How To Obtain Cia Certification

Obtaining Your CIA Certification

The certified internal auditor (CIA) designation is the leading credential to have, regardless of financial profession. It provides assurance to stakeholders that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to fulfil your role as a professional internal auditor. With the designation, professionals experience many benefits, such as higher respect, improved credibility, and earning potential.


Earning your certified internal auditor certification requires meeting certain educational and work experience requirements. You are required to have a high school diploma, and either: (1) college degree in accounting or business-related field, (2) non-degree associate’s degree in accounting or business-related field, or (3) at least two years of professional internal auditing experience.

Study Material

Once you have met the necessary requirements, you can begin the CIA exam preparation. The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers a variety of test materials and resources to help you get ready. Materials include practice exams, textbooks, e-learning courses, and more. Use of these study materials will help you feel comfortable and confident on the day of the exam.


To adequately prepare for the CIA exam, it is essential to create a study plan. Planning should include the amount of time you intend to dedicate to studying, and the materials you wish to use. Recognizing potential difficulties, such as problems understanding a certain concept, can help you allocate more time to certain areas.

The Exam

The CIA exam has two to four parts, depending on the stream you choose to pursue. Each part is broken down into 14 sections, with 15 questions each. The number of questions, the total time allotted, and the number of attempted questions vary by stream. The exam is scored according to a 4-point scale, with a passing score of 4.0 or greater.

The Application Process

Once you have studied and taken the CIA exam, you will apply via an online process. It takes approximately four to six weeks to complete the process. Once the application has been submitted, it will be reviewed to ensure all prerequisites have been met. Upon completion, you will receive your CIA designation.

Advantages of Certification

Professionals with the certified internal auditor designation have many advantages over those without it. A CIA designation helps to demonstrate a commitment to ethical standards and core of understanding of auditing principles. With the recognized credential, job prospects are expanded and the individual’s paycheck is increased.

Career Opportunities

The CIA designation opens doors to numerous career opportunities. Having the credential signifies that a professional is knowledgeable in both internal and external auditing. Professionals with the designation are sought after by internal auditing departments, public accounting firms, consulting firms, and government agencies.

Growth and Opportunity

The possibility for growth and change within audit positions is high for certified internal auditors compared to traditional accounting positions. This is because the IIA mission is to actively develop the profession by reaching out to external stakeholders, new business partners, and within the larger data industry.

Excelling within the Profession

The approved standards of practice and code of ethics evident within the audit profession require certified internal auditors to maintain a high level of performance and knowledge. This is done by continual development of latest techniques, procedures and practice through activities like attendance of conferences, seminars, web-based training and other educational opportunities.

Continuing Professional Education

CIA-accredited courses, conferences and other activities provide participants with timely information and knowledge in their field, while test components administrated by the IIA build upon their existing knowledge. This is important as an auditor’s job may demand a deep understanding of new topics, regulations and trends.

Commitment and Dedication

Obtaining your certified internal auditor designation and renewing it is not an easy process. One must be committed to continual learning and development in order to stay ahead of the ever- changing nature of regulations and compliance. Auditors who hold their certification must renew every three years and in doing so, can take advantage of the ever-growing recognition and importance of qualified internal auditors.

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Rosemary Harrold is an accomplished writer and researcher who is both passionate and knowledgeable about the world of secret services. She gained an MSc in International Relations in 2017 and has since built on her expertise with numerous publications on intelligence agencies, their practices, and recent developments. Rosemary has been writing about IBM, CIA and FBI activities since then, as well as providing in-depth analysis on intelligence-related topics.

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