How to Save Money on CIA Exam Fees

How to Save Money on CIA Exam Fees

The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification offers a variety of career benefits to internal auditors, including increased earning potential. But before the CIA starts to expand your bank account, it’s going to cost you. You’ll have to pay several CIA exam fees to become a CIA, and while the certification is worth the financial investment, you don’t want to pay more than necessary. Thankfully, there are ways to keep your CIA budget at a minimum. We’ll explain how to save money on CIA exam fees.

How to Save Money on CIA Exam Fees

Here are five ways to cut CIA exam costs. Take advantage of the ones that work for you.

1. Become an IIA member.

We recommend joining The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) before you begin CIA exam registration because IIA members pay lower exam fees than non-members. As you can see in the table below, IIA members can save $115 on each fee.

CIA Certification Fee Structure: Members vs. Non-Members
Fee Member Non-Member
Application Fee US $115 US $230
CIA Exam Part 1 Fee US $280 US $395
CIA Exam Part 2 Fee US $230 US $345
CIA Exam Part 3 Fee US $230 US $345
Total US $855 US $1,315

IIA membership not only saves you $460 on exam costs, but it also affords other incentives, such as premium access to the latest information about the profession, deep discounts on world-class training, and exclusive networking opportunities.

However, IIA membership comes with its own annual charges, which vary by membership type.

IIA Membership Fees
Membership Type US Canada*
Professional US $255 US $280
Government US $160 US $165
Educator US $145 US $150
Student US $40 US $40
Retired US $85 US $85
International Please review our CIA Exam Guide for details.

*For drafts drawn on banks outside the U.S., please add US $30 to cover bank collection charges.


If you pass all three parts of the CIA exam in one year, which is completely possible, your certification fee savings will more than offset the membership fee. But if passing takes longer, the amount you’ve paid for IIA membership could exceed the amount saved on CIA certification. Still, you may decide to retain IIA membership after you pass so you can continue to utilize members-only resources like complimentary CPE webinars and discounted rates on in-person, online, and on-demand training. If you’re a North American IIA member, you can also have your CPE reporting fee waived. These are just a few of the many benefits you may find worthwhile as an IIA member. As some of these savings encompass CPE, which you are required to fulfill after you pass, your IIA membership can help you further minimize expenses even if you need more than one year to pass the exam.

2. Start the CIA exam process as a student.

When you’re an IIA member, passing the CIA exam within a year saves money. But when you’re a student, passing the CIA exam while still in school saves even more. Glancing back up at the IIA Membership Fees table, you can see that the IIA puts the lowest price tag on student membership (US $40). But as a student, you don’t even have to be an IIA member to pay less on CIA certification. You’ll already save a total of $200 more than professional members, as this table demonstrates.

CIA Certification Fee Structure: Students
Fee Student
Application Fee US $65
CIA Exam Part 1 Fee US $230
CIA Exam Part 2 Fee US $180
CIA Exam Part 3 Fee US $180
Total US $655

The IIA offers these discounts to students because students can sit for the CIA exam during their final year of school. They just can’t be certified until they complete the education requirement. To qualify for the student discounts, you must either be

  • Enrolled as a full-time student (enrolled in at least 12 semester hours or equivalent) in your senior (final) year as defined by your institution or
  • Enrolled as a full-time graduate student (enrolled in at least nine semester hours or equivalent) as defined by your institution.

Clearly, one of the thriftiest ways to take the CIA exam is to do so as a student. Passing the exam while in school is also easier because you’re still in study mode and the information is fresh in your mind.

Professors can also save on CIA exam fees. To qualify for discounted pricing as a professor, you must both

  • Be a full- or part-time professor at an accredited educational institution and
  • Provide a letter from your local IIA chapter or institute supporting your request for professor-status pricing.

