If you want to experience the benefits of becoming a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), you must first learn how to become a CIA. For example, you must apply for the CIA program and register to take the CIA exam, which is one of the CIA requirements. Thankfully, the CIA program application and exam registration processes are very straightforward. And you can even complete them online. So, if you’re ready to start the CIA journey, use this information to apply for the CIA program and register for the CIA exam.
If you’re wondering how to apply for the CIA exam, you’ve come to the right place. Although the Certified Internal Auditor exam registration isn’t complicated, it does involve several steps. And each step along the way has deadlines, too. Subsequently, take notes and follow our advice for sailing through the CIA application process.
In the Candidate Handbook, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) outlines the steps to enter the CIA program and take the CIA exam.
As you can see, the first three steps get you into the CIA program. And the last three steps let you sit for the CIA exam. For that reason, let’s dig deeper into each of these steps.
Now, I know you’re probably ready to get this process going. But you must do one crucial thing before you apply for the exam: get a CIA review course. After all, you don’t want to go through the CIA application and registration steps to experience a CIA exam fail. For that reason, you need to invest in a CIA review course.
Basically, a CIA review course is essential to exam success because it explains all of the CIA exam content. It also gives you opportunities to develop your internal auditing knowledge and skills. All things considered, a CIA review course lets you access a study support system. Besides, the CIA exam difficulty level is high enough that every candidate needs a CIA review course.
Furthermore, you need to get the right CIA review course for you. For instance, what if your course doesn’t address your learning style, helps you improve your weaknesses, gives you enough study materials, or lasts as long as you need it? Well then, in that case, it can’t help you pass. So, to ensure your course is everything you need it to be, you should learn all about the most popular CIA exam review courses on the market. Additionally, when you’re ready to buy, you should use these CIA discounts to save money on the study materials you need.
Again, the CIA application process is convenient because you can complete it online. After all, the IIA created the Certification Candidate Management System (CCMS) to make the CIA application process smooth and straightforward. The IIA describes the CCMS as a “user-friendly system to help you apply for, register, and maintain your certification and related information while keeping you connected and informed about The IIA’s certification programs.” Consequently, you will use the CCMS to complete all CIA application procedures, which begin with creating your CCMS profile.
To take the plunge into the CIA program, you must first create an IIA Global Account. This link will lead you to create an IIA Global Account. Basically, by setting up an account, you can first apply for IIA membership. And second, you can also apply for certification programs and start your CIA enrollment.
Start by clicking the “Create Account” button in the middle of the page.
You’ll be directed to a new page, where the IIA collects basic information like your name and email address.
Once you accept the user agreement at the bottom of the page, just hit “Submit.” Once you do, then congrats! You’ve created an IIA Global Account, and you’ll receive a confirmation email.
Once you submit all of this information for your CCMS profile, the IIA will send you a Candidate ID number and details about activating your account. When you go through this process, you’ll need to re-authenticate your demographic information at this time.
But, you’ll know you’ve done it right when you get to the CCMS Landing Page, which will be your home screen for the system. This page will present some of your demographical and certification program status information. Occasionally, you might also see important messages or alerts from the IIA at the bottom of this page.
You can see an example of this page and learn how to use the CCMS in the CCMS Candidate User Guide. If you have any trouble with this process, you can contact IIA Customer Relations at CustomerRelations@theiia.org or +1-407-937-1111.
Next, once you’ve created an IIA Global Account, you can sign in and continue with your CIA sign up. Just go back to the IIA CCMS sign-in page and click the “Sign In” button in the middle of the screen.
To continue your CIA certification application, sign in to CCMS and follow the prompts to supply your personal information. However, be sure to enter your info exactly as it appears on your official government-issued IDs.
After reading and agreeing to the IIA’s privacy statement, you’ll walk through several pages that collect your phone number and address to complete your IIA CCMS profile.
At this point, you’ll also be able to see your Candidate ID number, which you should save for future reference.
Finally, after finishing your CCMS profile, you can apply to the CIA program. To get started, you’ll find an “Apply for the Certified Internal Auditor” link on the right side of the dashboard from the home screen in CCMS.
To begin, you’ll first be asked to review and agree to follow the IIA CIA Code of Ethics.
