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

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

What Is a CRMA?

The Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) is one of the latest certifications offered by the IIA, or the Institute of Internal Auditors. The CRMA certificate was introduced in 2013.

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

How to Become an IIA CRMA Certificate Holder

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

1. Can you benefit as a CRMA?

Here’s the most important question: Why do you want to be a CRMA? Why go through the trouble to get this additional certificate?

First of all, in the past, CRMA candidates had to pass part 1 of the three-part CIA exam before they could sit for the CRMA exam. However, several significant CRMA changes will be implemented in mid-2021.

Once the new CRMA 2021 requirements start (the IIA hasn’t announced the exact date), CRMA candidates must already have their CIA certificate. Therefore, to even sit for the CRMA exam, you must meet all the CIA requirements. And that means that you will already have a certain amount of education, experience, and knowledge that have advanced your career. With that in mind, one needs to consider whether this additional CRMA 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 are 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 the CIA exam:

  • 2014: 63%
  • 2015: 59%
  • 2016: 56%
  • 2017: 58%
  • 2018: 58%
  • 2019: 58%

So as you can see, over the past six years, the average pass rate has been a little over 58%. Even at 58%, the passing rate is considered pretty good when compared to other accounting-related certifications like the CPA.

If you’ve already passed the CIA exam, you should consider how that went for you. After all, some of the CIA exam topics have a lot of overlap with the CRMA exam, although the CRMA tests content at a higher level of proficiency. So if you did fairly well at studying for and passing the CIA exam, you could consider the CRMA.

3. Is it worth the money?

Before you decide to go to the CRMA certification, take a look at the costs. And keep in mind that the fees are different for IIA members vs. non-members. Also, please note that once the CRMA changes go into effect in mid-2021, the prices are changing.

CRMA costs before mid-2021 changes

  IIA Members Non-IIA Members
Application Fee $115 $230
Exam Registration Fee $380 $495

Costs after CRMA 2021 changes

  IIA Members Non-IIA Members
Application Fee $95 $210
Exam Registration Fee $445 $580

If you want a complete and detailed breakdown of all of the costs to get you CRMA certificate, check out the links below:

4. Check out the syllabus

The IIA has posted the CRMA exam syllabus online. The “old” syllabus is located at this link, and the “new” (post mid-2021) syllabus is located here.

5. Fulfill the work requirements

In addition to passing the CRMA exam, you’ll need to fulfill certain work requirements. However, keep in mind that you can take the exam before or after you accumulate this experience. Your work experience must be in auditing or a controls-related business environment like risk management, quality assurance, or CSA.

The original CRMA requirements stated that candidates needed a certain amount of experience to get the certificate. However, those requirements are changing in mid-2021. I’ve listed the original and the revised requirements below.

Work experience requirements – pre-CRMA changes in 2021

  • If you have a master’s degree or equivalent: 12 months
  • If you have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent: 24 months
  • If you have an associate degree or equivalent: 60 months

Work experience requirements – after CRMA 2021 changes

  • At least 5 years of work experience, including a minimum of 2 years in internal auditing

6. Register for the exam

You can register for the exam year-round at any Pearson VUE center around the world. The registration process is exactly the same as 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. My article also lists where you can get supplementary materials:

8. Take the exam

The original CRMA exam is a one-time, two-hour exam with 100 questions. However, in mid-2021, the exam is changing formats. After that date, it will be a 150-minute exam with 125 questions. Please read the following article for all of the updates:

How to do well on the CMRA exam? Basically, follow the same study path you used to pass your CIA exams. You can reference my study tips master page:

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.

You must wait 90 days if you want to retake the CRMA exam.

Similar to the CIA exam, you have to complete the CRMA exam within a certain number of years from your registration date. The original timeline was 4 years. However, after the mid-2021 CRMA changes, candidates will have 2 years to apply to the program and pass the exam.

10. Satisfy the CRMA CPE requirements

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

The CRMA CPE hours are self-certified and should be recorded in the CCMS system 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 perform internal audits or related activities.

New CRMAs are awarded 40 CPE hours as soon as your certificate is awarded. Of those 40 hours, 20 are allocated for the year in which you passed the exam. The other half is awarded for the subsequent year. So really, you don’t have to worry about CPE hours for the first couple of years after becoming a CRMA.

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 Ahead?

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

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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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