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How to Become a CRMA in 3 Months: Follow These 10 Steps


Many readers ask about the CRMA certification recently. I am going to dig deeper to present a macro view on this certification. The comment section below can also be used as a CRMA exam forum for those who have general questions.

What does CRMA Stand for?

CRMA, which stands for Certification in Risk Management Assurance, is the latest certification offered by the IIA. The CRMA exam was introduced in 2013.

As the name suggests, the certification covers the skills required for a professional to educate and advice the management and audit committee on risk management concepts. In short, the focus is on “risk” and “risk management”.

How to Become a CRMA Certificate Holder

I don’t suggesting jumping into the application procedure right away. Let’s take the time and ask the “why” instead of the “how”:

1. Understand the “Why”: Whether and How You can Benefit as CRMA

The biggest question is: why do you want to be a CRMA? Why go through the trouble to get this additional certificate when you are about to get (or have already got) the CIA title?

Since passing Part 1 of the CIA exam is part of the CRMA exam requirements, candidates are either a CIA certificate candidate or holder. With that in mind, one needs to consider whether this additional certification is worth the extra time, effort and money.

2. Is it Worth the Time and Effort? (CRMA Exam Difficulty and Pass Rate)

In other words, how difficult is the CRMA exam and what’s the odds of passing (quickly)?

Looking at objective measures such as historical pass rates, the good news is that the CRMA exam pass rate is considerably higher than that of the CIA exam:

  • 2014: 63%
  • 2015: 59%
  • 2016: 56%

There is a worrying sign that the passing rate is trending lower, but I don’t think we have enough data points to support this claim. Even at 56%, the passing rate is considered pretty good when compared to other accounting related certifications.

Another good way to find out is whether you find CIA exam Part 1 manageable enough. There is much overlap between the CIA and the CRMA exam. If you know your Part 1 material, you will most likely do well. It’s even better if you have studied and passed the other parts as well.

3. Is it Worth the Money?

It costs $350 to take the exam as IIA member and $450 as non-member. There are additional fees and you can check out the detailed breakdown below:

4. Check out the Syllabus

You can see the CRMA exam as a two-part exam: the first one being Part 1 of the CIA exam, and another test specifically based on the CRMA syllabus.

We focus on the specialty test in this post.

5. Fulfill the Requirements

There are two levels — the exam requirements and experience requirements.

If you qualify for the CIA exam, you are all set. Here is the detailed version for your reference.

6. Register for the Exam

You can register for the exam year-round in any Pearson VUE centers around the world. The registration process is exactly the same as that of the CIA exam. Here are the related articles for your info:

7. Study with the Best Materials

For now, only one CRMA study guide from the IIA Research Foundation is available. You can click below for my review, as well as where you can get supplementary materials:

8. Take the Exam

This is a one-time, two-hour exam with 100 questions. How to do well? Pretty much what you’ve done to pass your CIA Part 1. Here is my study tips master page for your reference:

9. Get the Results

The great thing about the IIA administered exams is that you know the results immediately. You will get a “pass” or “fail”. The passing score is 600, but you receive the score only if you fail.

One must wait for 90 days if he/she wants to retake the CRMA exam. In between the candidate can take other IIA exams such as CIA exam for Part 2 and 3, or other specialty exams.

Similar to the CIA exam, one has to complete the CRMA exam within 4 years counting from the registration date.

10. Satisfy the CRMA CPE Requirements

A CRMA must fulfill the CPE requirements to keep the certification valid.

The CRMA CPE hours are self-certified and should be recorded in the CCMS system latest by the end of each calendar year.

The required number of CPE hours are different based on your certification status:

  • Practicing: 20 hours
  • Non-practicing*: 10 hours
  • Retired: 0 hours

* Non-practicing holders are those who do not actively performing internal audit or related activities.

New CRMAs are awarded 40 CPE hours. Half of the awarded CPE hours are for the year in which the exam is passed, and the other half are for the subsequent year.

If you are a CIA, you can use the same CPE credits for both certifications, but bear in mind that 25% of the hours earned must be in the specialty area of expertise.

Would You Go Heard?

I hope this page provides enough info for you to decide on the CRMA journey. Do you think it’s worth the time, effort and money? Can you create a game plan to get this done in the next 3 months? Let me know what you think, and good luck!

Cheers, Stephanie

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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  • Dennis says:

    Bless you and your website. I actually have my CPA, CIA, CAMS and CISA designations. However, have noticed that there are many more Risk jobs that are higher paying than Audit jobs. This occurrence has been happening in the last 5 years. I have thought about going after the FRM designation, however this would take at least 1 year to pass and several more years to qualify. Plus the FRM appears to be only the nastier parts of the CFA exam with the Risk part just being an after-thought. In addition to the designation I need to come “up to speed” on the actual risk reports which are used in the financial services industry. If you can assist me in this aspect, please let me know.

    Best Regards, Dennis

  • Muhammad says:

    Good day.

    Is there a possibility to do CRMA after completing CMA (Certiified Management Accounting)?

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