top of page
Search

How to Become a CMA USA in 6 Months?


CMA, Certified Management Accountant, bachelor’s degree, professional certification, CPA, management accounting, financial management, CMA exam, Institute of Management Accountants, IMA, continuing education, ethical standards, CMA certification, 8 months, structured study plan, education requirements, professional experience, IMA membership, CMA programme, CMA review course, study plan, CMA Exam Part 1, CMA Exam Part 2, Prometric Testing Center, CMA Support Package, iProledge, 16 week study plan, CMA certification fee, CMA Exam Multiple Choice Questions, CMA Exam Essay Questions, CMA Study Guide, CMA Exam, Financial Planning, Performance, Analytics, Strategic Financial Management, CMA certification application, Continuing Professional Education, CPE, high demand, global recognition, earning potential, exam fees, IMA membership fees, study materials, work experience, 6 months, cost of CMA certification, duration to complete CMA, CMA careers, global recognition, high demand, financial management, professional growth.

Becoming a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) involves several key steps. You need a bachelor’s degree or a professional certification like a CPA, along with two years of experience in management accounting or financial management. 


Passing the two part CMA exam is crucial, as is becoming a member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). Maintaining your CMA certification requires continuing education and adherence to ethical standards.


CMAs are currently in great demand but short supply. The good news is that becoming one is really possible. By following the steps outlined here, you could be applying for your Certified Management Accountant certification in just 8 months!


If you're aiming to become a CMA quickly, this guide is for you. It's essential to have a well organised schedule to achieve CMA certification in under a year. While it requires careful preparation, following these 10 steps can make it entirely achievable:


1. Complete the CMA education requirements.

2. Get the necessary experience.

3. Get an IMA membership.

4. Enrol in the CMA programme.

5. Take a CMA review course.

6. Begin studying with a structured study plan.

7. Schedule CMA Exam Part after 8 weeks of study.

8. Take the CMA Exam.

9. Apply for CMA certification

10. Maintain ethical standards and pursue continuing professional education 


Step 1: Complete the CMA education requirements.


To become a CMA, you must have a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited university or college. Alternatively, you can meet the education requirements by obtaining an approved professional certification. CMA candidates come from various backgrounds, with common degrees in accounting, finance, economics, and general business.


Interestingly, you can take the CMA exam even before earning your degree. While one of the requirements for becoming a CMA is obtaining your degree, you can choose to complete the exam first. Most candidates, however, prefer to earn their degree or professional certification first, but the choice is yours.


Step 2: Get the necessary experience

Another prerequisite for becoming a CMA is completing two years of professional experience. The good news is you have a substantial window to achieve this. You can fulfill this requirement either before or within seven years of passing the CMA exam.


Why is this beneficial?


It means that college students and professionals transitioning into the CMA field can take the exam even if they haven't yet accumulated two years of accounting experience. Completing the CMA exam not only enhances your resume but also gives you a head start in the field.


To meet the experience requirement, you need two years of experience in management accounting and/or financial management. This must be in a full time professional position. Alternatively, you can work part time for 20 hours per week over four consecutive years in the same field.


Qualifying experience can range from roles such as staff accountant to CFO, including positions like financial analyst and senior accountant. While the ICMA prefers consecutive years of experience, each application is evaluated individually, so don’t let this deter you.


For academics, if at least 60% of your courses are in accounting and corporate financial management above the fundamental level, you also meet the experience qualification.


Step 3 : Get an IMA membership


To be eligible for the CMA certification, you must be an active member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).


Wondering how to join the IMA?


It’s simple!


Start by selecting the IMA membership that best suits you. Here are your options:


IMA Professional Members


The IMA offers benefits worldwide. With a professional membership, you can access the IMA’s advanced resources to expand and hone your skills in all areas of management accounting.


Who it’s for: Individuals with careers in accounting or finance, such as business accountants or financial managers.


Fees: $295 for the first year, then $280 annually.


IMA Student Members


This membership is ideal for students looking to jumpstart their careers in accounting or financial management.


Who it’s for: Current students at accredited institutions or universities.


Fees: $49 per year, with an option for a one or two year membership.


IMA Academic Members


Academic members enjoy worldwide benefits, including access to the IMA’s ethics curriculum, webinars, case studies, mentor program, research grants, and various teaching resources.


Who it’s for: Full Time faculty members of accredited institutions.


Fees: $160 for the first year, then $145 annually.