In addition, you’ll need to review the conditions of the CIA certification process.
Once that is complete, the CCMS system will direct you to a payment page. At this point, enter a discount code if you have one.
If you believe that the price you see for the CIA application is incorrect, you shouldn’t submit the application form. Instead, the IIA instructs you to log an incident through CCMS and then wait for a certification administrator to contact you.
You can pay the application fee by credit card, check, or wire transfer. If you choose to pay by check or wire transfer, you must provide some additional information and follow the on-screen instructions to submit your payment. Check or wire transfer payments can take several weeks to process, so paying via credit card is definitely the fastest and therefore recommended.
But no matter how you pay, the only invoice you’ll receive will be the on-screen payment acknowledgment. So, you can print or save that page as a PDF for your records.
After submitting your payment, you have successfully submitted your CIA 2.0 application. Plus, the IIA will email you to confirm that your application has been approved.
The IIA will send you a confirmation email and instructions for submitting supporting documentation. Specifically, you’ll need to show proof of your identity as well as your education and professional experiences. Moreover, to move on with your entrance into the CIA program, you will need to submit the following documents.
First, the IIA requires all CIA candidates to confirm their identity. Furthermore, the IIA lists the following as acceptable and unacceptable forms of identification:
Acceptable Forms of ID
|Unacceptable Forms of ID|
Government-issued driver’s license
|Employee ID or work badge|
University or college ID
|Alien Registration Card (green card, permanent resident visa, etc.)||
Selfie or photo ID without a name
|Government-issued local language ID (plastic card with photo and signature, accepted only if issued from the country in which the candidate is testing)||
Expired photo ID
Second, since the work experience requirements are based on your level of education, you’ll need to verify your degrees. Additionally, the IIA accepts the following documents as proof of education:
What’s more, the IIA can provisionally approve a CIA application for students in their final year of college. Students must provide evidence (e.g., transcripts) of their education status, though.
Regardless, the IIA won’t officially award your CIA certification until you’ve completed the education requirement and submitted the supporting documentation such as your diploma.
Third, the IIA wants to measure your character according to its Code of Ethics. So, to prove you are upholding the code, you must complete and sign the 1-page CIA Character Reference form. You must also have your professor, supervisor, or a CIA, CGAP, CCSA, CFSA, or CRMA sign this form as well.
And finally, the IIA requires you to prove you’ve met the experience requirement. Technically, you don’t have to show proof of experience until after you pass the CIA exam but before you receive the CIA certification.
But still, you will need to submit the experience verification form and any other supporting documentation regarding your previous internal auditor experience. Furthermore, you must submit proof of your experience within 3 years of the date you received approval into the CIA program.
If you submit a document in a language other than English, you must also submit an English translation of that document.
To upload the documentation the IIA wants for your initial CIA program application, you must use the Document Upload Portal (DUP) on the IIA’s website. Using the DUP requires you to insert your Customer Number or Candidate ID number. Also, you can learn more about the DUP in the Certification Candidate Handbook and the CCMS Candidate User Guide.
The IIA developed the DUP to streamline the document submission process, create a secure transmission method, and reduce response and processing times. Therefore, you should be able to upload all of your documents easily.
And, it would be best if you did so ASAP because you only have 90 days after submitting your application to receive the IIA’s approval of your required documents. This 90-day period includes the amount of time it takes you to upload the documents, and the IIA doesn’t specify how quickly they will approve your documentation.
You should compile all of these documents before you submit your CIA application for these reasons. To do so, you must contact your college or university and the person who will be signing your character reference form well in advance.
If the IIA doesn’t approve one or more of your documents before the 90-day period ends, then the IIA will deny your application. At this point, you’ll have to start the application process over again, which means you’ll also have to pay the full application fee again.
Now that you’ve applied to the CIA program, you can move on to the process of registering for the CIA exam.
Once you have registered for part(s) of the CIA exam, you have 180 days to schedule your testing appointment and take the exam. So, after you’ve completed the entire CIA registration process, your eligibility window is 180 days or until your CIA program expiration date, whichever comes first. For this reason, the IIA recommends that you finish your exam preparations before registering for the exam. And I generally agree with this as well.
