Are you eligible?

To be eligible for CMA certification, a candidate must meet certain requirements: education, work experience, membership, and examination.

  • Education
  • Work Experience
  • Ethics
  • Examination


A Bachelor’s or advanced degree, from an accredited college or university is required. If your school is not accredited, an independent agency must evaluate your degree. Fully qualified ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) members automatically meet the CMA Bachelor’s degree educational requirement.

Work Experience

The IMA requires that a CMA candidate complete two continuous years of professional experience in management accounting and/or financial management. This requirement must be satisfied within seven years of passing the examination.


An applicant must comply with the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice.


A candidate can sit for the exam prior to satisfying the experience, education, or professional conduct requirements; however, certification is not provided until all program requirements are met.

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." — Benjamin Franklin

About the CMA Exam

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) examination is a two-part exam, each with 100 multiple-choice questions and two 30-minute essay questions. Candidates for the CMA designation are required to take and pass Parts 1 and 2 before becoming a CMA.

Part 1

Financial Planning, Performance, and Control


4 hours

Question Count on the Exam

100 Multiple Choice Questions

2 Essay Questions

View exam topics

Main Topics

  • External Financial Reporting Decisions 15%
  • Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting 30%
  • Performance Management 20%
  • Cost Management 20%
  • Internal Controls 15%

View exam information

Part 2

Financial Decision Making


4 hours

Question Count on the Exam

100 Multiple Choice Questions

2 Essay Questions

View exam topics

Main Topics

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

View exam information

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the sanctioning body for the CMA designation?

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)

When can I take the CMA exam?

You can take the exam during the one of the following three testing windows:

  • January / February
  • May / June
  • September / October
Where can I take the CMA exam?

Exams are administered through the worldwide network of Prometric Testing Centers and are available in accordance with local customs. There are many locations throughout the U.S. and internationally. Locate a testing center.

How do I register to take the CMA exam?

You first need to enroll in the CMA program by paying the CMA entrance fee for a specific testing window. You can do this on the IMA website. You must sit for the exam in the window you specify when you pay your fee.

Can I retake the CMA exam?

You can only take each exam once in a testing window. If you fail a part, you must wait until the next testing window. You cannot take an exam part more than three times in a 12-month period.

Do I need to take the CMA exams all at once?

No. You may schedule each exam part separately, and in the order of your preference.

How long do I have to pass both CMA exams to become a CMA?

You have three years to pass both parts of the exam, beginning with the date you enter into the CMA program. If you don't pass both within three years, credit for the part passed will expire, and you will have to retake the exam.

How much time should I expect to study for the CMA exam?

Depending on experience, you should expect to invest between 120-160 hours of total study time.

What is a passing CMA exam score?

Each exam is graded on a 500 point scale, and a candidate must achieve a score of 360 or more in order to pass.

Will my CMA exam have essay questions?

Both exam parts have 100 multiple choice questions, followed by two 30-minute essay questions. You must answer at least 50% of the multiple choice questions correctly within a 3-hour period in order to move on to essay questions. Once you complete the multiple choice section you cannot go back.

What is the CMA exam pass rate?

Less than half of all CMA candidates pass the exam.

What fees should I expect for the CMA exam?

The IMA has a certification entrance fee, and an Exam fee for each part. The amount of each fee depends on your membership type—Professional, Student, or Academic. For professional members, the Entrance Fee is $240, and the Exam Fee is $395 per part.

When do I receive my CMA exam score?

Approximately six weeks from the end of your exam month.

What qualifies as work experience for the CMA exam?

Experience in positions that require regular judgments employing the principles of management accounting and financial management. Some examples include preparation of financial statements, financial planning & analysis, auditing, budget preparation & reporting, forecasting, company investment decision making, costing analysis, and risk evaluation.