CIA Saudi Arabia: How to Become a CIA in Saudi Arabia 

cia saudi arabia

As an accountant or auditor in Saudi Arabia, you have a good number of accounting certifications available to you to advance your career. But only one of these certifications is the top certification for internal auditors: the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification. As a CIA Saudi Arabia, you gain numerous benefits. And as an added bonus, the process of earning the CIA certification is less complex than that of other accounting certifications. So, I’m here to help you learn how to become a Certified Internal Auditor in Saudi Arabia.

Benefits of Becoming a CIA in Saudi Arabia

Currently, no other international professional qualification for internal auditors is as well-known or regarded as the CIA. But what specific career advantages does the CIA offer internal auditors in Saudi Arabia? Well, the specific yet global benefits of becoming a CIA in Saudi Arabia include:

Maximum earnings potential

Worldwide, there is a trend among companies to increase the pay of certified internal auditors. For example, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) reveals that CIAs make as much as 51% more than non-certified internal auditors in the U.S. Therefore, you can expect such improved financial treatment when you earn the CIA in Saudi Arabia.

Greater job opportunities

Likewise, the CIA opens up more advancement opportunities for internal auditors. These opportunities include moving into leadership roles such as Chief Audit Executive, Vice President of Internal Audit, and Internal Audit Director. Also, the CIA certification allows you to explore new fields and industries, including transportation and logistics, healthcare, information security and tech development, biotechnology and healthcare research, and green energy.

Enhanced job security

The global regulatory environment is becoming increasingly more complicated. At the same time, organizations are fervently seeking out qualified internal auditors who can help them mitigate risk. Common examples of this risk include IT security breaches, internal and external fraud, and inefficient processes. Therefore, internal auditors are in demand, and CIAs most of all. And when an organization truly wants to hire and keep you, you can rely on them for job stability.

Heightened skills and abilities

As you know, internal auditors have a wide range of job responsibilities. They are accountable for improving a company’s operations. They also add value to the company by employing a systematic, disciplined approach to assess and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes. Internal auditors evaluate exposure to risk, offer recommendations for improvement, and supply assurance of effective internal controls.

So, to become a CIA, you must show that you can successfully take on these job responsibilities. And you do this by presenting a certain level of education and experience and by passing a rigorous exam. Therefore, you will heighten your internal auditing skills and abilities by earning the CIA.

Deeper respect and admiration

Recently, an internal auditor’s job has transitioned from a traditional financial audit role to that of a risk-based audit. As such, internal auditors now perform a critical role in guarding and raising the value of an organization. Therefore, the industry sees internal auditors as change agents and business partners. Consequently, industry esteem for internal auditors only deepens when these individuals become certified. The CIA qualification reflects a great knowledge of and commitment to the field, so respect for CIAs is extremely high.

Certified Internal Auditor Salary in Saudi Arabia

A Certified Internal Auditor salary in Saudi Arabia exemplifies the benefit of higher earning potential that comes with the CIA. For example, PayScale reports the average Certified Internal Auditor salary in Saudi Arabia as SAR 175,000. However, the range of this salary differs by location:

Certified Internal Auditor Salary in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia City CIA Salary Range (SAR)
Riyadh 52,851-404,690
Jeddah 6,125-386,732
Dammam 13,395-153,404
Khobar 6,000-245,780
Dhahran 148,553

Comparatively, PayScale reports the average salary of a regular internal auditor as SAR 121,233 and the average salary of an auditor as SAR 66,000. And without the CIA, even an experienced internal auditor has an average salary cap of SAR 258,000. Therefore, having the CIA in Saudi Arabia clearly enables you to benefit financially.

