CIA Certification Requirements

The CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) designation is the only globally accepted designation for internal auditors. Anyone can study and become a CIA but there are several prerequisites you must fulfill. If you are considering becoming a CIA, you need to make sure you are eligible to qualify first.

Certified Internal Auditor Requirements

There are a few CIA certification requirements you must meet before taking your career to the next step.

1. Education

Before you can even sit for the CIA exam, make sure you have the proper education.

CIA candidates are required to have a 4 year post-secondary degree or higher. This degree must come from an accredited university, recognized by the IIA.

As proof of completed education, you will be required to show either:

  • A copy of your degree or official transcripts.
  • A letter from your university confirming your degree.
  • A letter from evaluation services which confirms the level of your degree.

Should your name have changed since you graduated university, you will also be required to show your legal name change documents.

Until recently, the IIA had not accepted any form of work experience in place of education. This has since changed and now you may be deemed eligible to take the CIA exam if you qualify for one of following two options:

  • 2 years post-secondary education plus 5 years of verified work experience in internal auditing or an equivalent.
  • 7 years of verified work experience in internal auditing or equivalent.

2. Work Experience

Once you have fulfilled your education requirements, you must now complete a certain amount of work experience.

There are two options available that you can use to complete your pre CIA exam requirements.

First, should you only posses a 4 year degree, you must complete 24 months worth of verified work experience as an internal auditor or an equivalent.

Secondly, if you choose to carry on your education and obtain a master’s degree, you now only have to complete 12 months of verified work experience.

Some examples of work experience that could be

classified as “equivalent” include compliance, external auditing, internal control, and quality assurance.

You are required to submit a complete Experience Verification Form that you can find on the official IIA website.

3. Character Reference

One of the most interesting CIA certification requirements is the character reference. Since your future career as a CIA relies on displaying a high level of integrity and morality, as well as professionalism, you are required to submit a character reference.

This reference must be signed by a CIA, CGAP, CCSA, CFSA, CRMA or your supervisor. You can find the Character Reference Form here .

4. Register for the Exam

Now that you’ve completed all your CIA exam requirements, it’s time to register for the exam.

As of November 2010, the program requires that you complete the certification process, which includes passing all 3 parts of the exam, within 4 years. Should you go over this 4 year time limit, all fees and completed exam parts will be forfeited.

5. Prepare for the Exam

Each part of the CIA exam costs money, so don’t waste yours. Be sure to prepare for your exam being taking each section.

There are several CIA review courses available for purchase that will help you study and prepare for the big day.

6. Take the Exam

Actually taking the exam and passing is the final of all the certified internal auditor requirements.

The exam is computer-based now, which allows candidates to take the exam from over 500 different locations.

If you’re interested in checking out how the testing process will go, check out this video:

7. Get Your Certificate

Once you’ve taken each section and passed you will have completed all CIA certification requirements and are now able to order your certificate.

To get your hands on your hard earned certificate, log in to CCMS and complete the order form. From there, your certificate will be shipped to you directly. Should you need a reprint for any reason, it will cost $50 USD.

The road to CIA designation may not be an easy one, but it will be worth it.


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