Can I do CMA without work experience

Talkin go money

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification, offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), is the certification you will receive if you work in the management accounting field. While you don't have to become a CMA to work as an administrative accountant, more than 30,000 people have chosen to do so since the program's inception in 1972. In this article, we take a look at what four CMA holders have to say about the benefits of the label.
Why become a CMA?
The professionals surveyed all said they were pursuing CMA career advancement certification.
"I chose my CMA because I felt the CPA left a void in the professional skills I needed to advance my career in the industry," said Ben Mulling, CFO of TENTE Casters, Inc. Hebron, Ky. Mulling is a member of IMA's Global Board of Directors and also holds the designations of Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP).
Lon Searle, CFO of YESCO Franchising LLC in Salt Lake City, Utah, said he chose to become CMA because he knew he would one day be promoted to CFO and he wanted to be ready to become a world-class financial leader be.
Steve Kuchen, member of the IMA's Finance and Regulatory Committee for Small Businesses, says, "After I left a job, I went to a search firm specializing in finance and accounting professionals. I got some credentials after my name, and he was that Opinion that the CMA is spot on based on my previous experience and interests. "
Financial costs
Taking your CMA has the following financial costs:

  • Annual IMA membership dues range from $ 39 to $ 230 depending on whether you are a student, academic, young professional, or professional.
  • CMA program access costs $ 225, but IMA students or academic members are eligible for a $ 150 discount.
  • CMA exam fees are $ 300 or $ 350 per part, depending on how you enroll and when you take the exams, totaling $ 600 or $ 700.
  • The ongoing annual CMA maintenance fee is $ 30.

You can spend extra money on test preparation materials, such as: B. $ 470 for an online self-paced course or $ 110 for an online self-paced course plus textbooks and access to an online test bank. .. Finally, some CPE materials and activities cost money, but there are also ways to get CPE credits for free.
Time commitment
A significant time commitment is required to acquire your CMA. You must meet the requirements for education and work experience. You'll also need to take two exams, which you can take for a maximum of three years after completing program enrollment. Once you become a CMA, you must complete 30 hours of professional development annually. But how much time does the program actually take if you already have a bachelor's degree and two years of work experience?
Mulling says the CMA process took about 12 months, including the time and exams. He earned his CMA in 2008.
For Searle, who also became a CMA in 2008, it was a long process: "I spent an average of four hours a week studying for the CMA exam for two years," he says. "During my commute, I would listen to CDs and study online using practice tests." The effort paid off: "I used the skills and knowledge I acquired during my studies almost immediately in my job," he says.
Susan E. Bos, Washington County, Michigan tax and accounting manager, treasurer's office and a member of the IMA's global board of directors, says it took her about a year and a half to study for the CMA exam. "I already had the work experience and had already passed the CPA exam that gave me one of the four parts," she says. The exam had a four-part program when it received its award in 1996. Bos is also a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).
Cake received his CMA in 1996 when the four-part exam was held. It took him about 18 months to earn the credentials because of different demands on his time and because he had left school for a few years when he began pursuing the designation.
Take the exam
Given the time and expense involved in preparing for the exams, you'll want to do your best to pass the first try.
"My advice is to create a curriculum and adhere to it religiously. Plan out your weekly and performance markers and make a commitment to meeting those goals," says Mulling.
Cake says he first took a personal course at a local college. The class helped him "immensely," he says. It got him back in the flow of study and, because it was taught by professionals who had experience scoring the CMA exam, it learned what the graders were looking for in the open-ended questions of the test. "After that, I used a private company self-directed software study program that also helped me a lot," he says.
"Apply the principles in your career and find opportunities to use new skills," says Searle. "This will familiarize you with the principles and how to use them in various situations." Searle also says that he listened to the audio lessons several times until they were very familiar because he learns best from audio or classroom lessons.
Bos says she used the Gleim books. She made every multiple choice question and went through every essay question. She also took a one-day review course through her local IMA chapter: "If you prepare well, you will pass," she says.
Repetition in study time is an important key to success, adds Mulling. "Review the questions in the previous chapter and the multiple choice question over and over again," he says. "If you keep your schedule on track, you should do well."
Job opportunities, opportunities for advancement and earning potential
Searle says that the CMA certification provides a very big advantage in the job market. There are jobs that require either a CPA or CMA designation, he says.
Mulling says the CMA degree has helped him "tremendously" in his career. "He has given me crucial decision-making tools that I have used to advance my career as CFO of my company," he says. Even with his CPA license, he says he couldn't have managed to get his company through the recession and back into growth mode without the skills he has mastered as a CMA.
Bos says that getting the CMA award gave her credibility and confidence: "I've worked as an accountant for several years, but the CMA has given me more visibility," she says.
Like Mulling and Bos, Searle says the CMA adds value to his career. "I have used what I learned during my undergraduate studies in all areas of my job as a CFO, including strategic planning, coaching, marketing, financial analysis, decision-making, and banking. It was a far more practical educational experience than learning and passing the CPA exam," says he.
Cake says reaching the CMA shows that you are serious about your career and interested in improving your skills. He also says the CMA material is very relevant to real-world situations you might encounter, not just in finance and accounting, but in other disciplines like information technology as well.
Finally, the IMA's most recent annual survey of its members found that CMAs make nearly $ 27,000 more in total compensation than non-CMAs.
The final result
To become a CMA you have to tie up money and, above all, time that should not be taken lightly. But if your aim is a career as an administrative accountant, the extra hassle can pay off.