Waiting to register until you’ve finished studying is the best plan for most candidates. However, if you only register for one exam part and choose an exam date closer to the end of the 180-day period, you may be able to fit the entirety of your exam studies into this time. I say this because of the number of CIA exam study hours I recommend for each part, which you can see in this table:
|Minimum # of Study Hours||Safe # of Study Hours||# of Study Weeks for 10 hours/week|
|30-40 hours||55-65 hours||3-6.5 weeks|
|30-40 hours||60-70 hours||3-7 weeks|
|40-50 hours||85-95 hours||
As you can see, the longest amount of time you will need to prepare for one exam part is a little less than 10 weeks. Consequently, this study period still fits quite comfortably within your eligibility period, which is almost 26 weeks long.
Therefore, you could pursue the option of not starting your CIA exam studies until after you’ve registered for part of the exam. Still, this option only works if you don’t anticipate any major life events interrupting you for an extended amount of time.
But no matter when you begin your studies, you must take these steps to complete the CIA exam registration process.
To take this step, you must once again log in to CCMS. Then, you need to click the “Complete a Form” link again, which is still in the bottom left corner of the page. Because you’ve already applied to the CIA program, you will now be able to see forms for each CIA exam part under the New Forms tab. So, you must select the exam part for which you want to register. You can only register for one exam part at a time. However, you can register for another exam part immediately after registering for one exam part if you would like.
After selecting your exam part, you must agree to the Pricing Provisions and Conditions statement. Agreeing to this policy allows you to submit the exam part form and move to the payment screen.
You must pay the examination fee for your selected exam part at the payment screen. Again, if you believe the price you see is incorrect, you should refrain from submitting the form and should instead contact the IIA’s Customer Relations team at CustomerRelations@theiia.org or +1-407-937-1111.
Once you accept the price of the exam fee and submit the form, you can’t receive an exam fee refund or credit. You also can’t remove a registration form or transfer the fee you paid from one registration form to another.
You still have the option of paying with a credit card, check, or wire transfer. Paying with a credit card is still the fastest method, though.
Before you can finally take the CIA exam, you’ll have to pay several fees. We have an entire article devoted to the CIA exam fees, but here’s a summary.
Basically, the fees break down into membership, registration, and exam fees. And these fees can even vary depending on your status as either a member or non-member of the IIA. In fact, if you’re a student or academic or you work for the government, you also get discounts on your CIA fees. Plus, several hidden exam costs exist, like the price of CIA review courses and transportation to a Prometric site.
And sometimes, if your CIA exam expiration date, then you’ll need to pay program extension fees, too. Just remember: you must pass the exam within 3 years of finishing your CIA online application for the Certified Internal Auditor program. Furthermore, after submitting your IIA CIA registration, you have just 180 days to sit for the exam. If needed, you can extend your exam eligibility window ($100 for 60 days) and your CIA program as well ($275 for 12 months). And finally, if you must cancel an exam appointment after 48 hours of making it, you’ll be charged $75.
|IIA membership fee (optional, but you save money on other fees)||$40 – $260|
|CIA program application fee||$65 – $230|
|CIA exam fees for all 3 parts (payable by part)||$590 – $1,085|
|Exam review course and study material (before discounts)||$375 – $895|
|Miscellaneous expenses (travel and/or extension or reschedule fees)||Varies|
If you live in certain countries outside of the US and Canada, your exam fees may differ slightly. Therefore, be sure to contact your local affiliate to check about specific IIA exam fees.
After the IIA has received and processed your exam registration, they will approve your registration and send you an authorization to test email. This email will tell you how and when to schedule your exam through Pearson VUE. (Pearson VUE is the third-party vendor who administers the CIA exam on behalf of the IIA. Whether you choose in-person testing or the remote proctoring option, Pearson manages all exam appointments.)
If you require modifications to the test administration conditions due to a physical or medical condition, you should contact the IIA’s Global Certification Department after submitting your exam registration and before you schedule your appointment with Pearson VUE. When you email email@example.com or call +1-407-937-1277, the IIA will assist you in obtaining the appropriate accommodations. Depending on the nature of the accommodations you need, your request may take 30 days or more to fulfill.
