Certified Management Accountant – USA vs Canada

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In North America there are two Certified Management Accountant designations; CMA USA and CMA Canada.

It is important to know the difference as it will impact your ability to obtain jobs internationally as well as in Canada. 

Certified Management Accountant Designation in the USA

In the United States of America, the CMA is a global designation offered by the IMA which stands for Institute of Management Accountants. Candidates must sign up to be an IMA member and pay a membership fee in order to register for the exam.   

CMA USA Requirements

The US CMA requires a bachelors degree and interestingly enough, they accept bachelor degrees from countries outside of the USA. 

The requirements to sit for the CMA are also very flexible. Candidates can write the exam before, during or after graduation, but must fulfill two years of work experience in order to receive the designation.    

Certified Management Accountant Designation in Canada

Each Canadian province has their own specific exam requirements when it comes to writing the CMA but generally they are all quite similar. Each province has a CMA board which lists the programs that have been approved. 

CMA Canada Requirements

In order to qualify to write the CMA Canada, candidates must have completed a university program that has been approved by the CMA  board. After completion of the university degree, candidates need to write a CMA entrance exam.

Only after completing and passing this, can they then undergo a two year CMA Strategic Leadership Program where they will perform case studies and ultimately present to the CMA board.   

CMA Exam Passing Rates

 The passing rates for these two exams are drastically different.

In Canada, 90% of candidates pass their CMA examination, whereas only 35% of candidates writing the US examination pass it. 

It may seem discouraging to look at these statistics, but there are several resources you can use that will play a pertinent role in your ability to succeed. 

In fact, it was because of these statistics that I created my flagship course, and put together this website of tools and tips that can help you better your chances.

Check out this email from Bob. It’s so rewarding to see how Bob studied hard, listened to my advice, and ultimate led him to becoming a Certified Management Accountant, on his first attempt! 














Final Thoughts

It’s important to keep in mind that these two CMA designations are very different. On one hand, you have the US CMA which has flexible prerequisites and exam requirements. 

On the other hand, the Canadian CMA is specifically designed for Canadians and is very restrictive in terms of prerequisites and exam requirements. 

I would recommend that if you do not live or plan to live in Canada and want to become a Certified Management Account, you look into getting your CMA designation from the IMA, which is globally recognized. 

Though the statistics are a little daunting, if you put in the time and effort you will gain a global designation, meaning it will be recognized all around the world versus just Canada. 

If you have questions about the CMA USA, drop a comment and I will reply back. Or you can also check out my CMA FAQ page for more information. 

Until next time,


Nathan Liao – CMA Coach

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79 Comments on “Certified Management Accountant – USA vs Canada”

  1. i want to study for cma canada but not sure if i can do that from my home country.
    i got Bcom Honour in ACCOUNTING, PLUS i am waiting for results for Msc Acc & Fin

    i am doing desertation beginning this january 2015. i am in zimbabwe

  2. Dear Sir

    Iam from Egypt with University Bachelor degree in Commerce from Egypt
    I just succeeded in passing American CMA from IMA
    But I will move to Canada this year
    And I discovered that CMA is not admiited within Canada
    I heard that Canada even will not admit with my university degree

    Could I even combine ((my bachelor university degree from Egypt + CMA from IMA)) to make it equivalent to Canadian university degree; to make it a starting point to take any other master or CPA or Canadian CMA…I mean could I email American CMA+my university degree through “wes.org/ca” to gain Canadian University degree

    Please really need an understanding thoughtful Coach like you to guide me on what to do


    1. Andrew,

      My advice would be to contact Canada’s CMA organization to get clarification on what you need. I’m not familiar with the requirements in that country and wouldn’t want to inavertedly misguide you.

  3. i hd completed ma graduation and now i wolud like to do CMA.. i am planning to move to canada next year. i would like to know if i study CMA US. is there any job oppurtunity in canada

  4. Sir

    I joined USA-CMA class going to start on 13/07/2015 In kerala. Can i geta job in europe countrys after completing CMA -USA. What are the eligibilitys that we need to get job there and could you give any tips for me learn.

    1. Antony, best wishes on the class you have started. The CMA will provide you with a competitive advantage over non-certified peers when applying for jobs in Europe.

  5. Hi I am Darshan from India I want to pursue US CMA I have completed my graduation in commerce. I want to know that after completing my CMA will I be able to get job in india as I don have the relevant management accounting experience right now. Also what are the chances that I can get a job in USA, do US people hire fresh CMA.

