Accounting Certifications: Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

2. How to become a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

There are several requirements that one needs to meet to become a Certified Internal Auditor.† The goal is to obtain a CIA license and then maintain it.

The CIA license is issued by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which is a global organization.† This is the only organization that issues CIA licenses and is well recognized around the world.† CIA certification may be different in this respect when compared to other accounting certifications; for example, Certified Public Accountant licenses are only issued by one of the states in the U.S. and each state may have slightly different requirements or process to get a CPA license.† For CIA candidates, it is the same progress regardless of which country or state you live in, which makes it easier.

The process you will go through to become a certified CIA is as follows:

  1. Register on the IIAís website (Certificate Candidate Management System).
  2. Upload required documentation to support your education and your valid ID.† You will need to have at least a Bachelorís degree (or higher), hold an active Internal Audit Practitioner designation, or possess five years of internal audit experience.† For the valid ID, you will need to have a passport or a similar document with your photo in it.
  3. Request - electronically on the IIAís website - character reference(s).† Such character references must be obtained from a CIA, CCSA, etc. license holders.
  4. Register for your exam or exam parts.
  5. Schedule your exam.
  6. Take and pass your exam parts.
  7. Complete your experience verification (see below).
  8. Receive your certification.
  9. Celebrate your certification (optional but recommended)!

Work requirements are as follows and must be met before you can receive your CIA certification:

If You Have:

Work Experience
Required for CIA License:

Masterís Degree
(or equivalent)

1 year IA experience or equivalent**

Bachelorís Degree
(or equivalent)

2 years IA experience or equivalent**

Active Internal Audit
Practitioner designation holder

5 years IA experience or equivalent**

​Other Education*

5 years IA experience or equivalent**​

(*) High School Diploma, Associates Degree, GCE, A-Level, or their equivalent

(**) Experience can be in any of the following: Internal Audit, Quality Assurance, Risk Management, Audit/Assessment/Disciplines, Compliance, External Audit, or Internal Control

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