How To Fulfill Your CMA CPE Requirements

How To Fulfill Your CPE Requirements as a CMA

Unlike your bachelor’s degree or most post secondary/certification programs, the Institute of Management Accountants, IMA, requires that Certified Management Accountants log continuing professional education hours.

These additional hours are known as Continuing Professional Education hours – or CPE’s – and are required yearly. 

CPE credits are enforced and regulated to ensure that Certified Management Accountants, CMAs, are continually educated and up to date in the profession.

It might seem like a lot of extra work, but what it basically means is that you always remain up to date on practices and procedures, which is a good thing. Fulfilling your CMA CPE requirements is critical and we’ll go over how many hours are needed next:

How Many Hours Will I Need to Fulfill CMA CPE Requirements? 

Thirty hours of CMA CPE’s are required by the end of each year. Luckily there are plenty of courses to choose from such as accounting, financial management, business applications of mathematics, computer science, economics, management, production, marketing, business law, organization etc.  

Though you have plenty of topics to choose from, you will be required to complete a minimum of two hours in ethics courses. 

Keeping Track of CMA CPE Hours

There are several different ways you can go about logging your CPE hours. The IMA has allowed for a lot of flexibility in that aspect so you can keep things fresh. 

College courses, webinars, workshops, seminars, technical meetings, examinations, take home study courses, speeches etc are all different ways in which you can get your hours in. 

Registered CMAs must be diligent when it comes to logging their hours.  You will be required to keep documents such as records of attendance and certificates to support your progress.

The reason for this is simple, you could be randomly selected to submit your records, as the IMA performs regular audits. 

It is highly recommended to keep all documents for at least three years, but just to play it safe it’s better to start a folder and the filing cabinet and keep them around for up to 5.   

Ten CPE credits are awarded for each hour of the exam, so 40 hours for each  exam part that you pass.

These hours are not applicable CPE hours for your CMA, rather only beneficial to someone with another certification who is trying to earn applicable CPE hours. 

Additionally, the CPE requirement does not start until the calendar year after you earn your CMA designation.

For example, if you earn your CMA in November of 2016, the CPE requirement would not start until calendar year 2017.

It is always the calendar year after earning the credential.

What Happens When You Don’t Complete Your CPE Hours

In the event that you are unable or simply do not complete your required thirty CPE hours over the course of the year, you will fall out of good standing with the IMA. 

Before you panic, you should know that it is more than possible to get back in their good graces.

You can do this by completing sixty hours of CPE by the end of year two.

Any shortfalls in the year must be made up in the next year; however, if the hours are not made up, your account will become inactive.

Getting Extra Hours Carried Over

If you are a bit of an overachiever and make more than the standard thirty hours of CPE credits, you are allowed to carry a maximum of ten extra hours over to the next year.  

For those of you who like to plan ahead, this option is a great way to save you time in the future. Just remember, you can only carry over ten hours.

Continuing education can seem like a never ending cycle of study, but when you look at it as an opportunity to better yourself and your expertise, you will be setting yourself up for a much stronger future. 

Thanks for reading this long overdue post and hope you’ve learned about the CMA CPE requirements.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to post them below in the comments section. I reply to every single comment 🙂 

Until next time,


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61 Comments on “How To Fulfill Your CMA CPE Requirements”

  1. Hi,

    I passed my exams in 2019, however I got the certificate in 2020 (due to lack of experience). When do I start to collect the CPEs? 2020 or 2021.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Emy,

      The CPE reporting period begins January 1 following the completion of the CMA exam. So that means it has started on Jan 1st, 2020.


  2. Hi Nathan,
    I completed CMA this August 2020, do I have to fulfil the CPE requirements by end of December 2020, or next year?


    1. Hi Arham,

      Congrats on your certification!

      Since you’ve completed the CMA this year, you can start on your CPE requirements from next year.


