CMA Certification Requirements: Determine Your Education’s Eligibility

CMA Certification Requirements

When compared to other accounting designations, the education portion of the CMA certification requirements are quite clear and easy to fulfill.

You just need to be aware of what they are, and there’s where I come in 🙂

Today, we’re discussing how you can fulfill the education portion of your CMA certification requirements.

Are You Attending an Approved School?

The terms for your CMA certification requirements 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.

Some Professional Certifications Work too!

Even if you don’t have a Bachelor’s degree, you can still qualify for the CMA certification with a professional certification approved by the ICMA, such as: CPA, CA, ACMA/FCMA, DCG, QA/SQA, ACCA/FCCA, CPFA, CFA, CIA, CFE, CTP.

You can find the full listing of approved certifications here.

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

Candidates who do not have a degree and are serious about getting the CMA certification, 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 Certified Management Accounting 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. Learn more in this article all about the CMA experience requirements.

Do you have any questions about what the CMA is or how to qualify? Comment below and let me help you answer them.


Nathan Liao

Hi, I’m Nathan Liao (aka the CMA Coach)! For the last 10 years, over 82,000 accounting and finance pros came knocking at my door seeking guidance and help. If you’re also aiming to conquer the CMA exam on your very first try—without wasting away time or money—you’ve found your ultimate guide. Dive in deeper to discover more about me and the dedicated team that powers CMA Exam Academy. Click here and let’s embark on this journey together!

66 Comments on “CMA Certification Requirements: Determine Your Education’s Eligibility”

  1. Hi Nathan,

    I have my Bachelors from Liverpool John moores University in UK, do I need an equivalency certificate before i submit my application

    1. Hi Medhi,

      First, your degree must come from an accredited university or college. You can check if your institution is accredited here:

      Then, to submit the education requirement, you’ll need to email your education transcripts in PDF format to [email protected]

      If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to hit reply.

  2. Hi I have directly got admission in Mba on the basis of work experience in one of the University in UK. I have completed my MBA ( 2 year course) , however my bachelors part is Missing. So am I eligible for CMA?

    1. Hi Arun,

      In case you do not have a bachelor’s degree, you can still qualify for the CMA certification requirements by holding a professional certification.

      Since it’s a unique situation, the best course of action is to contact the IMA directly.

  3. Hi Nathan,
    I am a CPA in the Philippines and has 7 years of experience in accounting and auditing (6 years of which is managerial). Unfortunately, my university is not included in the list of accepted institutions for education requirement. Do I still have to get my transcript of records be evaluated by NACES or AICE? If not, what alternative document is accepted as proof of being a CPA (e.g. is copy of license enough)?

    1. Hi Marnelle,

      The best course of action is to contact the IMA directly and request an evaluation of your transcripts. They will provide you with further clarification on what to do next.

      If you have any questions left, don’t hesitate to ask.


  4. Hello Nathan,

    I graduated Major in Accounting degree and have already 2 years work related experience but as I checked, the school I graduated is unfortunately not accredited. What should i do? I really wanted to take the CMA as i wanted to work in Australia. Thank you.


    1. Hi Jyna,

      Don’t worry.

      The best course of action is to contact the IMA directly and request an evaluation of your transcripts. They will provide you with further clarification on what to do next.

      Let me know if you have any questions left.


  5. Hi I am kaleem from Pakistan I just completed my Higher National Diploma HND (UK) which is equivalent to 2 year bachelor degree in my country will it fulfill my IMA requirements and I also have a diploma in information technology (DIT) thanks .

    1. Hi Kaleem,

      A quick way to check is by looking up your university on this website:

      If you can find it on the list, then your diploma will most likely be accepted by the IMA.

      There’s also a work experience requirement which you can fulfill later on. You can read more about it here.


  6. Hi Nathan,

    I am currently doing my BA(Hons) Accounting and Finance in UAE. I am currently on my 1st year and I have plans to pursue ACCA too.I was wondering if I can start appearing for my CMA exams while I am studying.


