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.
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.
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:
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).
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.
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.
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 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.