  3. hello nathan

    as im also working towards getting aicpa membership….being an ifac body if i fulfill cpe of aicpa will it be acceptable for cma

    1. Hi Souvik,

      Yes, you’ll be able to use most of them towards your CMA CPE requirement as well. But I’d suggest double-checking with IMA if your courses meet the CMA CPE requirement.


  4. Hello Nathan,

    Very interesting and helpful.

    I need to reactivate my CMA credential. I require 60 CPE hours for that as per IMA advise.

    What are the time and cost effective courses I should take those are acceptable top CMA . I Do you have a gist or a link. From where can I seek advise for these courses.

    I need this urgent help please.

    My regards

    1. Hi Yang, please send the info related to the ACCA to the IMA for evaluation. I think it could count towards CPE but they have the last say on this. Thanks, Nathan

  5. Hi Nathan, regarding the carrying over of CPE credits, if I start by accumulating 40 hours in year 1, that means I start year 2 with a beginning balance of 10 hours. If during year 2 I accumulate another 30 hours, that should mean that I could carry over 10 into year 3, correct, since I started the year with a 10 hour beginning balance, accumulated another 30, and again ended the year with a total of 40 hours? Thanks much, Bruce

    1. Hi Bruce,

      That’s correct. You will be able to carry over up to 10 hours of CPE per year if you’re over the minimum by 10 or more hours. If you end up with 40 hours in one calendar year (including 10 hours from the prior year), 10 hours will be carried over to the following year.

  6. Dear sir.
    I received credit points on every CMA exam, what advantage of this credits and how I can use, also for CPE, the IMA provide diff programs to buy, how I can know, how many hours each will cover?

    1. Hi Mohamed,

      The year you pass the CMA exam, you are not required to take any CPE courses. The exam itself will satisfy this requirement. As for IMA courses, in the course description will state how many hours of CPE units you’ll get.

  7. i am finding it hard to get a webinar or seminar related to ethics . There is only one month left to fulfill this.Do you have any advice?

  8. Hi,
    I completed both levels in June 2018. I am currently working with WIPRO under Finance Team (Accounts Receivable and Invoicing). From when do I need to maintain the CPE credits and the job profile that I am currently pursuing is acceptable for my certification?


    1. Hi Satyam,

      The CPE requirement does not start until the calendar year after you earn your CMA designation. This means that you’ll need to start logging your CPE hours in 2019.

      As for the experience requirement, please reach out directly to IMA to check if your current position meets the criteria.

  9. Pingback: 2018 CMA Exam Release Dates - CMA Coach

  10. Thanks for the post.
    Can I carry 4 CPE credits earned before becoming a CMA over to the first year after earning my CMA?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Maiek,

      The CPE requirement does not start until the next calendar year after you earn the CMA designation.

      You can carry up to 10 CPE hours earned the year you became CMA over to the next reporting year.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.


  11. Are all the CPE courses cost you dollars ? Or do we have options for free CPE courses as well ?

  12. Hi,

    why do we have to fo in the two ethica hours apart from 30 hours of CPE?
    And are the webinars free of cost to view on IMA?

    1. Hi Tania,

      When you log into your account on IMA’s website you will see various webinars that are at no cost. Some may have a fee, but you can check that in your account.


  13. Hai,

    My CMA status is inactive.If i want to activate that in future when can i do that is there any time frame to activate your inactive CMA status.In my case i am not working present so i am not taking CPE hours.if i want to work and like to use CMA in future i can activate my CMA at anytime?


    1. Hi Divya,

      You need to reach out to the IMA to get specifics on how to activate it. It’s on a case by case basis.

  14. For how many years do we have to fulfil the CPE requirement?
    Is it just for first 2-3 years?
    Or for however long we want to remain the member of IMA ?
    Very confused.

    1. Hi Tanvi,

      That’s for however long you want to remain an active CMA and be able to use the CMA designation.

      For more information, please click here.


  15. Hi,
    I Have just completed both parts of CMA and I am still figuring out the CPE system.
    I am also preparing for my CFA level 2. Will that count for my CPE for CMA?

