A candidate has to meet certain requirements before he or she is eligible to appear for the examination.

Education Requirements

First and foremost, an undergraduate degree from an established university is a must for any candidate.

A candidate must go through the following steps before proceeding with the application:

  1. Listed University

US candidates must ensure that their university is an accredited educational institution.

Non-US candidates have to refer to the following list of accredited international institutions: http://univ.cc/world.php.

If the candidate’s university is not on the list, he or she may get their transcripts evaluated from an agency that is a member of the NACES or AICE. This evaluation has to be sent to the IMA. The candidate also has to send an official transcript (in English) to the IMA for reference.

In case the university is unwilling to provide an official transcript, the candidate can mail a notarized copy of the transcript to the IMA. (Note: Documents sent through email or fax are not accepted as the documents must be originals with the raised seal of the university or notary.)

  1. Length of Undergraduate Degree

The IMA accepts undergraduate degrees of a minimum of 3 years. If a candidate’s degree was a 2-year program, he or she must check with the IMA directly for exemptions and acceptability.

  1. Ongoing Undergraduate Degree

Candidates who are still undergraduate students and are yet to complete their degree are allowed to appear for the examination, provide they are registered for at least 6 credits per semester during the academic year.

  1. Missing Undergraduate Degree
  • ACCA member: If the candidate is a fully qualified member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, he or she is allowed to appear for the examination under the mutual agreement between the IMA and the ACCA and is not required to have an undergraduate degree. The candidate can mail the ACCA-qualified membership confirmation to the following address:


10 Paragon Drive, Suite 1

Montvale, NJ 07645


  • Other professional qualifications: The latest version of the CMA Candidate Handbook contains a list of approved certifications that can either waive off the undergraduate degree or can be considered as partial credits. Major qualifications include CFA, CIA, CA (UK, India, Pakistan), CIMA, CPA (Canada).
  • Other cases: In the CMA Candidate Handbook, the IMA states that exemptions may be considered. Thus, if a candidate is serious about appearing for the examination, he or she may write to the IMA for exemption, if possible. It is advised to explain the reason for not getting an undergraduate degree, the experience, local certifications and other credentials that may deem them equivalent otherwise.
  1. More Details

For more details, refer to the CMA Candidate Handbook (pg. 3).

Candidates can also email the IMA at ima@imanet.org, or call at 800-638-4427 to speak with the examination certification assistant for answering further queries.

Experience Requirements

The requirements with regards to experience do not need to be met for taking the examination but have to be met for the certification.

The basic requirement is 2 consecutive years of management accounting experience. Apart from this, there are the 3 Tests on CMA Experience Requirements:

  1. Relevance of Work

The definition of “relevant work” as per the CMA Candidate Handbook (pg. 5) is given below:

Qualifying experience consists of positions requiring judgements regularly made employing the principles of management accounting and financial management. Such employment includes

  • Preparation of financial statements
  • Financial planning and analysis
  • Monthly, quarterly and year-end close
  • Auditing (internal or external)
  • Budget preparation and reporting
  • Manage general ledger and balance sheets
  • Forecasting
  • Company investment decision-making
  • Costing analysis
  • Risk evaluation

The work done can be in the form of an internal/external audit or financial analysis in a corporation. The work done is considered relevant as long as the work deals with analysing financial statements and their impact on the company or helping the company in making decisions regarding investments through analysis and reporting.

  1. Analysis Involved

If the work done is preparing and uploading journal entries, which is repetitive in nature, it is not considered as work experience since it does not involve any kind of analysis. Furthermore, the work experience is not considered if it is not accounting-related, i.e., if it is related to sales, marketing, human resource, or clerical work.

  1. Permanent Hire

A candidate’s permanent employment in a company is important from the IMA’s viewpoint. Internships and trainee work periods are not eligible.

Permanent full-time employment has to be for two consecutive years. Part-time employment is eligible so long it is 20 hours a week. Two years of part-time employment is equivalent to one year of full-time employment.

Special cases: The IMA is flexible with regards to special cases if any. It is advised to check with the IMA to find out whether the work experience is eligible or not.

More questions: Candidates can fill up a work verification form and email it to the IMA. Candidates can also email the IMA at ima@imanet.org, or call at 800-638-4427 to speak with the examination certification assistant for answering further queries.

FAQs on Experience Requirement

  1. Is there a deadline to acquire the work experience? Is experience gained before the examination considered?

Work experience can be acquired prior to or within seven years after completing the examination. There is no limitation on the experience gained prior to the examination. Teaching experience is considered too.

  1. Is part-time work experience considered?

Yes. However, the part-time work experience must be of a minimum of 20 hours a week. Two years of part-time employment is equivalent to one year of full-time employment.

  1. Are internships and trainee programs considered?


  1. Is work experience in an accounting firm as a supporting/administrative role considered?

Non-accounting positions in sales, marketing, IT, and human resource and administration are not considered as work experience. However, if a candidate has multiple roles with both administrative and accounting job responsibilities, it is advised that the candidate highlights and focuses on the accounting side of the work experience in the work verification form.