The CMA exam costs between $850 and $1,350, depending on whether you’re a student, professor, or professional. This is in addition to any additional expenses (e.g., travel or review materials). This page breaks down each of the CMA fees you need to pay and offers a few tips on how you can save money.
|Total CMA Designation Cost|
NOTE: All fees are presented in U.S. dollars.
We’ve already shown that taking the CMA exam as a student can save you hundreds of dollars. Another great way to save money is to make sure you’re prepared for the CMA 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.
The only way to do this is by working with a CMA review provider and dedicating enough time to study for the CMA exam. Don’t sit for such an expensive exam without knowing what to expect on exam day.
To qualify for student pricing with IMA, 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.
NOTE: Gleim offers special prices to current students! Visit our student page to see how you can save on all your certification exam materials!
To qualify for academic pricing with IMA, you need to be a full-time faculty at an accredited institution. Qualifying reduces membership dues by 50% and the price of various services/fees.
The first step to becoming a CMA is being an active member of Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). IMA is a global association of financial professionals and accountants with over 125,000 members and the only organization to offer the CMA.
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 registration fee of $15.
There are three types of memberships: Professional, Student, and Academic. The Professional membership is the standard membership. If you qualify for Student or Academic, you may enjoy access to many IMA membership benefits at significantly reduced rates, including reduced CMA entrance and exam fees.
In addition to being a CMA requirement, IMA members enjoy other benefits. These benefits include access to free CPE opportunities, discounts on some CPE courses, access to local IMA chapters and councils, discounted services, and more.
IMA Membership Fees
$230 + $15
$120 + $15
One year – $39
Two year – $78
NOTE: Students may also opt to purchase a two-year membership, but the price is the same as 2 one-year memberships.
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.
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
NOTE: 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.
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.
NOTE: 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.
CMA Exam Fees (per part)
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 up front, but it takes the guesswork out of your preparations. Plus, you’ll be following a system that has helped many other candidates to pass their exams.
The best way to review is by working with a review provider. The price of a review course can vary, but $600 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.
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.
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.
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!
In general, yes, becoming a CMA will be cheaper than becoming a CPA. This isn’t as cut and dry 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.
|Average Cost for Account Certification|
Exam Fees + Review Materials
~ $2,900 ($1,300 + $1,600)
~ $3,300 ($1,300 + $2,000)
~ $2,000 ($1,000 + $1,000)
~$6,200 ($2,200 + $4,000)
As you can see, on average becoming a CMA will cost you about $2,500. On the other hand, becoming a CPA will cost you around $3,300.