    1. Hi Saher,

      According to the CMA CPE Experience Requirement rule, “CE credit at the rate of ten hours for each one hour of examination may be claimed for each part successfully passed. You may claim CE credit for completion of a professional designation examination if you claimed CE credit for a prep course or self-study course you used to prepare for the examination.”

      Thanks and Regards,

  16. Dear Mr Nathan Liao,

    Actually, I`m CMA candidate, but I attend any event for IMA, Do these CPE hours will be counted for me as a commutative, or counting starts until both parts are clear?

    Thank You

    1. Hi Usama,

      Attending any IMA event before passing the CMA exam will not be credited. The reporting period for the CMA Continuing Education requirement starts January 1 following the successful completion of the CMA exam.


    1. Hi Yusuf,

      Usually, programs presented by organizations that are registered with NASBA meet the requirements of CPE for CMAs. Please confirm with IMA if you have a specific course in mind.


  17. I completed my both part exam in 2016, now I looking for a job, what are things I need to done to get my certification? CPE and job experience is required for only two years,my CPE starting on 2017 need to submit in 2017itself?

    1. Hi Harsha,

      IMA offers hundreds of NASBA-approved CMA CPE courses annually.

      Thanks and Regards,

  18. Dear Nathan,
    I pass only Part 1 & I will enter to Part 2 on Feb 29th.. I earned 60 credit when I pass part 1 on August 2014
    what shall I do now??!!!

    please advice

  19. Hello Nathan,

    As mentioned in your article that if I pass 2 parts of the CMA exam I can get 20 CPE hours for the calendar year. I just received my results on 11th Dec 2015 that I have passed both the exams. So can I get the 20 hours CPE credit for 2016 requirement or will it lapse in 2015 itself?

    Kindly reply. Am a bit confused.

    1. Hi Priyanka,

      I believe it’ll be counted towards 2015, but to be sure please contact the IMA to get clarification on this. Would be awesome if you could comment back after you have spoken with them.

  20. Dear Nathan,

    I bought Gleim CPE and completed around 6 hrs got my certificate of completion. My question is how can i submit this certificate to IMA online. Please provide me link or any other method to do it.


    1. Hi Rakesh,

      Keep a copy of it for your records. Log in to your IMA account and follow the instructions found there on how to submit transcripts. Thanks

  21. I was certified in 2009 and i did not have any cpe.
    my account is now inactive. what should i do?
    How do they verify the CPE?
    Thanking you

    1. Hi Mohamed,

      Please contact the IMA to resolve it. They will work with you as long as you can provide proof of your CPE units. Thanks

  22. Hi,
    I have completed both the parts of CMA and met experience requirement as well as received my CMA degree also.I also have to do CPE every year?as in a IMA mentions it is for those who did not met experience requirement.Please clarify.

    1. Hi Chetan,

      The CPE requirement is for all CMAs regardless of work experience. CPEs are there to help us stay up to date on the most current management accounting practices.

  23. I passed both parts of the CMA on August 2014, I did not do any CPE hours, recently I passed two parts of the CPA exam, do they count as a CPE hours to satisfy the CMA requirements for the first year?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Ali,

      I would suggest to call the IMA directly and inquire on that. I believe it can be counted towards your CPE units but I don’t know how many. Please call the IMA for clarification. Thanks

  24. If I’m a CMA candidate and will set for the exams at October, can I earn CPE before I pass the exam? Will be counted?

  25. Hi, I have completed my 2 part cma in October 2014. I am currently looking for a job and do not have relevant accounting experience. Plz suggest when I have to start to fulfill my cpe requirements? TIA

  26. What is the CPE Package offered through IMA site about ? is it articles to read and videos to watch ? and what should i do to be eligible to earn CPE If I bought one of those package ?

    1. Mansour,

      By purchasing those packages or the ones over at Gleim CPE, you will earn credits by submitting your transcripts over to IMA through your account online.

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