US CMA - A Course guide

CA foundation course


The CMA (Certified Management Accountant) certification has been the global benchmark for management accountants and financial professionals.

Here are a few major benefits of pursuing the CMA(USA) course:

  • Global Recognition
  • Higher Earnings
  • Flexibility in the course
  • Good career prospect

IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) is a worldwide association of accounting and finance professionals in the business.

CMA is IMA's certification for Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business.


To appear for exam :


To get certified

  • Complete Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university (in any major); and
  • Professional Work Experience 

Note: An accounting background is helpful but not required & All education verification needs to be submitted in English

Experience Requirement

Candidates for the CMA certification must complete two continuous years of professional experience in management accounting and/or financial management. This requirement may be completed prior to or within seven years of passing the examination.

Professional experience is expected to be gained in full-time employment.

Continuous part-time positions of 20 hours per week meeting the definition of qualified experience will count toward this requirement at a rate of one year of experience for every two years of part-time employment.




CMA India

Course Duration

1 Year

3 Years

Regulatory body

Institute of Management Accountants

Institute of Cost Accountants of India


Class 12 / UG

Class 12

Course format

2 parts

3 levels (foundation, intermediate and final level)

Pass Criteria

Minimum of 360 marks out of 500

40% for individual papers and 50% aggregate.


Globally recognized

Indian certification


Not applicable

15 months


CMA is considered as the highest level of certification in management, but the course credibility increases when it is awarded by IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) USA. 

Registration Fees


Entrance Fee

Exam Fee

Professional Members

$ 280 (Non-Refundable)

$ 460 per Part

Student / Academic Member

$ 210 (Non-Refundable)

$ 345 per Part

Discounts up to 50% are available if students undertake the course through accredited learning providers

IMA membership is additional and required. It is $260 for professionals and $45 for students with 1 year validity. One time Application Fees is applicable for professionals at $15.

CMA Examination

Candidates for CMA certification must complete all required examination parts.

Part 1

Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics

4 Hours

100 MCQs & 2 Essays

Part 2

Strategic Financial Management

4 Hours

100 MCQs & 2 Essays

Each MCQ carries 4 Marks, and each essay question carries 50 Marks. The Maximum mark for US CMA for each part is 500.

You will have three hours to complete the multiple-choice section and one hour to complete the essays.

The essays will be presented after you have completed the multiple-choice section of the exam or after three hours, whichever comes first.

You must answer at least 50% of the multiple-choice questions correctly to be eligible to take the essay section.

Once you complete and exit the multiple-choice section of the exam, you cannot go back.

The essay section consists of approximately 10-12 written response or calculation questions based on two scenarios, describing a typical business situation.

Passing Score for the CMA Exam

Maximum marks for each part

500 Marks

The pass mark for each part

360 Marks


The Certified Management Accountant exam is based on a series of Learning outcome statements developed by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA). Candidates should use the LOS to ensure they can address the concepts in different ways or through a variety of question scenarios.

The content tested on the CMA exams is at an advanced level – which means that the passing standard is set for mastery, not minimum competence.

Completing the CMA exams requires a high level of commitment and dedication of up to 170 hours of study for each part of the CMA exam.

Your success in completing these exams will rest heavily on your ability to create a solid study plan and execute that plan.


Part 1

Subject – Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics



External Financial Reporting Decisions


Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting


Performance Management


Cost Management


Internal Controls


Technology and Analytics



Part - 2

Subject – Strategic Financial Management



Financial Statement Analysis


Corporate Finance


Decision Analysis


Risk Management


Investment Decisions


Professional Ethics


Calculator Policy

Small battery- or solar-powered electronic calculators restricted to a maximum of six functions— addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, square root, and percentage—are allowed

Declaration of Results

Exam results will be emailed and posted to your online profile approximately six weeks from the end of the month in which you tested

Changes in GAAP/ IFRS Policy

Changes in GAAP and/or IFRS are reflected on the CMA exam one year after the effective date.

Mode of Examination

The CMA examination is given in a computer-based format.

The CMA exam is administered by Prometric Testing Centres. There are currently 10 test centers in India:

  • Ahmedabad
  • Allahabad
  • Bangalore
  • Chennai
  • Gurgaon
  • Hyderabad
  • Kolkata
  • Mumbai
  • Trivandrum

Exam time frame, Registering for exam

Parts 1 and 2 are offered during the following three testing windows:

  • January/February
  • May/June
  • September/October

Registrations for Parts 1 and 2 will close after the 15th of February, June, and October.

Candidates can take the exam on any weekday within the testing windows, which cover six of the 12 months each year.

CMA Exam Passing Rates

Exam Part







Part – 1







Part - 2








Specific passing statistics for India are unavailable, but based on the data we have, Asian candidates have a better than average pass rate. However, the Americas and Europe put up the highest passing rates.

CMA vs Non-CMA Salary in Asia

One of the most important findings from the salary survey is that the CMA makes a considerable impact on compensation in India. Indian CMAs earn 136% more in average total compensation than non-CMAs, and this premium has widened steadily and significantly throughout the years.

Some additional CMA benefits enjoyed by IMA members in Asia include additional career opportunities and paths. Almost 65% of Asian CMAs said the certification expanded their career options, while 90% credited the CMA with the strengthened ability to move across all areas of business.


  1. What is US CMA?

CMA (Certified Management Accountant) certification has been the global benchmark for management accountants and financial professionals. The CMA is an advanced professional certification specifically designed to measure critical accounting and financial management skills. This is especially relevant for success in a business environment

  1. How will US CMA benefit Indian Candidates?
    1. Academics – Only 2 Parts & one Level only
    2. Duration – Shorter duration (6-12 months) vis a vis Indian certification where
    3. Pass percentage - less than 10% for Indian CMA, in case of US CMA pass percentage is about 50 % globally & 70% with support by our university partners.
  1. Is there any negative marking?

No negative marking

  1. What kind of skills are tested for in a candidate in the US CMA exam?

CMA is an international certification and is an industry integrated curriculum that tests a student at all levels of testing like

  • Knowledge
  • Comprehension
  • Application
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Evaluation


  1. What is the role of CMA in an organization?

A CMAs role is to ensure that the company runs its financial and overall performance in an efficient manner so that the objectives of the companies are met. They are the people who make daily decisions within the companies for its survival and growth.


  1. Do I have to take parts 1 and 2 in this order, and do I have to take them together?

No, you can take parts 1 and 2 in any order. You have the option of taking both together on the same day, although many members choose to separate their testing dates

  1. How much time do I have to pass both exam parts?

All CMA candidates have three years to pass both parts of the exam. The time will begin with the date of your entry into the CMA program.

If you don’t complete the exam in three years, you will lose past scores and will need to register for the exam again.

  1. Can I retake the exam?

An exam part may be taken only once in a testing window. You can sit for as many testing windows as you need in your three-year period. All retakes require a new exam registration (not CMA entrance), along with payment of appropriate fees: $460 for professionals, $345 for Students/Academic members.


  1. Do I need an accounting background to enroll for the CMA program?

An accounting background is helpful but not required.  Candidates come from a variety of bachelor’s degree programs and industries, including engineering, business administration, economics, and finance.

  1. Time for preparation

Work/life balance is an important issue for many candidates. The test is a significant time commitment (200-220 hours per part) that takes careful management. candidates are encouraged to create realistic study plans well in advance and execute them properly.