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CMA Exam Cost

Know the upfront investment to take the next step in your career

Don’t let the CMA exam costs stop you from becoming a Certified Management Accountant

Yes, there is a spend. However, that spend can pay for itself many times over once you begin earning more as a CMA. Keep reading to learn:

How much does the CMA exam cost?

The CMA exam costs around $1,000 to $1,600 depending on whether you’re a student, professor, or professional. Keep in mind that there are additional expenses such as travel and review materials. After becoming an IMA member and entering into the CMA program, you will register and pay for each of the two exam parts separately.

CMA exam cost factors

Since CMA exam costs vary by IMA membership type, this table will help you quickly see how much you can expect to pay based on where you are in your career right now. We explain the fees in greater detail as you scroll down the page.

Total CMA Exam Costs
Membership Type Membership Fee Entrance Fee Exam Fee Total Cost
Professional $295* $300 $990 $1,585
Academic $160* $225 $740 $1,125
Student $49 $225 $740 $1,014

*Professional and Academic Memberships Fees include a one-time processing fee of $15.

IMA Membership Fees

The first step to becoming a CMA is being an active member of Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) Opens in new window, which facilitates the CMA certification.

In order to join IMA, you need to select a membership type and pay an annual membership fee. Depending on the membership type, you will need to pay a one-time processing fee of $15.

There are three types of memberships: Professional, Student, and Academic. Professional is the standard membership for working professionals. If you qualify for Student or Academic status, you can enjoy access to many IMA membership benefits at significantly reduced rates, including reduced CMA entrance and exam fees.


IMA Membership Fees
Membership Type Fee
Professional $295*
Academic $160*
Student $49

*Professional and Academic Memberships Fees include a one-time processing fee of $15.

How can I save money on becoming a CMA?

Your IMA membership type determines the amounts of all the CMA-related fees you’ll have to pay. Taking the CMA exam as a student or professor can save you hundreds of dollars. Another great way to save on CMA exam costs is to make sure you’re prepared for the exam before you sit for it. It sounds obvious, but you’ll be paying between $311 and $415 each time you sit for a part of the CMA exam, so the best way to save money is to make sure you pass each part the first time. If you fail a part, you’ll need to repay the fee.

The way to put yourself in the best position to only pay CMA exam costs once is to choose a CMA review provider and dedicate enough time to study for the CMA exam.

How do I qualify for student pricing with IMA?

To qualify, you must be enrolled in six credit hours at a university or college. If you have already graduated from a university program, you are unable to qualify for student pricing. If you have already purchased another type of IMA membership, you are unable to qualify for student membership, even if you are currently enrolled.

Students receive significantly reduced CMA fees, so it is beneficial for candidates to begin their CMA journey while they are still students.

In addition, students can save time studying by making good use of their accounting courses. Many accounting classes cover material that is testable on the exam.

Gleim offers special prices to current students! Visit our student page to see how you can save on all your certification exam materials!

CMA Scholarship Program

IMA offers scholarships to high-achieving students so that they can complete the CMA Program for free. Faculty members can nominate up to 5 students at their university each school year. Scholarship recipients will receive a free Gleim review course to prepare them for the CMA exam! Professors can download the CMA Scholarship nomination form and email it to

How do I qualify for academic pricing with IMA?

To qualify for academic pricing with IMA, you need to be a full-time faculty member at an accredited institution. Qualifying reduces membership dues by 50% and the price of various services/fees.

CMA Opportunity Program

IMA offers a special program for full-time faculty IMA members. The CMA Opportunity program allows faculty to complete an application for the chance to have their CMA entrance fee and CMA exam fees paid for by the IMA.

To apply for this program, download the CMA Opportunity PDF application and email it to

CMA Entrance Fees

After becoming an IMA member, you need to enroll in the CMA program. Joining the CMA program requires payment of a CMA entrance fee. The fee varies based on your type of membership. This fee is non-refundable and membership into the CMA program expires after three years. If both parts of the CMA exam are not successfully completed within the three-year CMA program period, your scores will expire and you will have to repay the fee.

This fee covers the verification of your education and experience, a CMA exam support package (including some retired exam questions), your score reports, and a personalized certificate for display upon completion of the program.


CMA Entrance Fees
Membership Type Fee
Professional $300
Academic $225
Student $225


CMA Exam Fees

Once you are a member of the CMA program, you can register for the CMA exam. You register and pay for each part of the CMA exam separately.

If you fail a part of the CMA exam, you will need to repay the CMA exam fee in order to retake that part of the exam. If you need to cancel or reschedule your exam appointment, you will have to pay a rescheduling fee


CMA Exam Fees (per part)
Membership Type  Fee
Professional $495
Academic $370
Student $370

CMA cost for exam review materials

However you decide to study for the CMA exam has an associated cost.

Studying from accounting textbooks you already have on-hand from your coursework can save you money on materials, but it has massive opportunity costs. You have to spend time figuring out what and how much to study, and you likely will have to purchase additional books to make sure you get complete content coverage. Get it wrong, and you may have to pay to retake part of the exam.

Working with a time-tested review provider will require you to spend money upfront, but it takes the guesswork out of your exam prep. Plus, you’ll be following a system that has helped many other candidates pass their exams.

The best way to review is by working with a review provider. The price of a review course can vary, but $1,000 to $2,000 is standard for most providers. Some providers will charge a bit more if they offer additional services, so be sure to look beyond the price tag to see what you’re actually getting.

CMA cost for travel and accommodations

Depending on where you live, you may have to take the exam at a distant testing center. Be sure to consider where you plan to sit for the exam while you’re making your budget. In addition, make sure you register for the CMA exam early to secure the most convenient exam date, time, and location. 

Ongoing CMA exam costs

Even after you pass the CMA exam, you need to remain a member of IMA to keep your designation active. For most candidates, this means paying the professional membership fee of $245 annually.

In addition, CMAs need to complete 30 hours of continuing education each year. These courses usually cost between $8-12 an hour, but many CPE providers offer discounts when you purchase continuing education hours as a part of a package. Plus, you can get a free Gleim CPE course!

Is becoming a CMA cheaper than becoming a CPA?

In general, yes, becoming a CMA will be cheaper than becoming a CPA. This isn’t as cut and dried as it sounds though, because the largest cost for becoming a CPA is usually the study materials. In general, CMA study materials will cost less than CPA study materials.

Lets compare the cost of becoming a CMA with the other major accounting certifications.

Is the CMA designation worth it?

Earning your CMA designation unlocks a lifetime of additional earnings, professional advancement, and a connected network to thousands of other financial and management professionals.

With our years of experience and exceptional results, Gleim CMA has perfected the CMA prep that can guide you to CMA exam success. See why more accountants choose Gleim by signing up for access to our free CMA demo today!

Average Cost for Accounting Certification



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As you can see, on average becoming a CMA will cost you about $3,000. On the other hand, becoming a CPA will cost you around $4,200.

In the U.S., the average Certified Management Accountant salary is $105,000, and the average non-CMA salary is $90,000. The salary increase you’ll take home by earning your CMA far outweighs the cost of taking the exam!