How To Fulfill Your CMA CPE Requirements (and Find Eligible Courses)

how to fulfill your cma cpe credit requirements

To maintain certification as a Certified Management Accountant, the Institute of Management Accountants requires you to keep up your professional education. You have to meet the CMA CPE requirements by logging hours of Continuing Professional Education each year.

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

It might seem like a lot of extra work, since you’ve already had to pass the CMA exam. What it basically means is that you will remain current on practices and procedures, which is ultimately a good thing for your career.

Fulfilling your CMA CPE requirements is critical and we’ll go over how many hours are needed next.

If you need to get your CMA CPE credits out of the way right now, jump to the end of the page for qualifying online CPE courses.

Originally published in 2018, this article was updated and republished on March 23, 2021.

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

How many hours to fulfill CMA CPE requirements?

Thirty hours of CMA CPE credits are required each year. Here are the specifics:

  • CPE requirements start one calendar year after you become a CMA.
  • For CPE CMA credits, a “year” is January 1 to December 31, making that the time frame within which you must log those hours.
  • CPE credits for CMA must be within approved topics.
  • While thirty hours are required each year, if you exceed that number, you can carry ten hours over into the following calendar year.

Bonus: If you took the CMA recently and are starting to rack up qualifying hours, the IMA will let you count 10 hours of CPE credits for every hour of the CMA exam that you passed.

There are plenty of qualifying course topics to choose from such as accounting, financial management, business applications of mathematics, computer science, economics, management, production, marketing, business law, organization, and more.

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

Acceptable Subjects for CMA CPE Credits

Acceptable subjects for CMA CPE Credits

As you get through these thirty required CPE credits for your CMA, it’s important to know that not just anything counts. There are a few IMA-approved subjects that count toward your CMA CPE credits:

  • Accounting
  • Financial management
  • Business applications of mathematics and statistics
  • Computer science
  • Economics
  • Management
  • Production
  • Marketing
  • Business law
  • Organizational behavior

This list isn’t exhaustive, so it’s a good idea to check on the IMA website or even reach out for support if you’re unsure.

How to Earn CPE Hours

How to earn CPE hours

Because you need CPE hours to maintain a CMA certification, it’s important that you have a plan for accomplishing this. After all, you don’t want to be staring down the barrel of 30 hours of approved hours as you close in on the 12 month mark.

Each year, it’s important that you space out your CMA CPE hours. 30 hours is too many to cram in at the last minute.

Here are some of the best avenues through which to gain your credits.

CMA CPE Courses

There are plenty of CMA CPE courses that you can take. Some of these are offered through a college or university, and others are available online, through CMA course providers.

The former are usually taught by accounting professors in a post-secondary accounting department. The latter are usually taught by a CMA or topic expert.

For example, Lambers CPE course library has NASBA-approved online video courses taught by experts in accounting, auditing, management, and even information technology.

Explore Lambers CPE!

Seminars

Taking a seminar to fulfill CPE requirements is pretty easy and can achieve the dual purpose of networking. Professional seminars for CMAs will have qualified speakers on a range of relevant subjects.

Often, you’ll have a choice of which sessions to attend, so you can prioritize things that best support your work as a CMA.

Webinars and Workshops

Many people are using online CPE for CMA options. These have the benefit of being accessible from anywhere. Webinars and workshops that cover the right material, and are run by authoritative professionals, can get you the credits you need without even leaving the comfort of home or office.

Other Methods

There are a few non-conventional, additional ways to get your CPE hours. These include:

  • Attending or watching speeches or pre-recorded sessions of instruction
  • Home study courses
  • Technical meetings
  • Participating in or being taught about case studies
  • Discussions

Of course, anything that doesn’t already have the IMA stamp of approval will require approval to count.

Keeping Track of CMA CPE Hours

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 in your filing cabinet and keep them around for up to five years.

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, trying to earn applicable CPE hours.

The CPE requirement does not start until the calendar year after you earn your CMA designation. For example, if you earned your CMA in November of 2020, the CPE requirement would not start until calendar year 2021.

It is always the calendar year after earning the credential.

What Happens When You Don’t Complete Your CPE Hours?

What happens when you don't complete 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

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.

Which CMA CPE Course Should I Take?

Which CMA CPE course should I take?

Taking a CMA CPE course is a reliable way to get the credits you need. These courses are tailor-made to address the concepts and practices you use as a CMA. Here are some of your best options for CMA CPE courses:

IMA: CPE Credits

The IMA offers some ways to get CPE credits through their education center. It may be a good place to find a required ethics course or other topical courses.

Lambers CPE Courses

Lambers CPE courses

Lambers is an established leader in review courses and professional development for accountants. Although they focus on CPA certification, Lambers CPE courses are relevant for the CMA certification, too. Plus their courses are NASBA approved.

All the courses in Lambers’ CPE course library are accepted by the IMA. They are taught by qualified professionals and offer a simple, engaging way to log your CPE hours. Since they are online, video-based courses, you can take them throughout the year whenever it’s convenient.

Lambers adds new CPE courses each year, and you’ll find plenty of interesting content that you can actually use in your career. They cover a wide range of topics, including current tax strategies, information security, excel mastery, and even management skills.

Sign up at Lambers and get started on your CPE credits today! As a CMA Coach reader, you’ll get special pricing to help you save on CPE CMA course costs.

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

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61 Comments on “How To Fulfill Your CMA CPE Requirements (and Find Eligible Courses)”

  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.

      Thanks,
      Nathan

  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?

    Thanks

    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.

      Thanks,
      Nathan

  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.

      Thanks,
      Nathan

  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
    Mohammed

    1. Hi Mohammed,

      The IMA and Gleim offer great courses that will help you fulfill the CPE requirement. Check them here and here.

      Cheers,
      Nathan

    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?

    Thanks.

    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.

      Thanks

  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.

      Cheers

  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?

    THANK YOU,
    DIVYA

    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.

      Cheers,
      Nathan

  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,
      Nathan

  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.

      Thanks,
      Nathan

    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.

      Thanks,
      Nathan

  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 Muhammad,

      I’ve written a blog about how to fulfill your CPE requirements, you may check it here.

      Thanks,
      Nathan

    1. Hi Harsha,

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

      Thanks and Regards,
      Nathan

  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.

    Rakesh

    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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