3. Utilize free study materials.

Once you begin the process of studying for the CIA exam, you can continue to save money on CIA costs by using free CIA exam study materials. Examples of such free materials include

  • CIA exam study guides
    A free CIA exam study guide, like the one we’ve linked to here, covers the entirety of the CIA certification process. It tells you everything you need to know about the exam syllabus, pass rates, certification requirements, exam questions, and time management and offers some study tips. Starting your CIA journey with such a guide saves you money (because it’s free) and a lot of time and frustration by consolidating important information in an easy-to-navigate digital book.
  • CIA exam questions
    Free CIA exam questions are another essential resource for saving money and preparing for the exam. The free questions you’ll find at the link look just like the ones you’ll see on the CIA exam, so they’ll introduce you to the exam environment. They’ll also show you what the exam content is like, and once you answer them, give you a score broken down by topic. These free questions even contain detailed answer explanations for both the correct and incorrect answer choices. Practicing with free questions like these expands your study resources and increases your exam-day confidence.
  • CIA webinars and videos
    If you want to really maximize your CIA funds, sign up for access to free CIA webinars and videos. This library includes over 20 video lectures addressing everything from in-depth explorations of investments to beginner-level overviews of accounting basics. When you turn on free videos like these, you can learn enough to take your skills to the next level or just refresh yourself on foggy topics before you begin studying.

You won’t have to dip into your bank account right away if you use these free resources to start your CIA exam studies. However, you can’t rely on them for the entirety of your preparations because they can’t fully equip you to pass on their own. You can use these free materials throughout your studies, but you must combine them with a complete CIA review course so you have everything you need to pass. Only a CIA review course gives you enough exposure to the exam content and questions to equip you for exam success.

4. Buy the right CIA review course.

If you don’t prepare for the CIA exam sufficiently, you may fail an exam part, which will cost you more time and money, especially if it prevents you from passing within a year. Therefore, adequate preparation is one of the best ways to reduce exam costs, and the only way to ensure adequate preparation is to find the right CIA review course for you. The best course for you does the following:

  • Fits your learning style
  • Covers the exam content thoroughly
  • Provides unparalleled candidate support
  • Adjusts to your needs with adaptive technology
  • Gives you the most value for the price
  • Has an established history in the industry
  • Is highly acclaimed by testimonials and reviews

Doing your homework and researching review providers based on these traits helps you find your ideal CIA exam prep. Specifically, your research should include exploring the free demo that comes with the course (if provided), as this is a good way to see how well a course will work for you. Though the access periods and course portions vary per demo, some free CIA review trials offer more than a year of unlimited access to an entire study unit. That’s more than enough time to get to know a course and determine your compatibility with it.

5. Pass all three parts the first time.

Finally, one of the best ways to both save money and enjoy the benefits of the CIA as soon as possible is to pass all three parts on your first try. If you fail a CIA exam part, you must pay that part fee again, which means investing even more money and time into the certification process. You have four years from the time the IIA approves your application to complete the CIA certification process, and four years is plenty of time to prepare well enough to pass each part the first time you take it. The average amount of time successful candidates studied for each CIA exam part is as follows:

  • Part 1: 55-60 hours
  • Part 2: 55-60 hours
  • Part 3: 120 hours

If you study for just ten hours a week, you can be ready for Parts 1 and 2 in just five to six weeks and Part 3 in about three months. We know life gets hectic, but when you use the best CIA review course on the market and give yourself plenty of study time, you really can pass each part the first time. And when you do, your wallet will thank you.

How to Get the Best Value in CIA Review

Taking these steps helps you avoid breaking the bank on CIA exam fees. But just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to settle for sub-standard CIA review. You can actually get the most widely-used CIA review course in the industry for a great value. Gleim CIA Review gives you all the high-quality study materials you need to pass at a reasonable price point (financing with Gleim Financing¹ is also available!). Our SmartAdapt™ technology detects and targets your weak areas so you can study more effectively. By adapting to your performance to consistently strengthen your weak areas, SmartAdapt enables you to pass on your first attempt, save time, and ultimately save money on the CIA process. Our course also includes our one-of-a-kind video lectures, our comprehensive test bank, assistance from exam mentors and accounting experts, and unmatched exam emulation. Our Premium System even comes with our Access Until You Pass® guarantee, which gives you course access and free updates for as long as you’re studying. With this guarantee, you don’t have to worry about paying for an extension on your course access if your CIA exam plans experience unexpected delays.

Gleim CIA Review is here to help you pass the CIA exam as efficiently and economically as possible. Start preparing for CIA success for less by accessing our free CIA exam resources today!



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