The IMA offers a 15% discount on the annual fee when your organisation signs up five or more staff members.


Step 4 :  Enrol in the CMA programme


One of the steps to becoming a CMA USA in 6 months is paying a nonrefundable entrance fee for the CMA certification program. This fee must be paid before you can take the exam.


The cost varies depending on your IMA membership. For professional members, the fee is $300, while for Student and Academic members, it is $225.


Once you’ve paid this fee, you might wonder how long it takes to get CMA certified. The timeline varies based on the CMA prep course you choose and how quickly you work through the material.


To clarify, you must complete the CMA program and pass both parts of the CMA exam within three years of entry. If you don’t, you will need to repay the entrance fee and retake any exams you have already passed.


Additionally, you must register for one part of the exam—either CMA Part 1 or CMA Part 2—within the first 12 months of entry, or you’ll have to repay the entrance fee. There are several testing windows each year, so plan accordingly.


My advice is to wait to join until you are absolutely ready to take the exam.


Step 5 :  Take a CMA review course


While the CMA Entrance Fee includes six months of access to the CMA Support Package, most candidates find this insufficient. Instead, I highly recommend finding the best CMA review program  that fits your needs and using it to prepare for the exam.


iProledge is a cutting edge CMA exam review program. It offers a complete, step by step, instructor led format, providing virtually everything you need to be fully prepared for the exam.


Step 6 : Begin studying with a structured study plan


Everyone learns differently, so the time needed to study for the CMA exam varies. In my experience, a 16 week study plan per exam part is optimal for most candidates. This timeframe allows ample time to learn the material thoroughly without forgetting key topics. 


For perspective, I spent six months in total—three months per exam part—studying for the exam, though the exam is now more comprehensive. A 16 week study plan aligns better with the current exam structure.


When I prepared, I studied 34 hours daily after work, taking 10 minute breaks every hour. Weekends involved more intensive study sessions: 3 hours in the morning, 4 hours after lunch, and 3 hours after dinner, with Sundays reserved for rest and family time.


This rigorous schedule, supported by friends and family, helped me stay focused and prepared. Given the changes in the exam content, I now recommend 16 weeks per part.


If you struggle with motivation or procrastination, plan your study time meticulously. Schedule study sessions and breaks to avoid burnout and stay on track.


For more study tips, check out these resources:


  • CMA Study Guide

  • CMA Exam Multiple Choice Questions Demystified

  • CMA Exam Essay Questions — Everything You Need to Know

  • Best CMA Study Materials


Step 7 : Schedule CMA Exam Part after 8 weeks of study


Registrations close after the 15th of February, June, and October.


Once your registration is complete, you will receive authorization from ICMA. Then, you can schedule your testing appointment at a nearby Prometric Testing Center by logging onto www.prometric.com/ICMA.


Step 8 : Take the CMA Exam


After weeks of studying, it's time to take the CMA exam. The computer based exam has two parts, each lasting 4 hours. 


Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics

 100 multiple choice questions (3 hours)

 Two 30 minute essay scenarios (1 hour)

 Scoring Breakdown:

  • Cost Management – 15%

  • Internal Controls – 15%

  • Technology and Analytics – 15%

  • External Financial Reporting Decisions – 15%

  • Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting – 20%

  • Performance Management – 20%


Part 2: Strategic Financial Management

100 multiple choice questions (3 hours)

Two 30 minute essay scenarios (1 hour)

Scoring Breakdown:

  •  Risk Management – 10%

  •  Investment Decisions – 10%

  • Professional Ethics – 15%

  • Financial Statement Analysis – 20%

  • Corporate Finance – 20%

  • Decision Analysis – 25%


To proceed to the essay portion, you must answer at least 50% of the multiple choice questions correctly. Aim for a minimum score of 65% on multiple choice questions and a perfect score on the essay section to pass. If you finish the multiple choice section early, you can use the remaining time for the essay. However, don't rush the multiple choice section just to gain extra essay time.


Step 9 :  Apply for CMA USA Certification


Once you complete both parts of the CMA exam and meet the education and work experience requirements, you can apply for your CMA certificate. Woohoo!


To do this, simply send your application directly to the IMA. Detailed instructions are available in your personal IMA account.


Step 10 : Maintain ethical standards and pursue continuing professional education 


To maintain your CMA membership, you must meet the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirement.


You need to complete 30 educational hours every year, with at least two hours in ethics.


