, financial management, management accounting, and auditing in government, finance or industry; management consulting; auditing in public accounting; research, teaching or consulting related to management accounting or financial management. Employment requiring the occasional application of management accounting principles such as in computer operations, sales and marketing, manufacturing, engineering, personnel, and general management will not satisfy this requirement. Similarly, internships and trainee, clerical, or non-technical positions do not provide appropriate experience to fulfill this requirement.

Examination Procedures

Candidates for CMA certification must complete two examination parts: CMA Parts 1 and 2. The CMA Examinations are given in a computer-based format. The examinations contain objective questions that consist of carefully constructed multiple-choice questions testing all levels of cognitive skills. There are also 2 essays per part that test your written communication skills and problem solving.  The exams are offered daily (except Sundays and holidays) at an extensive network of Prometric Testing Centers located throughout the U.S. and internationally. When you register with the ICMA, you will be assigned a testing window in which to schedule your examination with the test administration vendor.  Testing windows for CMA Parts 1 and 2 are as follows:  January and February, May and June, and September and October.

Candidates who have fulfilled the admission requirements should follow the procedures described below to register for an examination. Your registration should be filed approximately six weeks before you wish to take an examination as the 120-day authorization period begins shortly after your registration is recorded by ICMA.

  • File the CMA Examination Registration Form indicating the parts you wish to take and remit the appropriate examination fee
  • Receive an acknowledge from ICMA authorizing you to sit for the examination and providing detailed instructions for scheduling your examination
  • Arrange to take your examination within the 120-day time period stated in your acknowledgment letter by calling the national registry center identified in the instructions provided by ICMA. The registration center has provisions that allow you to cancel your scheduled examination by three business days (5 business days outside the U.S. and Canada) prior to your appointment if this becomes necessary; however, the examination must be taken with the 120-day time period. Failure to appear for a scheduled appointment will result in the loss of your examination fees.
  • For admission to the examination, you will be required to present two forms of identification, one with a photograph, both with your signature. Approved photo IDs are a passport, driver's license, military ID, credit card with photo, or company ID. Student IDs are not acceptable. You will not be permitted into the examination without proper identification.
  • Take the examination on the day scheduled by you and receive immediate pass/fail information on your performance.

Once authorization is received from ICMA, it is the responsibility of the candidate to schedule the examination within the stated time period and to appear at the test center when scheduled. The test registry has provisions that allow you to reschedule your examination up to 48 hours before your appointment if this becomes necessary; however, the examination must be taken within the 120-day time period. Failure to take the examination within the stated time period will result in the loss of your examination fees. There will be no refund of fees.

Examination retakes will be permitted but cannot exceed three times over a 12-month period. All exam retakes require a new registration along with payment of the appropriate fees.

The IMA has a CMA Handbook available on their web site that details all of the requirements for the CMA exam.  You can download the handbook at

Retaining Exam Credits

All CMA candidates have three years from the entry date into the program to complete the two parts of  the CMA exam. Candidates must also register for an exam part within the first 12 months of entering the program.  Continuous candidacy involves three criteria and is defined as:

  1. Maintaining membership in IMA, and
  2. Completing 30 hours of continuing professional education annually beginning with the calendar year after completion of the first examination part, and
  3. Taking at least one examination part every two years.

As long as a candidate fulfills these three requirements for continuous candidacy, credit for passed examination parts will be retained. Conversely, if any one of the above criteria is not maintained, credit for a passed part will be lost.

Calculator Policy

Small battery or solar powered electronic calculators restricted to a maximum of six functions - addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, square root, and percent - are allowed. The calculator must be non-programmable and must not use any type of tape. Memory must erase when the calculator is turned off. Candidates will not be allowed to use calculators that do not comply with these restrictions.

If you enroll in one of our classes, we will assist you in meeting all the above requirements. If you are a foreign student, we will assist in getting your college transcripts evaluated.

Last updated on 7/3/2018 10:12:59 AM