    1. Hi Darshan, the CMA designation provides professionals with an advantage over non-certified peers. I’m not familiar with the job market in India but I can tell you that I’m seeing a lot more people in India become CMAs. To me, that’s an indication of its growing importance in the profession.

    1. Aneesha,

      CMA-USA is recognized globally. Whereas India’s CMA is not. It really depends on your career goals and aspirations.

  6. Greetings!

    I am a resident of india and have 15 years work experience as financial controller and now am pursuing CMA US . Now I want to move to canada with my family. Just wanted to know the avenues for qualified CMA US in Canada.

    Warm regards

    1. Hi Chanchai,

      Thanks for reaching out. The CMA US is not widely recognized like the CPA Canada credential in that country. They have developed their own credential. However, the CMA body of knowledge will prove to potential employers that you have mastered Management Accounting and will sure help in employment opportunities.

  7. Hi Nathan,

    I’m currrently persuing my CMA USA. After completing this certification, will it help me to do MBA in Europe or USA?


    1. Hi Anurag,

      The CMA subject matter will help you in your MBA program in either Europe or USA. It doesn’t matter as the body of knowledge is applicable to business.

  8. Dear Nathan Liao
    I’m interested in CMA and have just bought Gleim preparation products. I hope we will receive our USA visa next year.
    I graduated in Accounting and these days, we’re trying to find information about different states and we focus on California and Texas. So, I have some questions:
    – Which state is better to find a job as a CMA (California or Texas)?
    – Which cities or areas are better to find a job?
    – As a newcomer, which kind of companies can I start to work in?
    – In your opinion which skills are preferential to have beyond having CMA certification?

    Thanks for your help and support

    1. Hi Atefeh,

      The CMA is a global designation so it’s hard for me to know which states have “better” jobs for CMAs. I would suggest contacting an employment agency who can help you land job interviews.

      My understanding is that Texas economy is booming due to so many companies moving there. They provide a very friendly business environment which means better job opportunities. Hope that helps.

  9. Hello Nathan,
    I have completed B Com in India in 2013 and I am working currently
    Am I eligible for student or professional membership for joining IMA and do CMA USA accept 3 yr bachelor degree?
    Also can I take exam from India or would have to travel US?
    Thanks and Regards

    1. Hi Sam,

      I believe you qualify for the professional membership. The student membership is for students currently in college. As for your degree itself, please contact the IMA directly to ensure your degree qualifies. The exam can be taken in India. There’s no need to travel to the US.

  10. I am in H4 visa and doing CMA, can I get H1b visa after completing cma certification, how easy to fina a job after it

    1. Hi Ritu,

      I’m so sorry but I’m not qualified to give immigration advice. Please consult with an immigration attorney or contact the IMA directly. Thank you and best wishes.

  11. Hi I am Kamal , Having associate membership with Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of India . I am planning to move Canada on PR basis. On the basis of my present ICWAI membership i can have Associate Membership with Institute of Management Accountant of USA , kindly advise will it be really beneficial to have IMA USA membership to make me successful in Management Accounting Field in Canada.

    Thanks & Regards

    1. Hi Kamal,

      Canada has its own CMA designation and its exclusively for that country. I heard that Canadian companies still seek out CMA-USA professionals since this designation has been around longer and has more prestige than the Canadian CMA, but I would image that’ll change over time in that country as the CMA-Canada is promoted more.

      So to answer your question, yes I believe it would be beneficial to hold the CMA-USA designation as well.

  12. Hi Nathan,

    I plan on taking CMA exam this year. I wanted to know if work experience in fund accounting fulfills the CMA work experience requirements.

    1. Hi Ankush,

      To be certain of your work experience fulfilling the work experience requirement, please contact the IMA directly. They have the last say on this and wouldn’t want to inadvertently guide you in the wrong direction. Thanks

  13. what will be the minimum designation which il will receive in a company after completing CMA(USA) course?

    1. Hello Nithin,

      It can vary greatly. If it’s any indication, CFOs and VPs of Finance hold the CMA designation.


  14. Hi Nathan Liao,

    I am Ruby from India, i am perusing my CMA (USA) and planning to immigrate to Canada. i would like to take your advice if to continue my course or to start over with CMA Canada.

    thank you,

    1. Hello Ruby,

      If you are planning to live in Canada for the long term the CMA Canada would be a good choice.
      However, if it’s only temporary then CMA USA is the best choice.