    1. Absolutely, Aliya. The IMA offers sizable discounts to students who are pursuing the CMA. You can find more info here.

  7. Hi Nathan,

    I withdrew from university and will be returning to resume my studies in about 2 years. Am I eligible to take the CMA exam before returning?

    1. Hi Justin,

      Yes, you are!

      To earn their CMA title, candidates can fulfill the education and experience requirements within 7 years after passing the CMA exam.

    1. Hi PV,

      Yes, the CMA is a globally recognized professional certification. Click here to learn more about it and the steps to obtaining it.


  8. Hi,

    I am member of IPA Australia ( a full time member of IFAC ), and have 4.5 years of work experience in audit and finance, can you please tell that if I can qualify for CMA exam.

    Kind regards.

    1. Hi Muhammad,

      Yes, your work experience qualifies for the CMA certification 🙂


  9. Hi, I am Bharath preparing for CA (Chartered Accountancy) India. As a part of the Curriculum of CA we will be working as Interns for 3 yrs . . can that be approved as professional experience. Our Internship work includes Auditing of Financial Statements, Risk Evaluation

    1. Hi Barath,

      As far as I know, internship doesn’t count towards the CMA work experience requirement. But you can still check directly with the IMA just to confirm.


  10. Hi Nathan

    I am an International Student preparing to pass CMA exam. Regarding the education requirements, it is clear.
    May you please help with professional work experience?
    The questions are the following.

    1) Do I need to prove my professional work experience before or after CMA exam?
    2) If I need to prove the work experience whether I need to send notarized labor book (used in our country as a official list of employers I worked for) or CV/Resume?

    Thanks and best regards

    1. Hi Mushvig,

      Great questions!

      1) You can submit the work experience requirement to the IMA either prior to, or within 7 years of passing the exam. So it’s totally to fulfill this requirement after taking the exam if you don’t have the work experience yet.

      2) Here’s the form you’ll need to fill out and mail to the IMA for the work experience requirement.

      If you have any other questions, just hit reply 🙂


  11. Pingback: CMA Experience Requirements: Determine Your Eligibility

  12. Pingback: How to Become a CMA - CMA Coach

  13. Nathan Liao,I trust you are well.

    My name is Dennis,and I’m from Zambia.

    I thought I was tripping when I found my university(University of Lusaka) listed on the IMA’s listed of internationally accredited universities.

    Nathan,bro,am I tripping,is my mind playing tricks on me like the Geto boys would say?

    Can you reaffirm if the University of Lusaka is on the list?

    The undergraduate degree am pursuing at the University of Lusaka is a one year top up degree,would that still be acceptable?

    How can I become a student ambassador for the CMA brand in Zambia and the Southern African region?

    Are the IMA scholarships open all nationalities including my Asian brothers & sisters in Asian & Africa?

    I hope you address my post,please and thank you.

    Take care Nathan,and keep up the good work,God bless your life

    1. Hi Dennis,

      Haha! The best way to confirm that your education is eligible for the CMA certification is to reach out directly to IMA (ima[at] They will also inform you about their current scholarships if they are offering any 🙂

      Good luck!

  14. Hey Nathan,

    I’m 32 and I only have a high school diploma with no experience in accounting but I’m interested in this certification. I’m a US citizen living in Saudi Arabia. Do you think I’m eligible for this certification? I’ve been taking care of my family business for the last 4 years and counting. Can I show my work experience I’ve gained here to the companies I apply to after I pass the course. I’m confident I will pass with flying colors but i just need you to point me in the right direction. Thanks!

    1. Hi Ahmed,

      You can take the exams prior to obtaining the work and/or education requirements. But to be officially certified, you’ll have to meet those two requirements within 7 years of passing the exams. Thanks, Nathan

  15. HI

    I m Zia from Pakistan I have 9 years period to meet the educational and work experience requirement begins after clearing one part or both the parts.

