Contact Us : 800.874.5346        International: +1 352.375.0772
Contact Us : 800.874.5346        International: +1 352.375.0772

Certified Internal Auditor Salary

A comprehensive guide to your expected salary in this rewarding career.

What is the expected Certified Internal Auditor salary (CIA)?

According to Payscale, the average salary for a Certified Internal Auditor is $97,000. By comparison, non-certified internal auditors make about $71,000 per year on average. As with most careers, there are many factors that can determine your earning potential as a CIA. This page is a resource dedicated to helping you understand what those factors are, and what you can do to set yourself up to maximize your internal auditor salary.

Use the jump links to access different sections throughout this guide.

Average Certified Internal Auditor Salary

A CIA is a trained professional employed by companies and organizations to provide independent and objective evaluations of operations involving risk management, control processes, and governance processes. 

With that level of responsibility, it’s reasonable to expect an internal auditor’s salary to reflect that job description. The average salary for a Certified Internal Auditor is $97,000 according to Payscale, $26,000 more than the average for internal auditors without a certification.

The IIA’s 2017 Internal Audit Compensation Study revealed that CIAs can earn as much as 51% more than non-certified internal auditors. This should compel aspiring internal auditors to pursue certification. 

Earning your certification can provide a greater boost to your internal auditor salary than other commonly recommended ways to increase your income, such as moving to a bigger city, changing to a larger organization, or even gaining years of experience.

Try the #1 CIA Prep Course for Free.

How does experience affect CIA salary?

As with most careers, if you are applying to your first internal auditing job, your experience is reflected in the quality of your school, your grades, the prestige of your internships, and any applicable extracurricular activities.

According to Robert Half, the expected salary range for an entry-level Internal Auditor is $50,250 – $62,500, with a national average of $55,500. Once you get that first job, experience starts to include accrued time working in the industry, your accomplishments, and your professional references.

Robert Half also outlines key skills managers are willing to pay a higher salary for:

  • Financial reporting
  • Financial modeling
  • Management experience 
  • Data analytics

The chart below reflects the standard career path for aspiring auditors to consider:

Entry Level Auditor
1 Year

Hitting that year one milestone is a great accomplishment. It’s going to come fast and furious, but the amount of information and exposure you’ll get makes it all worth it.

Junior Level Auditor
1-3 Years

After cutting your teeth in year one, the next three years have a higher expectation for responsibility. Gaining this experience and increased responsibility can also come with a 50% in your salary.

Senior Auditor
3-5 Years

When you become a Senior Auditor, you become responsible for managing and training entry-level CIAs. In addition, you will still have day-to-day responsibilities, and another 20% salary increase should be expected.

Internal Audit Manager
5+ Years

At this point, you become the leader of the audit team. This will require you to handle the delegation and supervision of many tasks and teams. You will also incur more of the responsibility for the performance of that department. An average of 29% more salary should be expected.

How do qualifications affect CIA salary?

We get a more complete picture of who earns what level of salary when we look at different Internal Audit job positions and earning percentiles in Robert Half’s 2024 Salary Guide.

Robert Half is a leading staffing and employment services company, which provides starting compensation ranges for specific accounting and finance positions by percentiles, including a certified internal auditor salary.

Position 25th Percentile 50th Percentile 75th Percentile
Chief Audit Executive/Vice President, Internal Audit/Internal Audit Director $138,250 $194,250 $223,250
Manager of Internal Audit – Corporate Accounting $108,250 $129,000 $154,500
Senior Internal Auditor – Corporate Accounting $84,000 $100,750 $118,750
Internal Auditor, 1-3 Years’ Experience – Corporate Accounting $66,250 $82,750 $96,500
Entry-Level Internal Auditor – Corporate Accounting $50,250 $55,500 $62,500

Average salary as reported by the 2024 Robert Half Salary Guide.

The Robert Half Salary Guide Report from 2024 also outlined the personas of those who fit these different groups by percentile. 

This can be helpful for anyone looking at their own qualifications, and assessing how that may translate to their internal auditor salary – regardless of where they are in their career.

25th Percentile

Candidates who do not have a lot of experience, require skill development, and need instruction to perform their job tasks.

50th Percentile

Candidates with an average amount of experience, the necessary skills to meet the job requirements, and who are comfortable with their tasks and do not require supervision.

75th Percentile

Candidates with a higher-than-average amount of experience, have a strong skill set compared to most of their peers, and who make valuable contributions to the organization.

As expected, the complexity of an auditor’s role, as well as their experience level, is going to have a great influence on their internal auditor salary. After you earn your certification status, the amount of experience you have is the next most important factor when determining your salary as an auditor.

Consider, however, the most highly specialized auditor probably isn’t going to be earning in the 75th percentile if they are working in a smaller, less robust organization. At the same time, there exist some larger, more complex organizations that pay their entry-level auditors more than smaller organizations pay experienced internal auditors.

The CIA is one of the top certifications that can give you a nudge toward the upper 75th percentile. In fact, for many senior positions, the CIA is among the minimum requirements.

The money is great, but so are
The other benefits of being a Certified Internal Auditor you didn’t know about.

How does company size affect CIA Salary?

Large organizations are often able to pay a premium to attract top talent. The more employees and assets an organization has, the more complex various audit functions become, and their internal auditor salaries reflect that. Generally speaking, the larger the company, the higher the pay for a given role, and the better defined your career path will be within that company.

Large Organizations Small Organizations

The company provides convenient services like gyms, cafeterias, and daycare at the work site.

More competition and hierarchy which can make it difficult to affect change.

A louder voice in company decision-making (i.e. insurance plans, hiring). Less bureaucracy.

More difficult to balance work and life with your company only able to support you so far.

According to the Robert Half Salary Guide, companies are experiencing an accountant shortage and are struggling to hire. Fewer college students are getting accounting degrees, so companies are having a hard time hiring entry-level employees. Companies are also struggling to hire experienced staff because their skills are sought out by many employers. Companies are offering more flexibility, such as remote work flexibility, to attract and retain workers.

Auditors are in high demand, so now is a great time to go into accounting, and the CIA will help you land an even bigger starting internal auditor salary at more competitive organizations.

Successful strategies for landing skilled accountants include offering competitive salaries and allowing staff to work from home at least a couple of days per week.

Robert Half Salary Guide (2024)

How does geographic location affect CIA salary?

In general, the bigger the city, the higher the median internal auditor salary. There’s more competition, more opportunity, more capital in cities, and a rising tide lifts all ships. That said, the cost of living is higher in metropolitan areas, some more so than others, so location isn’t everything. If you dislike the cold and aren’t comfortable in a big city, you don’t have to live in New York or Chicago.

Auditors are generally well-compensated, so it is advisable to first find a place you want to live or an organization you want to work for and then allow the adjustments in the table below to inform your salary expectations.

Regardless of the location, Certified Internal Auditors earn more than their non-certified peers.

City, State Average Salary*
New York, NY  $114,195
Chicago, IL
Boston, MA $110,058
Houston, TX $91,025
Denver, CO $96,818

*Average Internal Auditor Salary according to Robert Half’s 2024 Salary Guide

Is becoming a CIA worth it?

Any way you look at it, getting your credential is one of the best career decisions you can make as an internal auditor, and the benefits it brings far outweigh the initial cost of the CIA exam

You can enjoy a satisfying and prosperous career as a CIA. If you’re ready to get started, we’re here to help. 

Are you ready to see why Gleim is the most widely used CIA review?
Unlock an entire topic in our free demo.