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Demystifying the CMA Eligibility Requirements and Qualification

Becoming a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a prestigious milestone for professionals aiming to advance their career in management accounting and financial management. The CMA certification, offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), serves as a benchmark for expertise in financial planning, analysis, control, decision support, and professional ethics. But what does it take to become a CMA? In this article, we will demystify the CMA eligibility requirements and qualifications, providing you with a clear understanding of the prerequisites for this renowned certification. 

Active Membership with the IMA

An essential prerequisite for obtaining the CMA certification is to become a member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). To become an active member, you need to sign up for their membership on IMA’s official website. You can choose your membership from various types ranging from students and academics to working professionals and employers. Maintaining an active IMA membership throughout the certification process is mandatory. 

Membership with the IMA provides you with a myriad of benefits, including access to a vast network of professionals, resources for exam preparation, continuing education opportunities, and industry insights. 

Educational Requirements for the CMA

Aspiring CMAs must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While the IMA doesn’t confine this requirement to accounting or finance degrees, it’s more favourable in terms of the CMA syllabus if the candidate’s education background aligns with accounting or related fields. You can check the list of accredited institutions (US and international) on this website:

If you do not hold a bachelor’s degree, you are eligible for CMA exams provided that you have a qualifying professional certificate approved by the IMA. 

If you are a student intending to take the CMA exam, you must be enrolled for a minimum of 6 credits per semester throughout the academic year. After successfully passing the CMA exam, it’s necessary to send verification (transcripts) of your degree to the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA) within a 7-year period.

Professional Experience Requirements for the CMA

Candidates aiming for the CMA certification must have a minimum of continuous two years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management. This does not include part-time work or internships. The CMA handbook mentions that your work experience should encompass tasks related to financial planning and analysis, costing analysis, budgeting, handling financial statements, risk evaluation, or strategic financial management. Note that candidates can fulfil this requirement either before or within 7 years of successfully passing the CMA examination.

CMA Examination

Attaining the CM credential offers professionals numerous advantages, such as career advancement, increased earning potential, and global opportunities. Holding the CMA designation signifies a commitment to excellence in financial management, unlocking diverse career opportunities across industries worldwide.

Are you ready to embark on the path to becoming a Certified Management Accountant? Ensure you meet the CMA eligibility requirements, including the IMA membership, to propel your career in management accounting. For more insights on eligibility requirements, visit the official IMA website.


Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification, which serves as an advanced professional accreditation demonstrating mastery in critical accounting and financial management subjects.

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