How to Apply for the CMA Exam

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam consists of two parts that assess the knowledge and skills required to work as a management accountant. The CMA certification is widely recognized as a mark of excellence in the fields of accounting and finance. In this article, you will learn all the steps you need to take to sit for the CMA exams.

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility

Education Qualification

To become a CMA, you must meet one of the education requirements listed below and submit proof of education to the ICMA (Institute of Certified Management Accountants) within seven years of passing the CMA examination.

  • A Bachelor's degree from an approved college or university.

Degrees that are not accredited must be reviewed by an independent agency. All transcripts should be forwarded directly from your institution or university to this email address for verification.


  • Professional certifications

A listing of approved certifications can be found here.

An official letter from an approved certifying organization confirming you are a qualified member should be emailed directly from the certifying organization to this email address for verification.


You must submit all required educational documents translated in English in PDF format to along with your IMA membership number. In the event they require the original, you will be contacted by ICMA directly.


As a candidate for the CMA certification, you must have:

  • At Least two years of professional experience in management accounting and/or financial management, which can be completed before or within seven years of completing the examination.
  • Over a two-year period, full-time teaching of accounting or finance courses can count as related professional experience.
  • Part-time jobs may also count toward the criteria at the rate of one year of experience for every two years of part-time work.
  • Regular use of management accounting and financial management principles, such as financial planning, budget preparation, and tax accounting, should be required for qualifying experience.
  • Employment in non-related positions, internships, trainee, clerical or nontechnical positions do not fulfill this requirement. ICMA may verify work experience provided on the form.


You must be a member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) to apply for the CMA exam. You can apply for the (IMA) membership by following these steps:

  1. Go to the IMA website and click on "Join".
  2. Select the Membership Type: Choose the membership type that best fits your situation, such as Professional, Academic or Student.
  3. Create an Account: If you don't already have one, make one by entering your personal information and contact information. Simply log in if you have an account.
  1. Fill out the application: Fill out the online application with the necessary information, such as your education, work experience, and professional references.
  2. Pay the Membership Fees: After submitting your application, you must pay the membership fees. You can pay with a credit card online.

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) offers different types of membership with varying fees. The membership fees also depend on your location, as the fees may be different for members in different countries. The following are the IMA’s standard membership fees:

  • Professional Membership: $275/year
  • Academic Membership: $150/year
  • One-Year Student Membership: $45/year
  • Two-Year Student Membership: $90/year

In addition to the membership fees, there is also an application fee of $15 for first-time applicants.

  1. Wait for Approval: Your application will be considered after you have submitted it and paid the membership fees. Once your application is approved, you will be notified of your membership status.

Step 2: CMA Entrance Fee

The entrance fee for the CMA certification program must be paid before taking the examinations. You must complete the CMA program within three years from the date of entry into the program. If both exam parts are not successfully completed within three years of entering the certification program, any passed part will expire, and the CMA entrance fee will have to be repaid.

  • Log in to your IMA account.
  • Click on the "Certification" tab.
  • Click on "CMA."
  • Click on "Register."
  • Fill out the application form.
  • Pay the fees.

Step 3: Register for the CMA Exam

  • Log in to your IMA account.
  • Click on the "Certification" tab.
  • Click on "CMA."
  • Select the appropriate part and testing window.
  • Pay the exam fees.

Exam testing windows

The exams are available in the following testing windows:

Jan - February

May - June

September - October

Registration for each testing window closes on the 15th of the second month of the window: 15 Feb, 15 June, 15 October.

Step 4: Receive the Authorization to Test (ATT)

You will get an Authorization to Test (ATT) from the IMA via email after registering for the CMA exam. The ATT will have instructions on how to make an appointment for your exam.

You must set up your exam appointment within the six-month validity period of the ATT. Your ATT will expire and you will have to reapply for the exam if you do not schedule your exam appointment within six months.

Step 5: Schedule Your Exam Appointment

The CMA exam is available at Prometric testing centers. Visit the Prometric website to set up your CMA exam appointment.  Or call the Prometric test center in your area to make an appointment over the phone.

Online testing is no longer available for the CMA exams until further notice.

Step 6: Prepare for the Exam

The exam tests the knowledge and skills required for a management accountant to succeed in their profession. The exam is administered by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA), and it consists of two parts, each of which covers a different set of topics.

Step 7: Take the Exam

On the day of the exam, you must be on time (better to arrive at the Prometric Testing Center 30 minutes before the time of your appointment), bring your ATT (Authorization to Test) and two forms of identification, bring an approved calculator, and follow the instructions of the test center staff.

Schedule your exam at Prometric testing centers here. You can locate testing centers from the same link.

Step 8: Receive Your Results

The results of the exam will be available through your account on the IMA website within six weeks of the end of the testing window. You will receive an email notification when your results are available. If you pass both parts of the exam, you will be awarded the CMA certification. If you do not pass one or both parts of the exam, you can retake the exam by reapplying and paying the exam fees again.

Ready to start your CMA certification journey? Start by testing our free exam resources here.