US CMA Programme: Duration, Fees, Syllabus

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The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) program offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) in the USA is a prestigious certification that provides numerous benefits to professionals in the field of accounting and finance. 

A CMA leads the accounting and finance aspect of an organisation as opposed to accountants who are only responsible for primarily tax and auditing. A CMA’s portfolio also includes financial analysis, decision-making, and risk management.

If you are a prospective candidate of the US CMA programme, searching for exam-related details, this blog is for you. Read on to learn all about the CMA exam duration, fees, and syllabus. 

Exam duration

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The CMA exam takes about 12-18 months to be completed depending on the candidate’s skill, focus and dedication. However, the US CMA programme must be completed within 36 months or 3 years from registering with IMA.

The Part 1 and Part 2 exams can be taken thrice a year. The three testing windows are - 

  • January-February
  • May-June
  • September-October

Exam fees 

The CMA USA programme fees vary depending on whether the candidate is a professional member or a student/academic member of IMA. The IMA membership is different for a professional as opposed to a student.

For professional members, the total cost of the US CMA programme, including the entrance fee, Part 1 and Part 2 fees, and the IMA membership fee, is $1,460. On the other hand, for student/academic members, the total cost is $1035. Candidates are required to pay separately for each part of the exam.

The CMA entrance fee is non-refundable. However, the exam fee is refundable within 30 days of payment if the candidate has not scheduled his exam with the Prometric.

Fees breakdown

Candidate Type Fee Type Fees
Professional Members IMA Registration fee $260
Entrance fee $280
Exam fee $460+$460 = $920
Student/Academic Members IMA Registration fee $135
Entrance fee $210
Exam fee $345+$345 = $690

US CMA exam syllabus

The US CMA programme syllabus covers 12 core competencies required for a CMA to succeed professionally. The exam is held in 2 parts, each covering 6 areas of accounting and finance. 

Part 1 is broadly focused on Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics and covers external financial reporting decisions, performance management, planning, budgeting, and forecasting, cost management, technology and analytics and internal controls. 

Part 2 is focused on Strategic Financial Management and covers financial statement analysis, corporate finance, decision analysis, investment decisions, risk management, and professional ethics.  

Area Weightage

The tables below list the areas included in Part 1 and Part 2 and the weightage each carries in the CMA exam.

Part 1

Financial Planning, Performance and Analytics Weightage
Planning, budgeting and forecasting 20%
Technology and analysis 15%
Cost Management 15%
External financial reporting decisions 15%
Performance management 20%
Internal controls 15%

Part 2

Strategic Financial Management Weightage
Investment decisions 10%
Financial statement analysis 20%
Risk Management 10%
Corporate finance 20%
Decision analysis 25%
Professional Ethics 15%

The CMA exam is computer-based. Each part comprises 100 multiple choice questions or MCQs and 2 essay-based questions. The US CMA programme tests a candidate on 500 in each part of the exam, for which they must score a minimum of 360 in each part to pass. 

Career scope of US CMA

The CMA is an ‘A’ level certification accorded by the IMA and is globally accepted by leading financial organisations and businesses. A CMA has a plethora of career scopes available. Some job profiles a CMA is eligible for include Finance Manager, Treasurer, Finance Controller, Senior Analyst, Budget Analyst, Internal Auditor, and Cost Accountant. 

A CMA certification can land job roles in prestigious companies like Deloitte, PwC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, and HP. An entry-level CMA in the US can earn $79,534 on average. The figure increases with an increase in experience. A senior CMA with more than 8 years of experience can earn up to $141,356, while the average salary of CMAs is around $113,799 annually.

Responsibilities of a CMA

Some core responsibilities of a CMA in the US are:

  • CMAs are frequently responsible for analysing financial data, formulating budgets, and predicting future financial performance.
  • CMAs play a key role in monitoring and managing the performance of various departments within an organisation.
  • CMAs are knowledgeable in cost accounting procedures and are crucial in analysing and managing organisational expenses.
  • CMAs are responsible for building and maintaining effective internal control systems to protect assets, ensure regulatory compliance, and manage risks.
  • CMAs contribute to the planning and implementation of strategic financial plans.
  • CMAs ensure that accounting standards and regulatory obligations are met and offer stakeholders information on financial performance.
  • CMAs frequently function as management's business partners, offering financial analysis and support for decision-making processes. They assist in evaluating the financial impact of various company activities, risk assessment, financial modelling and scenario analysis.


The best way to begin your journey as a CMA is to enrol in a CMA prep course. Imarticus’s Certified Management Accountant course covers all the 12 core skills extensively required to ace the CMA exam. Join today to prepare better for the US CMA programme!

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