    1. Hi Zia, the education and work pre-requisites can be fulfilled before, during or after passing both exams. But to be officially certified, you need both.

    1. Hi Vanshika,

      A Bachelor’s Degree in any field will meet the educational qualifications.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  16. Hello sir

    I wanted to know if the 7 years period to meet the educational and work experience requirement begins after clearing one part or both the parts.


  17. After the completion of schooling, one can start with the foundation of CMA or after the graduation anyone can straightly pursue Intermediate in CMA. The portion of CMA is easy and clear.

  18. I got my bachelor degree in China and master degree in Canada. It will be troublesome for me to go back to China to get the bachelor degree proof. Can I use my master degree in stead of bachelor degree as educational requirement?

    1. Hi Danni – I advise you to reach out directly to IMA to check if you can submit your master degree as educational requirement. Good luck!

    1. Hi Sandeep – the university needs to send your documents directly to the IMA. Other than that nothing needs to be notarized.

  19. Hi Nathan,
    My university is listed in the cma’s accredited universities list, but however i am only doing a 2 years bachelors programme as i was given the option of skipping the first year due to good high school grades.
    Its actually a 3 year course but i will finish it in 2 years and will only have 2 years transcripts so will i be eligible to give the CMA exam?

    1. Hi Navjot,

      As long as you get your degree, you will meet the education requirements for the CMA certification.

      Keep in mind that you can also take the CMA exam before fulfilling the education and experience requirements. If you enroll in the CMA program as a student, you’ll get sizable discounts on IMA’s fees.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  20. I graduated in 2012 but never took the exam to get certified. Will i still be eligible to take the exam?

    Also I live in New Jersey, about to move to California. Will I have to take the exam again when I move?

  21. Hi Nathan,

    I am Santosh Suvarna from Mumbai I am b. Com from university Mumbai pass class so I need to know eligible for CMA

    1. Hi Santosh,

      Yes, you’re eligible for the CMA exam. As for the experience requirement – you can fulfill it within 7 years after passing the exam in order to become certified.

      Obtaining the CMA certification will certainly help you get into management accounting and fulfill the experience requirement sooner.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  22. hello

    i have a foreign master degree in business from pakistan and i checked the internationally accredited institutions list. i am gad to see my school name in the list but how do i know that IMA accepts my degree for CMA exam. i want to be sure so that i continue my CMA preparation for exam in USA. please help.

    1. You need a bachelor’s degree to fulfill the education requirements. If you got your degree at a institution that is in the IMA’s list, then you do meet the education requirement for the CMA certification 🙂

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  23. I am an Mechanical Engineer with Post Graduate Master Degree in Engineering Management, Am I eligible for CMA.

    Thank You

    1. Hi Haitham,

      Yes, if you have a Bachelor’s Degree in any field then you do meet the educational qualification.

      There’s also the experience qualification you need to meet to become certified. Click here to learn about it.

      But keep in mind that you can also fulfill the experience requirement within 7 years after passing the CMA exam.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  24. I am willing to do CMA but i don’t know whether am eligible or not so kindly guide me to how to verify my documents so that i can verify accordingly and join cma course.

    1. Hi Domburu,

      Please, reach out directly to IMA regarding your eligibility, for they have the last say in this.

      Best of luck!

  25. Hi nathan’,

    I want to start CMA but i don’t have becholore degree but i have more than 3 year experience as an assistant accountant in UAE, can i do CMA?

    I will be thankful for your earliest response.

    1. Hi Maryl,

      All transcripts should be mailed directly from your college or university to ICMA to the address below:
      10 Paragon Drive Suite 1
      Montvale, NJ 07645

      Click here to learn more about the process of becoming a CMA.

  26. 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.

  27. 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…

  28. 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.

  29. 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 🙂

  30. 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.

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