You’re getting closer to the end of the CIA exam registration process. But, before you can move forward, you actually have to wait. Specifically, you must wait 48 hours after receiving your authorization to test email to contact Pearson VUE about scheduling your exam appointment.
After that, you can communicate with Pearson VUE to schedule your exam via their website or phone number. You can only take this step once you have received your authorization to test email, not at any point before.
But you should schedule as soon as you can after the 48-hour period is over because the earlier you schedule, the better chance you have of getting the ideal date, time, and location for your testing appointment. Pearson VUE does not accept walk-ins; you have to schedule your appointment ahead of time. And remember, you must schedule your appointment within 180 days, or you will invalidate your registration.
CIA candidates could only take the exam at a Pearson VUE testing center in the past. Pearson VUE has over 900 locations worldwide that offer CIA exam testing appointments, and the schedules of these test centers vary. They also change often. But generally, they are open 5-6 days a week throughout the year during normal business hours.
But now, the CIA entrance exam is offered online, too. That is, you have the option of taking it in the comfort of your own home and don’t have to travel to a Pearson VUE center. Basically, with online proctoring, exam takers are supervised remotely via your computer’s webcam. You can schedule an exam 24 hours a day, but you still must sign up for a slot because a proctor must be available to supervise you. However, depending on availability, you may even be able to schedule and take the exam on the same day.
To choose remote testing, go to the CIA CCMS dashboard. And when completing your CIA exam application, select “At my home or office” on the “Select Exam Delivery Option” page.
Online proctoring has some limitations, though. For instance, the IIA recommends you take the CIA exam at home (not work) via a wired Ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi. Plus, your computer must meet Pearson’s online proctored software requirements. Additionally, you must be able to communicate with the proctor in English.
Using the Pearson VUE website is the easiest way to schedule your exam appointment, as you can do so any time, day or night. However, the first time you use the website, you will need to create an account. Be sure to use the same email address that you use for your CCMS CIA profile.
On the other hand, you can schedule via phone, as well. Nevertheless, you still need to access Pearson VUE’s customer service web page to get your location’s toll-free customer service number. You can find all of the Pearson VUE locations on their website and select the one you want to call. But don’t call a specific testing center to schedule or cancel an exam. After all, you can only complete this process with the help of a Pearson VUE customer service representative.
To get started, you will need to provide the customer service representative with your IIA candidate ID number and your preferred exam date and time. Furthermore, you may even need to provide your second and third date and time choices. So, have these in mind before you call. The customer service representative will guide you through the scheduling process.
No matter how you schedule your exam, Pearson VUE will send you a confirmation email after you’ve completed this step. In essence, this email will contain details about the test center location you selected or details about remote proctoring. You must immediately review this information to verify details like your name and the date and time of your appointment are correct.
Also, the IIA recommends you print this confirmation and bring it with you to the testing center on your exam day. The test administrator may need to use important information in the email to locate your record and permit you to take the exam.
If you don’t receive the Pearson VUE email confirmation shortly, you should immediately contact customer service. An error may have prevented your appointment from being properly recorded.
Furthermore, if you need to make changes to your testing appointment, you can do so up to 48 hours before your appointment time. For instance, you can cancel or reschedule your exam date. However, you must contact Pearson VUE to do so. And, you also must pay a fee of $75 each time you reschedule or cancel.
Pearson VUE will send you another email to confirm the appointment changes you have made. And again, if you don’t receive an email, contact Pearson VUE immediately to make sure they have a record of the changes.
When your exam day comes, you must show up with the appropriate ID. If you don’t appear for your exam at your scheduled location on your scheduled date and time, the IIA will void your registration. They’ll also assign you a “No-Show” status and force you to forfeit your exam registration fee. Basically, receiving a “No-Show” status means that you must submit a new CIA exam registration form with another payment to schedule another test date.
In addition, you may also receive a “No-Show” status if you don’t arrive at your test center location 30 minutes before your testing appointment time. (The same applies if you don’t log in online in time to take your remote proctored CIA exam.) In fact, the testing center may deny you access if you show up less than 30 minutes before your appointment. So, plan to arrive at least half an hour ahead of time. You will definitely be considered a “No-Show” if you arrive after your scheduled appointment time, too. And even more importantly, you won’t be able to take your exam.