Certified Internal Auditor Jobs in Saudi Arabia

Additionally, the quality and variety of jobs available to CIAs in Saudi Arabia show the certification benefits of increased job opportunities and enhanced job security. Once again, PayScale supports the advantages of the certification by reporting that CIAs in Saudi Arabia can hold the following positions and make these average salaries:

Certified Internal Auditor Jobs in Saudi Arabia


CIA Salary (SAR)

Internal Auditing Manager


Internal Auditor


Senior Internal Auditor


Chief Internal Auditor


Internal Auditor Supervisor


Internal Audit Director


Quality Assurance Manager


The companies in Saudi Arabia that most CIAs report working for include Alsalam Aircraft Company Ltd, Saudi German Hospital, and Saudi Aramco.

Certified Internal Auditor Saudi Arabia Requirements

Clearly, as a CIA in Saudi Arabia, you gain significant career and financial advantages. So, what do you need to do to become eligible for the CIA? You must meet a defined set of CIA requirements.

The Saudi Institute of Internal Auditors does not have any country-specific procedures or policies. Therefore, CIA candidates in Saudi Arabia must meet the same requirements as most other global candidates. So, to become a CIA in Saudi Arabia, you must fulfill the following obligations:


You must hold an associate’s degree or higher in order to be eligible for the CIA. The IIA will also accept common associate’s degree equivalents, including Foundation Degree, Diploma of Higher Education, Higher National Diploma, or 3 A-level certificates with a grade of C or higher. You can also apply for the CIA program if you are a full-time student in your senior year at your college or university.

To show that you’ve met the education requirement, you must submit a copy of your degree, official transcripts, A-level certificates, a letter from your university confirming your degree, or an evaluation service confirming your degree level.

Or, you can apply for an IIA exemption to the education requirement if you have 7 years of verified experience in internal audit or its equivalent. To do so, you must download a form from the IIA website and fill it out.

You must upload any document related to the education requirement using the IIA’s Certification Document Upload Portal (CDUP).

Character Reference

The IIA holds CIA candidates to a high standard for moral character. Therefore, you must have a CIA, CGAP, CCSA, CFSA, CRMA, or your supervisor sign a Character Reference form. You must then upload your form to the CDUP.

Proof of Identification

To verify your identity, the IIA will require you to submit a current (not expired) copy of your official passport or national identity card. When you scan and upload your document to the CDUP, you must ensure your photo is clear.

CIA Exam

After you’ve met the character reference, proof of identification, and education requirements, you can apply for the CIA program and take the CIA exam. To earn the CIA, you must pass all 3 parts of the CIA exam.


The CIA exam is confidential. Therefore, you must agree not to disclose any of its contents. You can only discuss the exam content with the IIA’s Certification Department. If you do not agree to the confidentiality agreement, you will be considered in breach of the IIA Code of Ethics, and the IIA may disqualify you from earning the certification.

Work Experience

The IIA wants CIA candidates to present a number of years of experience in audit/assessment disciplines such as external auditing, quality assurance, compliance, and internal control.

The number of years of internal auditing experience that you need correlates to the level of education you have. Therefore, the work experience requirement for CIA candidates includes the following:

CIA Work Experience Requirements

Education Level Years of Work Experience Required
Master’s Degree (or equivalent) 12 months – internal auditing experience or its equivalent
Bachelor’s Degree (or equivalent) 24 months – internal auditing experience or its equivalent
Associate degree, 3 A-Level Certificates, grade C or higher (or equivalent) 60 months – internal auditing experience or its equivalent

Your current or former supervisor or a CIA, CCSA, CGAP, CFSA, or CRMA must verify your work experience.

Eligibility Period

The IIA gives CIA candidates 3 years to earn their certification. The clock starts when the IIA officially accepts you into the CIA program. And if you do not fulfill all the requirements within 3 years, you will forgo all exam fees and credits.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE)

Once you earn the CIA certification, you’ll be responsible for meeting the continuing professional education (CPE) requirements. The IIA has established CPE requirements to ensure you continue to learn and grow your skills while also staying informed of industry developments.

But you don’t have to worry about CIA CPE right away. In fact, the IIA will give you 40 hours of CPE during the year you earn the CIA and another 40 hours the following year for a total of 80 CPE hours. Consequently, you don’t have to start earning the annual CPE hours on your own until the third year of holding the CIA.

