How to Become a CCSA in Internal Audit?


how to become a CCSACCSA, which stands for Certification in Control Self-Assessment, is one of the specialty certifications offered by the IIA.

I have readers who express their interest in getting this certification after passing their CIA exams. This is a page dedicated to these successful candidates.

1. Determine if You have Passion in this Niche

I have to say that control self-assessment is a niche within a niche. Given this is highly specialized, I would only go ahead if I see internal audit as my long term career.

This applies to most of you, but since I get emails from recent high school graduates who hunt for the “certification with the highest bang for the buck”, I ask these readers to reconsider.

2. Fulfill the CCSA Exam Requirements

The exam requirements are exactly the same as that of the CIA exam.

Unlike the CRMA, you can pursue the CCSA independent on your decision of the CIA exam. In other words, you can be a CCSA and not a CIA.

For the experience requirements, you don’t need to get this done before or during the exam, but keep in mind that this is mandatory for you to get the CCSA certificate.

Specifically, you need 1 year of control-related business experience. Examples include CSA, auditing, quality assurance, risk management, and environmental auditing.

3. Take a Look at the Syllabus

Another way to gauge the CCSA exam difficulty and whether you like the content enough is to go through the syllabus.

The exam comprises 6 domains:

4. Schedule Your Exam

Similar to all other IIA certification, the CCSA exam is computerized and administered at the Pearson VUE centers around the world. You can take the exam on any day that the site opens — there is no specific testing windows or black-out periods.

A candidate must pass this exam within 4 years or he/she will have to repay for the application fee to try again.

This article on CIA exam scheduling is fully applicable to the CCSA.

5. Prepare for Your Exam

The IIA, through its Research Foundation, publishes an Exam Guide on the CCSA exam. The book has 330 pages and is written by experienced practitioners and academics.This book is sold at the IIA bookstore but you may find discounted copies on Amazon. Please find the link below for your reference.

In addition, the IIA lists out the following book as supplement to your CCSA preparation:

  • Control Self-Assessment: A Practical Guide
  • Internal Control — Integrated Framework

6. Take the Exam (and Pass!)

This is a two-hour exam with 115 questions, that is, 1 minute for each question on average. There is only one part in this specialty exam.

The format is 100% multiple choice and computerized, so you can get the results immediately after taking the exam. Similar to the other IIA certifications, you get a “pass” or a “fail”, with additional info (actual score) if on fails the exam. The reasoning is that candidates can estimate how far off they are from the passing grade. The passing score is 600.

7. Maintain Your Certification

To keep your certificate valid, make sure you self-report the CPE hours in the CCMS (the IIA online system). 20 CPE hours are required for specialty exams. For details, check out this official page for more information.

I hope this quick overview gives you an idea on how to become a CCSA. The process is very similar to that of the CIA exam, though simpler and quicker.

If you have any questions or would like to start a discussion with like-minded CCSA candidates, please drop a note below. All the best to your CCSA journey!

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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  • Nicole says:

    I ordered the exam guide that you had posted about and it appears that the book hasn’t been updated for some time. Is the material still relevant and useful for taking the exam today? Also, just to confirm, if you fail the exam you have to wait 90 days to retake it?

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