When you get to the testing center, you must present a government-issued photo ID. Above all, the name on this ID must be exactly the same as what you provided during your CIA exam registration. If you don’t have acceptable ID with you at your scheduled appointment time, you will also be classified as a “No-Show.” And with this status, you won’t be able to sit for your exam even though you came to the testing center.
After you arrive at the testing center on time, the administrator will show you where to put your personal items. Besides, you can’t take things like purses, wallets, cell phones, watches, or even jewelry into the testing room. Likewise, you can’t bring food, drink, or even a personal calculator.
In fact, Pearson VUE only permits a nonelectronic language translation dictionary that does not contain term definitions (only direct translations). Furthermore, the dictionary must be completely void of notes or highlighted text. And documents cannot be inserted inside the book. The administrator will check to make sure any dictionary you bring meets these criteria. And, if it doesn’t, the administrator won’t let you take it with you. But don’t worry – you will receive a secure storage area for all of your stuff.
The testing center will allow you to use these tools during your exam:
You must return these items to the administrator before leaving the testing center.
You will receive a copy of Pearson VUE’s candidate rules agreement. This agreement covers provisions such as having your glasses inspected and your palms scanned. It also includes other steps that Pearson VUE uses to protect the integrity of the CIA exam. To proceed with your testing appointment, you must accept these terms.
Additionally, you must sign the test center log before starting your test. But, you won’t have to make any additional payments. If the testing center asks you to pay any additional fees, contact Pearson VUE customer service at www.pearsonvue.com/iia/contact or +1-952-681-3756.
After you’ve checked off every check-in procedure, the exam administrator will take you to your workstation. You must stay there for the rest of your time at Pearson VUE. That is, unless you receive authorization to leave the room. The administrator will log you into your exam at your exam station. Then, they will ask you to confirm that the exam you see is the one you’ve planned to take.
Working through these screens does not count toward your exam time. But, you do have a time limit for getting through them. And, if you exceed the time limit, the exam will begin automatically.
You’ll see a timer on your computer screen that counts down how much time is left in the exam. As you may recall, you’ll have 150 minutes of total testing time for Part 1. Conversely, you’ll receive 120 minutes for Part 2 and Part 3. And the IIA doesn’t penalize you for incorrect responses, either. Therefore, you must employ a time management strategy to answer every question in time.
Moreover, the exam time does not include a scheduled break. Therefore, you also must practice time management in case you want to take a break. If you wish, you may take a break, but doing so will eat into your total testing time. And when you leave and re-enter the room for any reason, you must sign the test log and show ID. And, you may even need to provide a fingerprint or palm vein image.
If you experience a computer problem while testing, you should immediately report it to the exam administrator. You should also ask the proctor to log the incident. Don’t ask the test center employees about the exam content or scores during such an incident. These individuals can’t help you with these matters. Additionally, you can log an incident in your IIA CCMS profile for any exam experience concerns you have.
Finally, you should know that the test center employees are on alert for unusual behavior and incidents during exams. They also have audio and video recordings of exam sessions. Therefore, you should take your conduct during the exam as seriously as the IIA and Pearson VUE do. That way, you won’t cause any issues.
It’s easy to verify your CIA application status. Just log into your IIA CCMS dashboard. From there, you can check your profile details as well as your CIA exam registration and application status.
The CIA test full form is the Certified Internal Auditor exam (a 3-part test) from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). Instead of just a simple CIA form to fill out, candidates must register for and pass the CIA exam and meet education and work experience requirements before the IIA will issue the CIA certification.
The CIA application process includes passing a 3-part exam. Basically, the exam assesses your abilities as a beginning internal auditor. Furthermore, the CIA syllabus goes over the topics that will be tested.
When you’re ready to receive additional guidance for the CIA application process and the CIA exam registration process, you’ll find it in my free CIA e-course. This course walks you through the process of earning the CIA certification, like how to apply for the CIA exam. So, learn more today or sign up here!
Finally, to ensure that you’re completely prepared to take each part of the CIA exam, use my comparisons of the most popular CIA exam review courses on the market to find the best one for you. And don’t forget to use my CIA review discounts when you’re ready to buy so you can save big on your preferred CIA exam prep!
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.