And when that third year begins, you can use the chart below to determine how many CPE hours you need. In this chart, you can see what your reporting status options are and the appropriate number of annual CPE hours you will need.


Reporting Status Definition Use Certification CPE Hours for CIA
Practicing Actively performing internal audits or related activities Yes 40
Non-practicing Not actively performing internal audits or related activities No 20

The IIA will only accept your CPE if you earn your hours from educational programs that meet the Professional Certification Board’s (PCB) established guidelines. And, whether you are a practicing or non-practicing CIA, you must take 2 CPE hours each year on the subject of ethics.

Code of Ethics

Lastly, when you formally accept the CIA certification, you agree to abide by the IIA’s Code of Ethics. Failure to do so could result in you losing the certification.

Experience and Education Waivers

The IIA does allow for some exemptions related to education and experience for individuals who hold the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification or the U.S. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. Specifically, the PCB forgoes the education and work experience requirements for ACCA members and the education requirement for U.S. CPAs.

If you qualify for these exemptions, be sure to complete the appropriate fields on the CIA program application. The IIA will put your application on hold until their certification administrators can verify that your membership/license is active.

CIA Exam Saudi Arabia

As mentioned, the CIA exam has 3 parts. The 3 CIA exam parts are:

The 3 parts cover a wide range of internal auditing topics within a specific number of content areas.

CIA Exam Content

1. Essentials of Internal Auditing 2. Practice of Internal Auditing 3. Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing
I. Foundations of Internal Auditing (15%) I. Managing the Internal Audit Activity (20%) I. Business Acumen (35%)
II. Independence and Objectivity (15%) II. Planning the Engagement (20%) II. Informational Security (25%)
III. Proficiency and Due Professional Care (18%) III. Performing the Engagement (40%) III. Information Technology (20%)
IV. Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (7%) IV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress (20%) IV. Financial Management (20%)
V. Governance, Risk Management, and Control (35%)
VI. Fraud Risks (10%)

The CIA exam parts assess your comprehension of these topics through multiple-choice questions (MCQs). No other question type appears on the CIA exam. However, the exam parts have different numbers of MCQs. Therefore, the total testing time for each part varies. So, you should review the chart below to see the number of questions and the time limit for each exam part.

CIA Exam Testing Time and Question Counts

Exam Part Duration Number of Questions
1 2 ½ hours 125
2 2 hours 100
3 2 hours 100

Also, as a CIA candidate, you’ll want to know that the CIA exam tests your understanding of the internal auditing topics at 2 different cognitive levels or depths of knowledge. The CIA exam syllabus explains that the exam uses the following cognitive levels in order to ensure that candidates possess a sufficient understanding of the most critical concepts.

  • Basic Level: Candidates retrieve relevant knowledge from memory and/or demonstrate basic comprehension of concepts or processes.
  • Proficient Level: Candidates apply concepts, processes, or procedures; analyze, evaluate, and make judgments based on criteria; and/or put elements or material together to formulate conclusions and recommendations.

The CIA exam parts test the following number of topics at each cognitive level:

CIA Exam Cognitive Levels

Exam Part Basic Level Proficient Level
1 14 16
2 14 21
3 32 3

The CIA exam score ranges from 250 to 750. Furthermore, a passing score is 600. Currently, the data show that the overall CIA exam pass rate was 48% in 2021, which was up from 41% in 2020.

The CIA exam is 100% computerized and also 100% multiple-choice questions. Consequently, this format ensures that you receive your official score immediately after the exam. So you don’t have to spend weeks waiting and worrying about how you performed. However, you can also view your official score report in your candidate profile on the IIA website.

Pearson VUE administers the CIA exam in over 900 testing centers around the world. Furthermore, the previous version of the CIA exam is available in Czech, Estonian, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, and Polish. Also, the current version of the CIA exam is available or will soon be available in English, French, Spanish, German, Turkish, Arabic, Russian, Korean, Portuguese, Chinese Traditional, Japanese, Chinese Simplified, and Thai.

