CIA career advice

The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is the only internationally recognized credential for internal auditors. The CIA certification is granted by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) upon passing the CIA exam. 

What do CIAs do?

The job titles vary, but common positions include:

  • Auditor
  • Auditing Specialist
  • Risk Assessment Specialist
  • Financial Analyst
  • Internal Controls Auditor
  • Information Systems Auditor

Typical CIA Career Paths & Salaries

Professionals with the CIA certification may expect a median salary increase of $38,000. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number of auditing and accounting careers to grow faster than average, adding 139,900 jobs by 2026. Learn more about the CIA industry and its earning potential in our CIA Salary Guide.

Financial Analyst

A more junior position for CIAs, Financial Analysts track financial statements, prepare reports, analyze results and give recommendations to improve company productivity. The CIA certification gives Financial Analysts the confidence and knowledge they need to create financial reports and provide recommendations. 

Average salary: According to Glassdoor, Financial Analysts make an average of $65,817 per year.

Financial Risk Manager

After acquiring the necessary analytical and decision-making skills through the CIA credential and related work experience, Financial Risk Managers predict future changes that could affect the company’s finances and create strategic plans based on their predictions. This position requires a solid foundation of analytical skills, as well as a proficiency in mathematics. 

Average salary: Financial Risk Managers make an average of $99,949 per year.

Financial Controller

Financial Controllers work directly with Chief Financial Officers as one of the heads of the finance department. This position is largely a managerial position overseeing other accountants and accounting managers, but it also involves converting data into financial reports and formulating financial strategies. A CIA credential is highly recommended for this position, because Financial Controllers are required to make strategic recommendations and manage other accounting professionals.

Average salary: The average annual salary of Financial Controllers is $108,651.

Chief Financial Officer

The Chief Financial Officer is the head of a company’s financial decisions, as the finance arm of the C-suite and often reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). CFOs are involved in financial reporting, financial forecasting and company investments. The leadership, communications and analytical skills involved in this position are all part of the CIA credentialing process. A CIA or an MBA is often required. 

Average salary: CFO’s make an average annual salary of $146,053.

Who should earn the CIA?

If you are an accounting or finance professional looking to advance your career by completing an internationally recognized benchmark for strategic thinking, the CIA may be for you. CIA candidates learn how to turn data into dialogue and make important strategic business decisions based on that data.

Due to the CIA credentialing requirements, most professionals who earn the professional certification are more experienced professionals. However, CIA candidates can sit for the CIA exam before completing all certification requirements. Therefore, if you’re looking to boost your career early on, the CIA is still a viable option.

What are the requirements to become a CIA?

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) candidates must meet at least one of the following requirements: 

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. At least two years of verified professional experience in internal audit, or its equivalent. (A master’s degree may count towards one of the two years of professional experience.) 
  3. Complete at least two years of post-secondary education and five years of verified experience in internal audit, or its equivalent. 
  4. Complete at least seven years of verified experience in internal audit, or its equivalent. 

Is the CIA the right choice for you?

If you think earning the CIA credential will give your career the boost it needs, start studying for the CIA exam today with Surgent CIA Review. Surgent decreases your study time by increasing your study efficiency, offering the most adaptive CIA review course on the market.