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Contact Us : 800.874.5346 | International: +1 352.375.0772

How to apply
to the CMA exam

Becoming a Certified Management Accountant requires you to apply to become a CMA. This will involve joining IMA, enrolling in the CMA program, passing the CMA exam, meeting IMA’s education and experience requirements, comply with the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice, and meet continuing education requirements.

Did you mean to get information about scheduling the CMA exam?

This page covers how to apply to the CMA exam, including how to join the IMA and enroll in the CMA program. If you’re looking for information on how to schedule for a testing window or make an exam appointment, see our scheduling the CMA exam resource page.

How to Join IMA

The first step toward becoming a CMA is to join IMA. Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) is an association of accountants and financial professionals. In addition to being a CMA requirement, IMA membership provides access to continuing education, leadership and networking opportunities, as well as a strong sense of community with fellow IMA members.

Applying to IMA is a simple process that requires you to fill out a short application and pay a membership and registration fee. The IMA membership fee varies depending on the type of membership you are eligible for:

  • $39 annual fee + $0 registration fee for students
  • $120 annual fee + $15 registration fee for full-time faculty
  • $230 annual fee + $15 registration fee for professionals

You need to maintain IMA membership in order to remain a CMA. As a part of maintaining active IMA membership, you will need to pay the membership fee annually. This is one year from when you join or renew each year.

NOTE: Each time you renew your IMA membership, you will need to select the membership type you qualify for. In other words, even if you initially apply as a student, once you graduate and need to renew your membership, you will need to join as a professional (this does not require an additional $15 registration fee).

Enrolling in the CMA Program

After you have applied to IMA, you need to join the CMA program. We’ll walk you through this process from the perspective of someone who is not currently an IMA member. 

Create an IMA account

You must provide your name, email address, and current mailing address.

NOTE: If you already have an account, by default your username will be the email address you used to register the account or your member number if you’ve already been a member. However, you are able to change this username, so it may not be an email address if you previously changed it to something else.

Select your CMA candidate package

There are three CMA program packages—Professional ($495), Student ($227), and Academic ($323). If you have not joined IMA, the price to join will be included in the cost of the CMA program (as shown above).

NOTE: You need to join the CMA program before you are eligible to sit for the CMA exam.

Each program includes the same benefits:

  • Access to the CMA support package

  • Personalized, numbered certificate upon completion

  • Employer notification of CMA designation (upon request)

  • Inclusion on list of all CMAs in good standing on IMA’s website

Provide your education details (if applicable)

If you selected the student membership, you will need to enter details about your education.

Find an IMA professional chapter

Select your country/state from the list provided and then select an IMA professional chapter from the options listed. Most regions will have one or more chapters to select from, but all regions will have an unaffiliated option.

NOTE: You can change your chapter membership each year when you renew your IMA membership.

IMA Chapters

An IMA Chapter is an exclusive organization that provides professional education programs, networking opportunities, and community service. The chapters routinely have meetings that members can attend.

IMA Chapters can even provide you discounts on your CMA exam review materials. If you have questions about how you can receive a discount on your CMA exam review materials, talk to your IMA Chapter leadership.

Select a CMA testing window, or don’t!

You’ll be given an opportunity to select a CMA exam testing window while you register for the CMA program. You can select a window and pay the CMA exam fee based on your membership type ($415 for Professionals or $311 for Students and Academics). If you’re not ready to select a testing window, you can skip this step using the small link just above the testing window options.

NOTE: Once you complete registration for a CMA testing window (i.e., pay for it), you will not be able to have that registration fee refunded. If you want to take that part of the CMA exam in a different testing window, you will need to pay the registration fee again.

For more information on how to select a CMA testing window and make your CMA exam testing appointment, visit our schedule the CMA exam resource page.

Pay for your CMA membership/program fees

The last step is to pay for everything you’ve selected. You’ll be taken to a page that displays the choices you made and their associated fees. Confirm that everything matches your intentions (paying close attention to the months/years if you selected a CMA exam testing window) and proceed to checkout.

You will need to provide a billing address, agree to a CMA support package (this is free when you enter into the CMA program), and pay for your fees before the process is complete. IMA accepts multiple payment types (MasterCard, VISA, Discover, American Express, and PayPal).

NOTE: For information on all of the CMA fees, visit our cost to become a CMA resource page.

CMA support package

Once you have joined the CMA program, you will receive a CMA exam support package that includes a limited number of CMA examination questions. While studying these questions alone won’t be enough to prepare you for the CMA exam, these questions are a valuable tool for all CMA candidates.

To prepare for how difficult the CMA exam is, you will need to partner with a CMA review provider, such as Gleim. The ICMA provides released questions to the review providers, so you can be confident that you will see former CMA exam questions during your review.

NOTE: If you have already selected a CMA review provider, your study time will be better spent working through the review provider’s materials. This is because while the support package’s questions represent a good baseline for CMA exam questions, they do not include thorough answer explanations. This limits how much you can learn from your mistakes, an essential step in all exam prep.

After applying to the CMA program

After you have enrolled in the CMA program, you will be eligible to schedule the CMA exam. We suggest you schedule the CMA exam early in your exam process because it will give you a good goal to work towards during your studies. Learn everything you need to know about scheduling the CMA exam and selecting a testing date on our schedule the CMA exam resource page.