Certified Internal Auditor Exam Cost in Saudi Arabia

To become a CIA in Saudi Arabia, you must meet the CIA requirements and pay the relevant fees. As you budget and plan for the exam, be sure to account for several CIA exam fees. Learning about each Certified Internal Auditor exam cost in Saudi Arabia is an important part of the certification process.

The 4 CIA exam fees you must account for are the application fee and the 3 exam part fees. But you can reduce the amount you must pay for these fees by becoming a member of the Saudi Institute of Internal Auditors.

IIA Saudi Arabia Membership

As an individual member of the Saudi Institute of Internal Auditors, you are also a member of the global IIA. And this relationship grants you numerous perks. For example, you can connect with an international network of peers, access updated and universally accepted internal audit standards and guidance, register for webinars, training, and events, and find information about jobs and volunteer leadership opportunities. Last but not least, you’ll also receive discounts on CIA exam fees.

CIA Exam Fees in Saudi Arabia

Whether or not you pay for a Saudi Institute of Internal Auditors membership, you must pay the following fees to earn the CIA. But as you can see, you’ll save big on each CIA exam fee if you do become a member of the Saudi Institute of Internal Auditors.

Certified Internal Auditor Exam Costs in Saudi Arabia

Pricing IIA Members (USD) Non-Members (USD) IIA Members (SAR) Non-Members (SAR)
Application Fee 115 230 431.31 862.63
Exam Part 1 280 395 1,050.15 1,481.47
Exam Part 2 230 345 862.63 1,293.94
Exam Part 3 230 345 862.63 1,293.94
Total 855 1,315 3,206.72 4,931.98

With such differences between the cost of the application and exam part fees for Saudi Institute of Internal Auditors members and non-members, the total CIA exam costs in Saudi Arabia prove that a Saudi Institute of Internal Auditors membership is definitely worth it.

And not only does your Saudi Institute of Internal Auditors membership help you save significantly on the CIA certification process, but it also affords you a wealth of knowledge and experience by allowing you to interact with the entire IIA organization and its international members. So, this membership is a great professional investment.

And as you remember, the CIA is also worth the time, effort, and expense you put into securing it due to the higher salaries and better job opportunities it brings. With the average CIA earning almost double what the average non-certified internal auditor makes annually in Saudi Arabia, the CIA pays for itself with dividends.

How to Become a Certified Internal Auditor in Saudi Arabia

The benefits of becoming a Certified Internal Auditor in Saudi Arabia are vast. So, are you ready to take the next step and earn your certification? If so, follow these 7 steps to ensure your success.

1. Find and purchase a CIA review course

Once you’re sure that you can meet the IIA requirements for education, character, and proof of identification, then your first step in the CIA process should be to buy a CIA review course. Buying a CIA course as soon as possible enables you to study throughout the CIA application and exam registration process. And as a result, you can become a CIA in Saudi Arabia much sooner!

Buying a Certified Internal Auditor Course in Saudi Arabia is essential for passing the CIA exam. I say this because a CIA review course explains all of the exam content, guides your study sessions, and gives you an exam support system.

Usually, a CIA review course accomplishes these tasks by including textbooks, video and audio lectures, practice test questions, flashcards, practice exams, assistance from experts, access until you pass, and more. And all of these resources are available within one convenient online platform.

Therefore, with a CIA review course, you’ll have all the knowledge and tools you need to successfully pass the CIA exam. You’ll also receive advice on how to create a workable study schedule, stay on track, and master even the trickiest exam concepts.

Best Certified Internal Auditor Training in Saudi Arabia

A CIA review course is a financial investment that you’ll want to make the most of. To do so, you must research the top CIA exam review courses on the market, including the most widely used CIA review course. Then, you can select a CIA review course and save big on your purchase by using CIA review discounts.

And if you’d like even more help to find the best CIA review course for you, just contact me.