Keep all CPE certificates for at least two years, as reported hours are randomly verified. Learn more on our CPE Flow platform.


Why to choose Certified Management Accountant (CMA)?

CMA, Certified Management Accountant, bachelor’s degree, professional certification, CPA, management accounting, financial management, CMA exam, Institute of Management Accountants, IMA, continuing education, ethical standards, CMA certification, 8 months, structured study plan, education requirements, professional experience, IMA membership, CMA programme, CMA review course, study plan, CMA Exam Part 1, CMA Exam Part 2, Prometric Testing Center, CMA Support Package, iProledge, 16 week study plan, CMA certification fee, CMA Exam Multiple Choice Questions, CMA Exam Essay Questions, CMA Study Guide, CMA Exam, Financial Planning, Performance, Analytics, Strategic Financial Management, CMA certification application, Continuing Professional Education, CPE, high demand, global recognition, earning potential, exam fees, IMA membership fees, study materials, work experience, 6 months, cost of CMA certification, duration to complete CMA, CMA careers, global recognition, high demand, financial management, professional growth.

Achieving CMA certification was transformative for many, opening up opportunities to travel and work remotely, bringing newfound freedom to their personal and professional life.


CMA (Certified Management Accountant) is a specialised field of accounting that emphasises strategic management considerations. It offers a rewarding career path for accounting professionals seeking career advancement and higher income.


Here are compelling reasons to pursue CMA certification:


In High Demand:

CMAs are currently in high demand and the supply of certified professionals is relatively low. This makes it an ideal time to enhance your resume with this designation and explore CMA careers journey. 


Recognised Globally:

The CMA designation enjoys global recognition, making it a valuable asset for professionals seeking international opportunities. While the majority of CMAs are in the United States, the certification has seen significant growth in regions like China and the Middle East.


Higher Earning Potential:

According to the 2021 IMA Global Salary Survey, CMAs earn an average base salary of $72,430 and a total compensation of $86,924 worldwide. In the United States, the median base salary is $105,000, with a median total compensation of $118,500.


What is the fee for CMA USA certification ?


The fundamental costs of becoming a CMA include fees for both parts of the CMA exam, the exam entrance fee, and your IMA membership.


Each part of the exam costs $495, with discounts available for students and academics but not for graduates.


The one-time entrance fee ranges from $225 to $300, depending on your student or professional status.


Your IMA membership is an annual fee, starting at $45 for students and ranging up to $135 or $260 for academics and professionals.


Beyond these essential expenses, candidates should also budget for various CMA review courses to aid exam preparation. The cost of study materials typically falls between $699 and $1800, depending on the chosen course. Additionally, consider the cost of obtaining your undergraduate degree.


What is the duration to complete CMA USA? 

Normally we can complete CMA USA in 6 Months

In addition to the financial investment, earning your CMA certification also requires a significant time commitment.


With a prerequisite of an undergraduate degree, you're looking at a minimum of 3-4 years right away. Exam preparation itself typically takes 8-12 months, depending on your schedule and study plan.


The requirement for 2 consecutive years of relevant work experience can add more time, especially if done part-time. However, this experience can be completed prior to or within seven years of passing the exam, providing some flexibility.


Overall, becoming a CMA can take around 5 years, depending on your approach and circumstances.


Conclusion : 


“Failure is better than regret”

Becoming a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a rewarding and achievable goal, even within a short timeframe. While the journey involves significant financial and time investments, the benefits of global recognition, high demand, and increased earning potential make it worthwhile. By following a structured plan and meeting all educational and experience requirements, you can fast-track your path to certification. Remember, with dedication, a well-organised schedule, and the right resources, earning your CMA certification in as little as 6 months is entirely possible. This professional milestone can open doors to a fulfilling career, offering both personal and professional growth.


FAQ’s


Can I become a CMA in just 6 months?

While becoming a CMA in 6 months is ambitious, it is possible with a well-organised schedule and dedicated effort. Key factors include having a solid foundation in accounting and finance, an efficient study plan, and possibly prior relevant experience. Most candidates take around 8-12 months, but a highly motivated individual can expedite the process.

What are the educational requirements to become a CMA?

How much does it cost to become a CMA?

How long does it take to complete the CMA exam preparation? 

What type of work experience is required for the CMA certification? 


3 views0 comments

Comments


download.png
Connect us.png

I hope you like this blog post.

Connect with a career expert

bottom of page