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Earning the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation is a smart move for ambitious internal audit professionals. It’s a mark of distinction that showcases your deep understanding of internal audit best practices and methodologies. If you’re looking to propel your career forward, the CIA certification is a strategic step to consider!

This blog will guide you through what it takes to become a CIA, including the requirements and associated costs. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. The Key Ingredients
  2. The Investment
  3. Next Steps

    Becoming a CIA: The Key Ingredients

    The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), the governing body for the CIA designation, outlines four main requirements:

    • Education: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree (or higher), or be on track to complete your degree through an accredited program.
    • Experience: At least 5 years of work experience are essential or academic or certification exemptions. The below table summarizes waevers:
    Certification Exemptions
    CPAEducation requirement
    ACCAEducation and Experience requirement
    Academic Exemptions
    Master’s Degree (or equivalent)12 Months – internal auditing experience or its equivalent
    Bachelor’s Degree (or equivalent)24 Months – internal auditing experience or its equivalent
    Associate’s Degree, three A-level certificates, grade C or higher (or equivalent)60 Months – internal auditing experience or its equivalent

    Relevant work in external audit, internal controls, compliance, or quality assurance can also be considered by the IIA.

    • Exams: You’ll need to conquer all three parts of the CIA exam, scoring 600 or higher. The exam covers a comprehensive range of internal auditing topics.
    • Ethics: Upholding the IIA’s Code of Ethics is a core requirement. You’ll have three years to complete all the steps.

    The Investment in Your CIA Journey

    Here’s a breakdown of the main costs involved:

    • Application Fee: The IIA charges a one-time application fee to enter the program.
    • Exam Fees: There are separate fees for each of the three CIA exams.
    EXAM FEESMemberNon-MemberStudent
    Application Fee​US $120​US $240US $65
    CIA Part 1 Exam ​US $310​US $445US $245
    CIA Part 2 Exam ​US $280​US $415US $215
    CIA Part 3 Exam ​US $280​US $415US $215
    • Study Materials: From textbooks to online courses and practice exams, numerous resources are available to help you ace the exams. Costs will vary depending on the format you choose.
    • Membership (Optional): While not mandatory, becoming an IIA member offers perks like exam fee discounts and access to valuable professional development resources.

    Next Steps

    If you’re interested in pursuing the CIA certification, here are some steps you can take:

    By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision about pursuing your CIA certification and take a significant step forward in your internal auditing career.