2. Apply for CIA candidacy

The IIA makes applying for the CIA program easy for candidates. To take this step, you must first visit their website and create an account in the IIA Certification Candidate Management System (CCMS). Then, after you set up an account, you will be able to complete the CIA application form and submit proof of your education, your identification, and your character reference.

Finally, you have to pay the application fee. You can pay this fee by credit card, check, or wire transfer. Then, once you’ve completed the application and paid the fee, the IIA will email you to confirm that you’ve applied successfully. You will likely receive this email from the IIA within 24-48 hours of submitting your application.

3. Register for the CIA exam parts

Once the IIA approves your entrance into the CIA program, you can register for the CIA exam parts. To do so, you must log in to the IIA CCMS again.

Within the CCMS, you’ll see the registration links for each CIA exam part. You must choose the part(s) you want to register for and then agree to the Pricing Provisions and Conditions statement. As a final step, you will need to pay the CIA exam part fees.

4. Schedule your CIA exam Saudi Arabia testing appointment

After you register for the CIA exam parts through the IIA CCMS, you can schedule your CIA exam testing appointment through Pearson VUE. The IIA will process your registration and send you an authorization to test email. This email will tell you how to schedule your testing appointment at the Pearson VUE website. During this process, you can choose your preferred testing appointment location, date, and time, and your preferred exam language. Again, Pearson VUE administers the CIA exam at 900+ testing centers around the world, and most centers are open 5-6 days a week.

Plus, the CIA exam is now available online, too! This option might be temporary, though. You’ll find the instructions for registering for the online version of the CIA exam when you schedule your testing appointment via the Pearson VUE website.

Now, the IIA does ask that you wait 48 hours after you receive your authorization to test before scheduling your testing appointment. But after that 48-hour period ends, you have 180 days to schedule and take your exam part.

5. Sit for and pass the CIA exam

Again, you should purchase a CIA review course well before you sit for the CIA exam. That way, you’ll have no trouble clocking enough study time to be fully prepared for the exam by the date of your testing appointment.

The number of study hours you need to be ready for CIA exam success differs based on your situation. If you aren’t well-acquainted with the basics of internal auditing, then you should aim to study for a safe number of hours. However, if you do have a lot of experience with the CIA exam content, then you can settle for a minimum number of study hours. The study hour amounts I recommend in each of these situations are:

CIA Exam Study Hours

Exam Part Minimum # of Study Hours Safe # of Study Hours
1 30 65
2 30 70
3 50 95

You owe it to yourself to give the CIA exam your best effort. So, keep this schedule in mind as you prepare for the exam so that you’re sure to study efficiently and effectively. You want to give yourself enough study time to identify your weak areas and strengthen them specifically. Following these and other CIA exam preparation tips will increase your chances of passing the exam on your first try.

6. Complete the work experience requirement

As a reminder, you don’t need to fulfill the work experience requirement before you take the CIA exam. However, you must complete all of the CIA program requirements within 3 years. And remember: the amount of experience you need depends on your education level.

So, what does meeting the CIA work experience requirement look like for most candidates? Well, candidates with a master’s or bachelor’s degree should be able to acquire the 1-2 years of experience they need during their 4-year eligibility period. However, candidates with an associate’s degree, A-Level Certificate, or an equivalent must accumulate 5 years of experience. So, if you fall into the latter category, you’ll need to start working on the experience requirement before you enter the CIA program.

7. Earn the CIA certification and start earning CPE

Typically, the last step in the certification process involves submitting your work experience form. And fortunately, it only takes a few days for the IIA to grant you the CIA certification after they receive your form. Then, you’ll have 2 years after you receive the certification to start accumulating CIA CPE credits.

Free Help for Becoming a Certified Internal Auditor in Saudi Arabia

If you’d like more information about the CIA process, including tips on how to pass each exam part the first time, you’ll find it in my free CIA e-course. This course tells you how to become a CIA and how to achieve CIA exam success. So, get my Certified Internal Auditor course details in Saudi Arabia or sign up below!

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About the Author Stephanie

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.

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