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Contact Us : 800.874.5346        International: +1 352.375.0772

CIA Certification Resource Center

How to earn your CIA certification

Earning your Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification involves meeting several requirements set by The Institute of Internal Auditors (The IIA). This page covers the basic steps you need to complete in order to get your CIA certification, including passing the CIA exam.

For detailed information on a given topic, visit the quick links provided below.


Decide what benefits you’re looking for in your career

Staying motivated is one of the most important parts of becoming a CIA, so it is important that you remind yourself of the many benefits the CIA certification confers. This is the best way to keep your preparations in perspective and ensure your path to the CIA certification is a smooth one.

Passing the CIA exam takes a considerable investment, both financially and in opportunity costs, but the benefits of the CIA certification are undeniable. Higher earning potential, upward mobility, increased job satisfaction, recognition: there are plenty of reasons to become a CIA.

Identify the CIA requirements you meet and make a plan

In order to become a CIA, you must meet The IIA’s education, experience, and examination requirements. You can sit for the CIA exam before you’ve completed the education and experience requirements.

Before you begin your CIA journey, check out the current CIA requirements to see which ones you already meet and which ones you’ll need to make plans to meet. Earning your CIA certification could take a lot less time than you’d think, depending on where you are in your accounting career.

Create a profile with the Certification Candidate Management System (CCMS)

All CIA candidates must have a profile with CCMS. There is no fee for creating or maintaining your CCMS profile.
To create your CCMS profile:

  • From the CCMS website, click Create Account under “Don’t have an account yet?”
  • Complete the required information.
  • Once your account is created, you will be brought back to the main CCMS page. Click on Sign In.
  • Continue to fill out your personal information to complete your profile.
  • Once your profile is complete, you’ll be brought to the CCMS home page. On the right will be a summary of your profile, and on the left will be a list of certifications you can apply for.

You will use CCMS for several parts of the CIA certification process.

The CCMS Quick Start Guide provides more information about how to use CCMS.

Enroll in the CIA certification program

After you have a CCMS profile, you will be able to apply to the CIA certification program. This will require you to pay an application fee and submit required documentation. Your CIA application will be valid for 3 years. Required documents include:

Proof of identity

Acceptable proof of identity includes: government-issued driver’s license, passport, military ID, alien registration card, local language ID.

Proof of education

Acceptable proof of education includes: copy of degree, official transcripts, letter from your college/university, letter from educational records evaluation service.

Proof of experience

You will need to complete The IIA’s experience verification form and have it approved by The IIA.

Create a study plan for the CIA exam

Three years might seem like a long time, but without a study plan, you could quickly find that time dwindling down. The CIA exam is divided into three parts that, you must schedule, sit for, and pass separately in order to earn your CIA certification.

It is important to begin thinking about your study plan early in the process. Make sure you are aware of any upcoming changes to the exam, as they can affect your plan. Once you sit down with a calendar and cross out all of the days you’re unable to study, you might find yourself with less time than you’d expect.

Register for the CIA exam

Once you have been accepted to the CIA program, you will receive an email notification from The IIA. Proof of identity, education, and character must be accepted before you are able to register for and schedule your exam.

To register for the exam, log into CCMS and select “Manage My Program.” Click on the CIA part you plan to sit for on the left side navigation menu and click “Register.” You will be responsible for the examination fee at this point.

Once you have registered for a CIA exam part, you have 180 days to sit for that part. If you do not schedule and sit for the CIA exam within the 180-day period, you will forfeit your CIA exam fees and need to register for the CIA exam again. Because of this, it is important that you are confident your study preparations will be complete within that 180-day window before you register.

Schedule your CIA exam appointment

You can schedule your testing appointment through CCMS as soon as your registration is processed.

Because testing dates can fill up quickly, it is important to plan out your testing appointments in advance. Otherwise, you may have to go to an inconvenient testing center or have to test at a non-ideal time.

Starting April 29, 2020 The IIA started offering testing at home as a trial period. You can find out more information on our CIA Changes page.

After you schedule your exam, you will receive an appointment confirmation by email. This email will include information about the test center location you selected.

You are able to reschedule your testing appointment with at least 24 hours’ notice, but you will have to pay a rescheduling fee.

NOTE: If a testing center is closed due to natural disaster or other outside circumstances, you will not be charged to reschedule the CIA exam.

Pass all parts of the CIA exam

After you’ve enrolled in the CIA program, you have three years to pass all three sections of the CIA exam. The CIA exam is hard—fewer than half of test takers pass each part of the CIA exam. Working with a great review system will help you reach this goal and save you a lot of time and money.

After you’ve passed all three parts of the CIA exam, you’ll have to fulfill the experience and education requirements, if you hadn’t already, in order to receive the CIA certification.

Receive your CIA certification

Once you’ve met the examination, experience, and education requirements, you will be eligible for CIA certification.

To maintain your certificate, you must meet The IIA’s continuing education requirements. As a CIA you are required to complete your continuing education hours, including 2 hours of ethics, by December 31 annually.

Meeting these requirements will not only ensure you continue to benefit from the CIA certification, but they will help you develop an even deeper knowledge of accounting, audit, and ethics procedures, as well as stay on top of current trends.