CMA Education Requirement: Determine Your School’s Eligibility

When compared to other accounting designations, the CMA exam requirements are quite clear and easy to fulfill.

In fact, this is probably the reason that so many people who write the exam fail to pass it on the first try.

But we’re not discussing low failing rates today. Instead I’m going to focus on how you can fulfill the education portion of your CMA exam requirements.

Are You Attending an Approved School?

The terms for your education requirement are quite broad. They state that you must obtain a Bachelor’s degree from a good standing University in your country. That’s pretty vague, so let’s break it down further.

If you are a US candidate and you are studying at an accredited educational institution, then you are good to go.

If you are a Non-US candidate then you must consult the IMA’s list of internationally accredited institutions. Simply select your country and school to see if it is acceptable.

Should your school not be listed for some reason, don’t worry. The IMA gives you the opportunity to get qualified by sending in an evaluation of your transcript. There are two agencies that do this, NACES or AICE. They will review your transcript then send their evaluation to IMA.

Sometimes schools refuse to provide you with an official transcript, but there is a workaround for that as well. All you need to do is get a photocopy of your transcript notarized. This must be mailed in, as emailed copies and faxes are not accepted.   

How Many Years is Your Degree Program?

The IMA is particular about the length of degree programs acceptable. Bachelor’s degrees must run a minimum of 3 years.

Some students graduate from 2-years programs, so if that was you, please check with the IMA directly, as sometimes they make exceptions.

What If You Don’t Have a Bachelor’s Degree?

In 2013 the IMA was planning on partnering with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) to waive the education requirement for those who were a full member of the ACCA, but decided to not move forward with it.

In lieu of that, candidate hopefuls who do not have a degree and are serious about writing the exam can write to the IMA requesting an exemption. You will need to explain your reasoning, experience, certifications and other credentials in order to prove your knowledge is equivalent to that of someone with a Bachelor’s degree.

Though there are certain exceptions for the CMA exam education requirements, you are still required to complete two consecutive years of financial or accounting based work experience. To learn more about the CMA exam experience requirements, read here.

Do you have any questions? Comment below and let me help you answer them.



9 Comments on “CMA Education Requirement: Determine Your School’s Eligibility”

  1. Hi Nathan,

    Very helpful article but quick question. What about those students who reside outside the US but went to an accredited university in the US?

    1. Hi Stacie,

      I’m glad you found the article helpful. I appreciate your feedback 🙂

      Where you reside is not something that is considered to get certified. You just need to make sure there’s a Prometric center near you to take the exams.

  2. DEAR NATHAN, I graduated with an economics degree from the University of Vermont in 2006. Please advise if this would be a problem to fulfill the education requirement to sit in the CMA exam as I graduated ten years ago.
    Than you,

    1. Hi Juan, as long as you have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, it doesn’t matter how long ago you got it.

      You are good to go 🙂

  3. I Graduated from faculty of commerce and i want to take the cma cource.please advise me Which places can i going to take the cma cource

    1. Hi Mohamed,

      If your school is not listed, are you comfortable self-studying or taking an instructor-led online course? Let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction.

  4. Hi nathan, very useful article, I have nearly 3-4 years experience as SAP Finance functional tester in reputed companies in india..WIll this experience qualify for CMA designation?

    Also in Part 1 when i was doing the internal auditing topic, there were substantial differences between the wiley material and the questions in the online question bank. Have they made any changes to the content? Please clarify…

  5. Hai Natan ,
    I don’t have a bechelore degree but i would like to do CMA , i will be joining a bachelore degree course at the same time. My question is : Is it possible for me to apply for CMA Exams and show my bachelore degree after compliting my dregree.

    1. Absolutely! You can submit your experience and education requirements within 7 years after passing the CMA exam.

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