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On March 25, 2019, the IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) released its yearly global salary survey, along with more in-depth salary survey reports for particular countries and regions. 5,208 members from 78 countries participated in the annual survey, representing a wide variety of demographics across the globe. The report focused on management accountants, including those with the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification. One of the biggest findings we found in the report is the CMA certification provides not only an immediate salary increase, but an increase in overall compensation over the course of a career.

The Effect of the CMA Certification on Compensation

Having the CMA certification proves to employers you have the necessary skills to develop and implement growth strategies while managing the operational aspects of the business. CMAs are in high demand worldwide, and earning the certification can help you grow your career into management and senior roles, while concurrently growing your salary.

Globally, the median compensation worldwide for CMAs is $72,000. Compared to their non-CMA counterparts, where the median compensation is $33,000, CMAs earn 118% more. In the same report for 2018, CMAs earned 67% more in total compensation than non-CMAs. The 51% increase in the difference between the median total compensation of CMA’s compared to non-CMAs shows the value of the certification is increasing, and those looking to earn the CMA certification will see immediate salary benefits.

Whether starting out in a new role or looking to move into an upper-level management position, CMAs can see an immediate increase in salary once they become certified. Below is a global summary of particular roles within an organization alongside their CMA and non-CMA total median compensation:

  • Lower Management/Entry Level – CMAs earned 143% more than their non-CMA counterparts, with a median salary of $50,000
  • Middle Management – CMAs earned 103% more than their non-CMA counterparts, with a median salary of $62,000
  • Senior Management – CMAs earned 91% more than their non-CMA counterparts, with a median salary of $90,000
  • Top Management – CMAs earned 76% more than their non-CMA counterparts, with a median salary of $132,200
  • Academic Positions (College/University) – CMAs earned 24% more than their non-CMA counterparts, with a median salary of $100,000
  • All Positions – CMAs earned 118% more than their non-CMA counterparts, with a median salary of $72,000

The difference between CMA and non-CMA salaries within each organizational role is significant. Management accountants and financial professionals looking to develop skills to better engage in their work, while also increasing their compensation, should consider the global value of the CMA certification.

For those looking to work in the United States, we’ve put together a quick summary of the difference between certified CMAs and their non-CMA counterparts:

  • Ages 20-29 – CMAs earned 20% more than their non-CMA counterparts, with a median salary of $79,000
  • Ages 30-39 – CMAs earned 22% more than their non-CMA counterparts, with a median salary of $101,500
  • Ages 40-49 – CMAs earned 30% more than their non-CMA counterparts, with a median salary of $128,000
  • Ages 50 and Older – CMAs earned 19% more than their non-CMA counterparts, with a median salary of $135,500
  • Academic Positions (College/University) – CMAs earned 24% more than their non-CMA counterparts, with a median salary of $100,000
  • All Ages – CMAs earned 31% more than their non-CMA counterparts, with a median salary of $113,000

Whether you’re just starting out in the industry or are looking to move into a management role, gaining your CMA certification will significantly boost your base salary and average salary potential, no matter where in the world you work. Alongside this salary, boost comes enhanced growth potential within your organization, increased job satisfaction and overall engagement throughout the entire career.

Developing Your Skills by Becoming a CMA

According to the IMA’s salary report, CMAs earn significantly more than non-certified management accountants. Several respondents in the survey noted the value they felt they received by gaining the certification, and how their skills and career potential were improved by becoming a CMA. CMAs also have the potential to earn even more through a double certification, combining both the skills and credentials of a CMA and a CPA.

To become a CMA, candidates need to satisfy four requirements:

  • 1. Become a member of the IMA
  • 2. Pass the two-part CMA Exam
  • 3. Have a bachelor’s degree or related professional certification
  • 4. Have two continuous years of experience in management accounting or financial management


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The CMA certification will not only increase your earning potential, but will also provide a solid backing for a career path in a dynamic business environment. As technology becomes more integrated in the workplace and stakeholders become more interested in the granular operations of a company, the value of the CMA certification will continue to grow. One of the biggest steps to becoming a CMA is passing the CMA Exam.


Megan Bierwirth graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting and passed the CPA Exam within 6 months of graduation. She worked in both public accounting and industry while becoming a CPA and now runs a virtual bookkeeping company focused on preventive, integrative and complementary medicine professionals.