IIA Certifications: CIA, CGAP, CFSA, CCSA, CRMA (Confused?)

Most accountants have heard of the CIA certification, but you may not know that there are specialty certifications offered by the IIA.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) Certification

This is the general designation for internal auditors, and the most globally recognized. We cover Certified Internal Auditor exam primarily in this site.

The CIA exam itself is a 3-part exam. You can choose to take the extra “Part 4” to add a specialization in your certification.

Specialty IIA Certifications

The following are single-part examinations:

1. CGAP ®

CGAP stands for Certified Government Auditing Professional. It is designed for auditors working in the public sector at federal, state, or local level, as well as in governmental agencies.

2. CFSA ®

CFSA stands for Certified Financial Services Auditor. It is for internal audit professionals working in banks, insurance companies and financial services.

3. CCSA ®

CCSA stands for Certification in Control Self-Assessment. It is the certification for control self-assessment practitioners. It measures a candidate’s knowledge of important CSA fundamentals, processes, and related topics such as risk, controls, and business objectives.

4. CRMA ®

CRMA stands for Certification in Risk Management Assurance. It is the certification for risk management assurance. It demonstrates whether a candidate can identify key risk management and governance processes in their organizations and how to present to audit committee and management.

Specialty IIA Certification Requirements

The entry of barrier is slightly lower than that for CIA.

1. Educational Requirements

  • 4-year degree (post-secondary or higher) from accredited colleges or universities, or
  • A combination 2-year post-secondary education AND 3-year business experience.

2. Experience Requirements

The experience must be verified by a IIA Global Certification holder, or your supervisor. The certification holder can be a CIA, CGAP, CFSA, CCSA or CRMA. The supervisor can be your current or former manager.

  • CCSA: 1 year of control-related business experience, such as CSA, auditing, quality assurance, risk management, or environmental auditing.
  • CFSA: 2 years auditing experience in a financial services environment.
  • CGAP: 2 years auditing experience in a government environment (federal, state/provincial, local, quasi-governmental areas, authority/crown corporation).
  • CRMA: 2 years auditing experience or controls-related business experience

Do I Need a Specialty IIA Certification?

It depends on your time commitment and career aspiration. For most people who are interested in general internal audit, the CIA certification is sufficient in my opinion. However, if you don’t mind taking one extra exam to get an additional recognition in your own niche area, it could be beneficial in a longer term.

Also, if you cannot get qualified for CIA, these specialty certifications have slightly lower exam requirements which opens the door for some candidates.

See How You can get Certified!

Our main focus in this website is the CIA certification, but given the demand from readers we have started to cover CRMA as well. We hope to add information to the other IIA certifications in the near future.

More Questions?

If you are interested in the CIA certification, please sign up to my mini-course which is completely free. You can learn more about this mini e-course here.

For Your Reference

Here are the links to the official IIA certifications:

  • CGAP (Certified Government Auditing Professional)
  • CFSA (Certified Financial Services Auditor)
  • CCSA (Certification in Control Self-Assessment)
  • CRMA (Certification in Risk Management Assurance)

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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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  • Roman says:

    Hello Stephanie, I completed CIA in June and planning to take CFSA exam. However, I do not find any information about the real exam and discussions about it just like CIA. Could you please give me some tips for preparation and what to expect in the exam.

  • Layla says:

    I want to take CRMA after finally having done the CIA, is there any studying providers for this such Gleim to read and study?

  • mlungisi says:

    i want a crma where must i find it

  • Robert says:

    What’s the average study time for the CFSA?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hello Robert, I wish I could give you an estimate, but we haven’t started covering CFSA yet. We need to chat with candidates like you to get more info! If you have anything to share, please let me know and I’d love to know more about this certification. Regards, Stephanie

  • Ann says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    My name is Ann, I graduated Bachelor of Accounting and Auditing in Vietnam in 2011. My degree was evaluated by Wes at GPA 3.65. I had 5 years working as external auditor in pwc Vietnam before I came to the US. I plan to get CIA, so could I have a chance to qualify exam’s attendance requirement?
    I am looking forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you so much,

  • Joseph says:

    I’m from South Africa and a senior internal auditor at a Government Institution. I did my CIA (3 Parts) and would like to do my MBA. Will it be advantageous if I do my CGAP before MBA? What do you suggest?

    • Meghan D says:

      Hi Joseph!

      We think choosing the CGAP first makes a lot of sense. You’ll already be in IIA study mode since you just sat for the CIA exam. Plus, the MBA program could take you a while and with any certification exam, you have the ability to start earning more and finding better job opportunities right after you pass it.

      I Pass the CIA Exam

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