  15. Hi my self Ahmed from India,, i have completed my ICMAI from india in 2013 . now i have planned to immigrate to canada, now my query is , what course or degree should i do from canada , to get job in finance, presently i am working as Assistant manager -financial analysis in india.

    1. Hello Ahmed,

      Thanks for reaching out. The best option is to take the CMA-Canada Designation since you are planning to live in Canada.


  16. Hi there , I have no plans to live in foreign countrie , I’m from India and would like to make a career in banking sector , currently working with RBI ( reserve bank of India) as a manager, could you help me to know more about this course in light of banking

  17. Hi,

    I already have my CMA Canada designation and was wondering if it would be recognized in the US. Would I be able to find a decent job or would I need to get the IMA’s designation as well?

    Thanks a lot for your help!

    1. Hi Philippe,

      CMA Canada have a mutual agreement with CIMA (UK) but not with IMA USA (CMA). You have to take the CMA exam to be recognized in the US.


  18. Hi Nathan , this is Hira Mazhar from Pakistsn . I have completed my CMA in 2013 from institute of cost and management accoutant of pakistan. I am moving to canada soon can you please guide me where i am stand now and whats my designation in canada right now. To become CMA CANADA what will i have to do. Waiting for your reply.
    Best regards

    1. Hi Hira,

      Unfortunately, IMA USA has no mutual agreement with CMA Canada. You will have to take the exam again in Canada in order to be a recognized CMA there.



  20. Hi Nathan,

    I have done Bachelor of Commerce from Pakistan (2 years degree -not three years). I am preparing for CMA-IMA (Dubai). If I passed this exam, am I eligible to work in US as professional accountant once we move there or require some other exams.



    1. Yes, Adil. You are eligible to work in the US but there are still other requirements needed to move there such as English proficiency tests and important immigration requirements.


  21. Hi, I am from India currently pursuing my graduation in commerce. I want to go for us cma. Are there jobs available for international students in USA ? Can a fresher go and work there ?

    1. Hi Surya,

      Employment in the US depends on a lot of factors but the CMA will definitely give you a competitive advantage over non-certified peers when applying for a finance or accounting job in the US.

      Thanks and Regards,

  22. HI, I am working women in India , i have completed CMA from Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India in 2012, now i want to move to Canada with my family. Is this qualification eligible in Canada to get good job? if not please suggest me the ways how to settle in Canada.

    1. Hi Venusa,

      In my opinion, it is better to take the CMA Canada since you want to settle there.

      Thanks and Regards,

  23. Hi Nathan,
    I am studying my PhD in accounting.
    what is best professional qualification will help me to be consultant with corporate?

    Warm regards

    1. Hi Neef,

      I think any of those certifications mentioned above can land you a job as a consultant. Just consider that CMA and CPA are US-based while ACCA is UK-based if you are targeting clients geographically.

      Thanks and Regards,

  24. Hi Nathan,

    If I have passed part one of IMA CMA in the U.S., can I take part two in of IMA CMA in Canada and get my IMA CMA certification?

    Thank you,


    1. Hi Jacob,

      Yes, you can take Part 1 in the US and Part 2 in Canada. You may check Prometric locations (locate a test center) in Canada using this link.


  25. hello sir
    i am tejbeer i have completed my bachelors in commerce
    and now i am planning to immigrate to canada
    but i am preparing for cma usa from IMA
    my question is that if canada does not provide me the job oppertunities as cma usa then can i move to usa from canada for job oppertunities if i m having cma usa degree ??

    1. Hi Tejbeer,

      IMA is US-based and widely recognized worldwide except that Canada has its own CMA program. However, there’s still a chance that you can land a job in Canada with your US CMA certificate. Yes, you can move to the US in case you didn’t make it to Canada.


  26. Hello Sir,
    Iam from India and I wanted to know that 3 years Graduation and CMA(US) combined. Will i be eligible for CPA US. And most impotently is their any job market for CMA (US) in India for freshers.

  27. Hello Nathan!

    I am Rishangi from India. I am planning to start with CMA-USA the next month. Will it be beneficial for me in case I wish to work in USA?


    1. Hi Rishangi,

      Yes, the CMA will give you a competitive edge over non-certified peers.


  28. hi my name is saurav. i have complete icwai now i am plan to study cma canada is there any exemtion in cma canada…..if not then what i do

    1. Hi Saurav,

      I’m not familiar with CMA Canada but there is a memorandum of understanding between ICWA and IMA or CMA USA. You can check it here.


  29. Hi Nathan

    I have more than 4 years of accounting experience in Canada and I’m wondering if the US CMA can add value to my carrer in that country ? I know that is globally recognized, but the fact that Canadians have their own CMA (now CPA in its new format) makes me hesitate. Do you think it would be beneficial for me to hold the US CMA in order to get promoted?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Yahya, I advice you to primarily get your CPA in Canada if you plan to live and work there long term. Then if you want to further enhance your skills and recognition, the CMA is a good fit.

  30. Hi Nathan,
    I am planning to do US CMA. I wanted to know if it is recognized in Canada as I’ll soon be moving to Canada. I do not want to do Canadian one as it takes longer to complete moreover the scope is only limited to a single country. Please let me know if US CMA will benefit me in getting a job in Canada. I have read in some forums that its a complete waste and is given zero weightage in Canada. Your guidance will be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Rose, I recommend you to go for the Canadian designation if you plan to work in Canada. The US CMA might benefit you if you land a job in an international corporation. All the best!

  31. Hi I am shivangi , i have done my PGDM from India with 5 years of experience in MNC. I am planning to take US CMA exam but i have two queries firstly i have bachelors degree in Mathematics will i be eligible to take the test ? secondly on completion of exam will i be eligible for H1b Visa ?

    1. Hi Shivangi. Yes, you are eligible for the test. You can submit the education and experience requirement within 7 years after you pass the CMA exam. As for the visa question – please, reach out to an immigration attorney, I’m not qualified to give any advice in this matter.

      1. Hey, I am Devanshi from India.

        I have completed my B.COM and CA from ICAI.
        I want to pursue US CMA. I have only one year of experience. Will US CMA will help me in finding job in Dubai or Canada ?

  32. Hi

    I am a member of ICWA India. Through MOU between ICWA India and IMA US , I will get IMA US certificate. Can that fetch me a job in US?

    I am also a member of CA (Chartered Accountant) and CS (Company Secretary) Institutes of India but they dont have any corresponding bodies in US.


    1. Hi Roopal,

      Of course, getting the US certification will give you a competitive advantage in the accounting field over your non-certified peers.

      Best of luck!

  33. Hi!
    Is CMA USA done from India equivalent to CMA USA done from Australia… and what is the scope of CMA USA in Australia?

    1. Hi Jatinder,

      Yes, the US CMA exams are the same everywhere. However, this certification is not very well recognized in Australia because they have their own certification similar to the US CMA.

      Click here to learn more about the US CMA.

  34. Hello Nathan,,

    I am wondering if the US CMA is a reasonable career path for an engineer with 10+ years of experience in engineering and engineering management field but without any experience in accounting who wants to make a career shift and become a senior manager in an engineering firm.

    I am concerned if CMA is a very tough exam that needs an strong accounting background which could be earned by academic learning or a real experience in accounting.

    Sorry , my English could be confusing, but I hope that I convey my concerns clearly.

    1. Hi Yaser,

      The CMA exam would indeed be the fast-track to achieving your goals and you can still pass the exams without an accounting background.

      You should check my CMA Coaching Course, it is designed for accountants at all levels and it also includes the unlimited 1-on-1 coaching for you to ask as many questions as you need to truly grasp the material.

      Check also the Ultimate CMA Exam Roadmap to learn more about the CMA designation and how to obtain it.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.


  35. Hi Nathan,

    I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from India and a 6 months Post Graduation in Advertising and Public Relations. The US universities here do not accept my 3 years degree as valid and hence I cannot proceed to do Master’s.
    Can a CMA course help me get a job and an H1B visa ?
    Which cities offer maximum jobs for CMA certified individuals and grant an H1B ?

    Thanks a ton,
    Jui Joglekar

    1. Hi Jui,

      I recommend you to reach out to an immigration attorney, as I’m not qualified to give advice in that matter.

      Best wishes!

  36. Hello Liao,

    I am preparing for US CMA. I want to know if I complete US CMA do I get job in Canada.


    1. Hi Harish,

      The US CMA is not officially recognized in Canada, but it may help you there if you get a job in a US company.

      Best of luck!

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