US CMA vs. US CPA course – Top differences updated in 2023 | Uplift Professionals

Almost all finance and accounting students face challenges in choosing their career path. A question arises whether I need to pursue a certification course like US CMA course or US CPA course? Which among them is better? What are the key differences between a US CMA course and US CPA course? Can (or should) I get both? Let’s understand some of the major differences between US CPA and US CMA certifications.

US CMA course vs. US CPA course

CMA stands for Certified Management Accountant and is offered by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (IMA). Earning the US CMA can give you the career boost as they have an excellent rate of absorption all over the world. Currently, CMA has marked its presence in over 100 countries including the United States (US). The US CMA course is pursued by students who are keen in learning budgeting and management accounting.

On the other hand, CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant and is offered by American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The students have to pass the US CPA exam in India as well as meet the state’s licensing requirements to get the US CPA license. Generally, students who are interested auditing, management accounting, accounts handling, taxation takes this certification course.

When it comes to different career options for a commerce graduate, the most common careers after B.Com includes US CMA, MBA, M.Com, CA to name a few. Among these, US CMA is one such impressive international course in field of management and accounting. Earning the US CMA can give you the career boost as they have an excellent rate of absorption in all over the world. Currently, CMA has marked its presence in over 100 countries including the United States (US).

The major difference between US CMA qualification and a MBA degree is that the US CMA is a professional certification while the MBA is an academic degree. There are some key differences between these that you should know before choosing either path.

The most common differences between US CMA course and US CPA course are explained below.

Eligibility details – US CMA vs. US CPA

When it comes to course eligibility, students must have a bachelor’s degree as basic eligibility. However, Students who are pursuing their bachelors are eligible to take the US CMA exams. Another, key requirement of US CMA course is that students have to meet the CMA work experience requirements. These include –

1. Two years of professional experience in accounting or finance

2. For Fresher’s the experience requirement may be completed within 7 years of passing the examination.

The students pursuing the US CPA course must should have a Bachelor degree in Commerce and Masters with minimum 120 credit points. Further, the students should complete 150 hours of the CPA course semester.

Course details – US CMA course vs. US CPA course

The US CMA course has just 2 parts which can be cleared in 7 to 9 months’ time. On key advantage is that you can complete the course without disturbing your current commitments. This is highly beneficial for working professionals who wishes to up skill and accelerate their career paths.  It is seen that students who are finishing undergraduate degree take the CMA Exam and then complete the certification process once you have qualified the work experience criteria.

The two parts of US CMA exam are –

A. Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics

B. Part 2: Strategic Financial Management

In case of US CPA, the course has 4 parts and takes nearly 9-12 months to complete the course with continuous exam window now due to pandemic. The four sections of a US CPA exam include the following.

A. Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

B. Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

C. Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

D. Regulation (REG)

Duration and exams

To earn your CPA, Candidates appearing for exam is required to score of 75 or more on each section to pass, and each section must be passed within an 18-month window, which begins as soon as the candidate passes the first exam. CPA exam scoring is treated with a high level of importance, due diligence, and attention to accuracy.

On the other hand, a US CMA course candidate gets 3 years for clearing both parts of the US CMA exam and the time starts from the day of the registration.

As per the latest analysis from Uplift Pro, the pass rate of US CMA worldwide to clear both Parts I and Part II is 45% while, the average pass percentage for US CPA exam is nearly 50.

US CPA Course testimony -Uplift Pro

That being said, never get confused on pass percentage. Research has shown that students who gets good training and guidance have high pass rates. Uplift Pro is one such premier institute in India offering live interactive online classes. They have a pass rate of 85% in both US CPA exams and US CMA exams.

Job opportunities

In India a fresh US CPA starts with a minimum monthly salary of 50,000 INR in a Big4 or MNC. The salary of a CPA increases at a higher rate than his non-certified peers. A CFO in India earns within INR 8 Lakhs to 50 Lakhs per month. In Middle East countries a CPA at an entry-level with less than a year experience can expect to earn an average annual salary of AED 85,000 (including perks and other benefits).

In case of US CMA course, a fresh candidate in India can get a starting salary of INR 4-8 lakhs per year. This can go up to nearly INR 80 Lakhs once you become a CFO of a company. 

The latest Global Salary Survey 2021, from IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) revealed that a median salary of a CMA professional is above 58% higher than non-CMAs and MBA. The study was based on a sample population of 3,085 respondents from 79 countries across the globe.  It was found that the difference in total compensation between CMAs and non-CMAs (including MBA) worldwide is nearly USD 29,000; a strong reason why a US CMA course is a career changing qualification.

US CPA vs. US CMA Course fees

Another key difference in choosing the course lies in the course fees. The US CMA exam has an entrance fee and a registration fee for each exam part. As of May 2021, US CMA certification cost is approximately USD 1,000, which includes all the fees. This doesn’t include the cost of a review course for studying.

The US CPA exam in India fee is generally around USD 1,200 for all four sections. However, that may slightly vary based on number of sections you appear for the exam and also varies state by state.

On an average the US CPA certification cost comes at around USD1, 500, considering the exam fees, application fees, and licensing fee.  Again, this does not include the cost of a review course for studying.

US CPA vs. US CMA – Comparative Table

Organizing body American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Institutes of Management Accountants (IMA)
Duration of Course 18 months 3 years or 36 months
Exam pattern 4 – Part Exam 2 – Part Exam
Pass Rate 50% 45%
Exam fees USD 1,500 USD 1,000
Exam Dates Continuous Testing (as of 1st Jul 2020) Jan- February May- June September- October
Starting Salary in INR lakhs 6 4-8

Choose the best US CPA and US CMA institute in India, Africa, and Middle East – Uplift Pro

Uplift Pro is one of the top training institutes for the US CMA, US CPA US CIA courses in India, Africa, and Middle East. Uplift Pro is also an Indian partner of GLEIM, US and an IMA US authorized CMA US study center. Our team consists of seasoned professionals and entrepreneurs from IIEST, IITs, London Business School, and ULCA who have decided to provide a strong backup to young ambitious students and professionals to reach their desired career destinations in an organized way.

Some of the exclusive features include –

A. Authorized partner of IMA and Gleim in India

B. High pass rate of 85 %

C. Live online classes ensuring that the regular office working hours is least impacted

D. 1:1 personal support from our 30 plus years of experienced CMA and CPA certified faculties

E. Affordable course fees

F. “Till you pass” guarantee assuring that you may attend our live online classes at no extra cost until you pass

G. 100 % placement assistance for jobs

US CMA course

For more details please write us here:

Request for Live Demo class / contact at +91-8787088850 to book your seats now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *