CISA Certification Cost and CISA Exam Fees

cisa certification cost

Once you discover how beneficial the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification can be to your career, you’ll know that it is worth however much you’ll spend earning it. But you’ll probably still wonder exactly how much the CISA certification costs. You’ll also want to know what the certification costs cover. For example, earning the CISA involves passing the CISA exam, and, consequently, paying the CISA exam fees. So, discovering each CISA certification cost and CISA exam fee is essential for embarking on your CISA journey. After all, you have to prepare your wallet to pay the CISA fees, just as you must prepare your mind to pass the CISA exam. Thankfully, you can use this information to see what the cost of CISA really is.

CISA Certification Costs

To earn the CISA certification, you need to know what you’ll pay for and when you’ll pay for it. And the sooner you know this information, the better, as then you can prepare for each expense and not miss a payment deadline. So, pay attention to and plan for each of these items in the CISA fee structure.

1. ISACA Membership Cost (Optional)

You don’t need to be a member of ISACA to take the CISA exam, but you can get a discount on CISA exam fees if you are a member. You can also receive access to professional networking, volunteer opportunities, online forums, professional and industry advocacy, and more. Finally, you can even enjoy free webinars, free audit programs, and free CPE. So, if you want to be a CISA, you’ll also benefit from being an ISACA member.

But of course, you’ll have to pay for this membership. Specifically, you’ll have to pay the new member fee, international dues, and local chapter dues. The membership types are as follows:

  • Professional: people interested in or employed in IT audit, information security risk and IT governance fields
  • Recent graduate: those that have just graduated from a college or university within the last 2 years.
  • Student: individuals currently enrolled in accredited undergraduate and graduate programs.

And the amounts of these fees are:

ISACA Membership Fees

Membership Type


Recent Graduate

New Membership Fee

$10 if paid online; $30 if paid via mail or fax



International Dues




Local Dues




2. CISA Exam Cost

While you don’t have to pay for ISACA membership, you do have to pay for the CISA exam. Though the CISA exam fees are not cheap, they are essential for ensuring that candidates show up for the test and that the organizations involved can cover expenses such as testing center usage, exam proctors, and the scoring process.

CISA Exam Fees

Exam Fee



U.S. Dollars



These exam fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable. Furthermore, when you register for the exam, you will begin your exam eligibility period of 12 months (365 days). If you do not schedule and take the exam during this time, you will forfeit your exam fees.

4. CISA Certification Cost

Once you have passed the CISA exam and acquired the relevant full-time work experience, you can submit the CISA certification application and pay the application processing fee at the same time. The application processing fee is $50 for both ISACA members and non-members.

5. Annual Maintenance Fee

After you have obtained the CISA certification, you must follow the steps to maintain it. These steps including paying the CISA maintenance fee and reporting CPE hours annually. The annual maintenance fee is as follows:

CISA Certification Maintenance Fees

Certification Maintenance FeeMemberNon-Member

6. Other CISA Certification Costs

The CISA exam fee paid at the registration does not include any study materials. Therefore, the study materials cost anywhere from $40 for a study guide to $300+ for the official CISA review manual and question database. You can learn more about CISA review courses in my comparison of some of the best options.

CISA Certification Cost Comparison

So, what will your CISA certification costs be? You can see the total cost for members and non-members in this table.

CISA Certification Costs

Membership fee (median)*$175 –
Exam Registration$575 $760
Mail-in application charge$75 $75
Deferral charge$200 $200
Certificate application fee$50 $50
Certificate maintenance fee$45 $85
Review materials$450$450

* We took the median of local chapter dues ($40). The total membership fee presented here is $135 + $40 = $175. New members need to pay an extra $10 for membership.

CISA Exam Costs Compared to Other Accounting Certification Exams

With only one exam part and relatively less expensive review materials, your CISA investment is likely the most affordable of the other accounting certifications you can earn. You can see how much the process of passing a few other accounting certification exams costs in this table.

Exam fees only Exam fees + review course
 CPA ~$1,000 ~$3,000
 CIA ~ $1,000 ~$2,000
 CMA ~$1,300 ~$2,500
 CFA ~$3,000 ~$4,500

Clearly, taking the CISA exam is cheaper once you factor the price of a great review course into the exam fees as well.

CPA Exam Fees vs CISA Exam Fees

Taking the CPA Exam will costs at least $1,000 before you purchase a CPA review course. So, with the CISA exam costs sitting at about $1500, the CPA Exam is cheaper to start, but the price of a review course will definitely double your investment.

CIA Exam Fees vs CISA Exam Fees

The cost of the CIA exam is also around $1,000 when not including the cost of a CIA review course. So, the CIA exam is cheaper than CISA before you factor in the expense of review course materials. But once you pay for the course you’ll need to pass the CIA exam, you’ve spent more than you would have on the CISA exam.

CMA Exam Fees vs CISA Exam Fees

CMA exam fees add up to about $1,300 pre-review course. So, the CMA exam is also cheaper than the CISA exam, but again, you’ll spend about $1,000 more after you purchase a CMA review course.

CFA Fees vs CISA Fees

Finally, we have CFA exam fees at $3,000, again, before the purchase of a CFA review course. As you can see, the CFA exam is more expensive than the CISA at each stage in the preparation process.

