CIA Salary Guide


The CIA designation is granted by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and is the only globally recognized internal audit certification. Held by more than 160,000 professionals, earning this certification acts as proof of an employee’s knowledge and expertise in carrying out internal audits, anywhere in the world.

Who Should Earn the CIA?

Professionals working in the auditing department of any company, across government agencies, financial institutions or otherwise, can benefit from the CIA certification. Giving the ability to globally audit, this is a certification suitable at any stage of your career including within your first few years out of school.


Common Certified Internal Auditor Salary Ranges and Job Titles in the United States

Position Low-End Salary Average Salary High-End Salary
Internal Audit Specialist $64,500 $82,250 $96,800
Audit Manager $109,000 $125,000 $145,000
Staff Internal Auditor  $53,000 $58,000 $64,000
Senior Auditor $77,000 $86,000 $94,000
Compliance Auditor $47,000 $54,000 $62,000

Salary information provided by and Glassdoor.

Internal Audit Specialists

Internal Audit Specialists help protect a company and hold onto additional profit through finding and eliminating waste and fraud. This role involves the identification and roll out of systematic policies to evaluate and improve risk management, control and governance processes. The CIA certification is not required for this role, but it can advance your career prospects and highlight your experience level.

Audit Manager

Audit Managers are responsible for internal compliance, conducting risk assessments and creating plans to monitor annual auditing reports. While the CIA certification isn’t directly required for this role, larger companies often look for this designation when recruiting. Becoming a CIA complements strong analytical skills, clear communication and organizational skills.

Staff Internal Auditor

Staff Internal Auditor is a common entry-level position, and work in the full audit cycle including risk management and financial processes to ensure compliance with industry and federal regulations. Analytical skills are crucial in this role for determining internal audit scope and work alongside a strong knowledge of tax code and SEC regulations to ensure complete compliance.

Senior Internal Auditor

Senior Internal Auditor job roles typically require at least 2 years of experience post-graduation and play a large role in the financial audit process. As a non-entry-level position, this role typically involves coaching and mentoring responsibilities alongside the standard analytic job duties.

Compliance Auditor

Compliance Auditors work specifically in ensuring that a company is adhering to relevant federal and state regulations. This role manages compliance risk in order to protect the business, and benefits from meticulous attention to detail and focused problem-solving skills.

CIA vs. CPA Salary

While Certified Public Accountants (CPA) are also trained in auditing, Certified Internal Auditors are internationally recognized while CPA is a domestic designation. Having said that, CIA salaries are like that of CPAs with a median of around $60,000 for both depending on geography and job title.

Is a CIA a Good Career Path?

Earning this designation is a valuable accomplishment for any auditor, as well as an income-boosting advantage in the workplace. In fact, professionals with this certification can see a median salary increase of $38,000. Becoming a Certified Internal Auditor can help advance your career, knowledge and opportunity in the auditing world.

CIA Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate that the number of auditing and accounting careers is set to grow faster than average, with an increase of 139,900 jobs by 2026. With the job market on the up, obtaining a certification only further improves your likelihood of getting a job at a large company, with a CIA certification validating your competency in the auditing space.

Becoming a CIA

To gain the CIA credential, candidates must:

  1. Submit proof of work experience
  2. Register for CIA Examination
  3. Study for the examination
  4. Pass the examination

CIA Work Experience Requirements

The required work experience to become a CIA is a 4-year post-secondary bachelor’s degree from an accredited university recognized by the IIA. Alongside the academic experience, 24 months of verified work experience in an auditor position or equivalent is required – with the ability to skim this down to 12 months if a master’s degree has been achieved.

CIA Exam

The CIA Exam is split into three parts totaling 6.5 hours and 325 multiple-choice questions covering:

  • Part 1 – Essentials of Internal Auditing
  • Part 2 – Practice of Internal Auditing
  • Part 3 – Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing

Ready to start your journey to becoming a CIA? Start studying today with Surgent’s CIA Review, the smartest way to pass the Certified Internal Auditor Exam.