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


Certified Internal Auditor Requirements

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

1. Education

Before you can sit for the CIA exam, you must 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 that is 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 that confirms the level of your degree

If your name has changed since your university graduation, you will also be required to show your legal name change documents. Until recently, the IIA did not accept any form of work experience in place of education. This has since changed, and candidates are now eligible to take the CIA exam if they meet one of the following conditions:

Have attained 2 years post-secondary education plus 5 years of verified work experience in internal auditing or an equivalent, or

Can demonstrate 7 years of verified work experience in internal auditing or equivalent

2. Work Experience

Once you have fulfilled your education requirements, you must complete a certain amount of work experience. Two options are available to complete your pre-CIA exam requirements. First, if you have a 4-year degree and no experience, you must complete 24 months of verified work experience as an internal auditor or the equivalent. Examples of work experience that could be classified as “equivalent” include compliance, external auditing, internal control, and quality assurance. Second, if you choose to complete a master’s degree, you will only have to complete 12 months of verified work experience because your masters degree program will be considered the equivalent of 12 months of experience. You are required to submit a complete Experience Verification Form, which can be found on the official IIA website.

3. Character Reference

Given that your future career as a CIA rests on displaying a high level of integrity and morality in addition to 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 you will want to pass the first time, if possible. Be sure to prepare for your exam one part at a time to increase your chances of passing. Several great CIA review courses are available for purchase that will help you study and prepare for the big day.

6. Take the Exam

Taking the CIA exam and passing all three parts is the final step of the certified internal auditor requirements. This computer-based exam makes it possible for candidates to test in more than 500 different locations.

7. Get Your Certificate

Once you’ve taken each section and passed, you will have completed all CIA certification requirements and will be able to order your certificate. To get your hands on this hard-earned document, log in to CCMS and complete the order form. Your certificate will be shipped to you directly. Should you need a reprint for any reason, you will have to pay an additional $50. The road to CIA designation may not be easy, but it is certainly worth it! Now that you know the requirements, the next step is to find the best CIA study materials!

CIA® Topic Guide

Part One - Essentials of Internal Auditing

I. Foundations of Internal Auditing (15%)

II. Independence and Objectivity (15%)

III. Proficiency and Due Professional Care (18%)

IV. Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (7%)

V. Governance, Risk Management, and Control (35%)

VI. Fraud Risks (10%)

Part Two - Practice of Internal Auditing

I. Managing the Internal Audit Activity (20%)

II. Planning the Engagement (20%)

III. Performing the Engagement (40%)

IV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress (20%)

Part Three - Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing

I. Business Acumen (35%)

II. Information Security (25%)

III. Information Technology (20%)

IV. Financial Management (20%)