All this being said, choosing the best accounting certification for you is not about how much you must pay to pass the exam. These certifications enable you to specialize in different areas of accounting and hold different roles. Therefore, you need to determine which certification will enable you to meet your career goals. You may end up spending a bit more depending on the certification you choose, but if it’s the one that leads you down the career path of your dreams, then you’ve chosen the best certification for you. And in this case, the money you spend is completely worth it.

CISA Breakeven

If the fact that the CISA may be the perfect certification for you isn’t relieving your stress about the CISA exam costs, then you should consider the CISA breakeven rate. The average salary range for a professional holding the CISA certification ranges from approximately $52,459 to $122,326. So, while the CISA may cost you up to $1,600 in fees as well as the cost of study materials on top of that, you will still recoup those costs in your first year of working as a certified CISA.

What’s more, anytime you consider earning a certification, you have to know that you are making an investment in your career and, consequently, your future as well. You can’t get a top-level job in information systems auditing without the CISA. And if you’ve already worked several years in the industry, earning the CISA won’t be that much more work for you, as the CISA experience requirement is 5 years of experience in information systems auditing, control or security. Additionally, you have 10 years before you apply or 5 years after you pass the exam to meet the experience requirement, so you have plenty of time.

And if you were planning on putting this amount of time into information systems auditing anyway, then getting the CISA certification allows you to definitively prove your expertise in the field. You’ll have what it takes to pass the exam and secure the certification, so you shouldn’t let the CISA exam fees scare you away from this very beneficial designation.

CISA Certification Cost in India

As you may know, the CISA certification is available in other countries as well. It is growing internationally, especially in India. In fact, India is a popular testing location for the CISA exam. What’s more, the CISA cost in India will be the same as CISA costs elsewhere. So, the more important thing to know about earning the CISA in India is that you will still have to take the exam in English. Therefore, if English is not your first language, you must make developing your ability to read and write in English a part of your CISA exam prep. 

Furthermore, most of CISA exam prep courses are in English as well. So, getting the best CISA review course for you will help you improve your English and your understanding of the exam content.

Conclusions About CISA Exam Fees

At the end of the day, if you’re going to take the CISA exam, you’re going to have to pay for it. All certification exams have exam fees, registration fees, etc. But these fees do not have to push the CISA certification out of reach. Instead, when you use this information about each fee you’ll have to pay to create your CISA budget and save your money, you can be completely prepared to handle this part of the CISA certification process. You can also cut your CISA costs by using my CISA review course discounts to save big on your CISA exam prep.

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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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  • Ken says:

    Today is 10/2602016. I was granted CISM Oct 2015, and and CISA this month and have registered for CRISC.
    To get me here, ISACA has collected the following but I don’t know what everything is for.
    Feb. 2015: $170
    Mar. 2015: $490
    Jul 2015: $440
    Aug 2015: $50
    May 2016: $45
    Sep: 2016 $855 + $50.

    ISACA shows I owe another $45 to renew CISA already +another $45 to renew CISM. If I pass CRISC, I guess i’m supposed to pay another $50 to apply and then annual renewal for all three + membership + local chapter $135 dues.

    I just want the letters behind my name and to maintain 8570 or whatever it’s called now. I never imagined how much money ISACA would take. And continue to take.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Ken, thanks for sharing. I can’t figure it out either… it would be great if you can find out the nature of the bigger items — v helpful info to alert the readers!


    Kindly advice on the added advantages of completing CPA and having a degree on Accounting and Finance.

  • Khanya says:

    Good day

    If I want to write in the September period will I get an opportunity to access the early registration discount that the June exam takers get? or is there a way to register now and only have my first attempt in September. I want the early registration discount but I don’t want to write in June, its too soon 🙁

  • Tendy says:

    good day
    there is no Zimbabwe on the Chapters. so is it possible to register under the South African Chapter??

    thank you

  • harry says:

    Dear Stephanie

    Just after completed CIA exams, now I am preparing for CISA exam to have an exam in November or December this year. I just joined a member of ISACA by paying the member fee, by which we can expect a discount on exam fee, but it is not clear for me how much we can get a discount on the early exam registration …. just I found on the ISACA website such discount for Yr2016, but not for Yr2017, can you advise me whether they still have early exam registration discount ?

    Thank you !

  • Cristi says:


    If I register as ISACA member during this period(1 June – 31 July), am I entitled for full rights, especially in what regards the exam registration(for current exam registration period ending on 30 September) and preparation materials discounts(CISA) ?



  • Sine says:

    Hi Guys…I have been trying to get the cisa exam early bird deadline registration for the august/september period, but there is nothing on the ISACA website and another thing is that I heard that there was discount they ( repeaters who wrote in June 2016 preparing for September 2016) normally received in previous years, is that still applicable in 2017?


  • malixole says:

    Hi Guys

    I want write CISA exams now in November- December period 2017, I see there is an exam amount of 760 for non-members, does it include the study material required to the exam? is there a special price for this period of the year or it only applies in january

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Malixole,
      I wish I could answer this question but I am still trying to figure it out… the CISA info isn’t as clear as before. You might want to call them up directly. Regards, Stephanie

  • Midie says:

    Hi. I would like to inquire about CISA Certification Exam Fees. How are we going to eliminate the cost (deferral charge and mail in application charge) as well as the certificate application and maintenance fee. Can you please elaborate. Is it downloadable (certificate)

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