It’s common to have questions about when CMA CPE requirements due dates fall. And as a Certified Management Accountant, your education doesn’t end once you’ve completed your degree or even once you’ve passed the CMA Exam. In order to maintain your CMA certification, you’ll need to complete a certain number of continuing professional education (CPE) credits every year. This requirement ensures that your knowledge of new concepts and techniques in the field remains up to date. Additionally, you’ll become familiar with the latest technology to serve your clients best.
We’ve put together some answers to commonly-asked questions about CPE credit requirements for a CMA.
Every year, a CMA must complete 30 hours of continuing education. At least two of these hours must cover the subject of ethics in accounting or business.
As previously stated, you’ll have to take at least two hours of ethics courses. The focus of these two hours should be primarily management accounting and financial management. However, the remainder of your hours can pertain to any topics covered by the CMA Exam or any of your professional responsibilities. Here are some broad topics suggested by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA):
Each reporting period coincides with the calendar year. That means requirements for the year need to be completed between January 1 and December 31. However, if you’ve just taken and passed the CMA Exam, your first reporting period doesn’t begin until January 1 of the next year. Fortunately, you can use any CPE you happen to complete during or after taking your exam as part of the next year’s requirement. That means if you take the CMA Exam in 2020, your first reporting period begins on January 1, 2021, and you can count any CPE completed in 2020 with your 2021 hours.
If you complete more CMA CPE requirements than you need for any one year, you can carry up to 10 hours forward to the next year. That means if you complete 40 hours, you can count 10 of those hours toward next year’s requirement. However, if you complete 45 hours one year, you can still only carry over 10 of those hours.
Each state’s Board of Accountancy determines the CPE credit requirements for a CPA certification. However, any organization that offers CPA CPE credits must register with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). NASBA-approved courses will also meet CPE requirements for a CMA as well.
Yes. According to the IMA, “programs that are presented by organizations registered with NASBA meet the requirements of continuing education for CMAs and CFMs.” If you have CMA CPE questions about an individual NASBA-approved course, you can contact the IMA directly.
No doubt studying for the CMA Exam involves a great deal of continuing education. The IMA recognizes this and allows you to claim 10 hours of CPE credit for each hour of the examination that you passed. You can also claim credit for a CMA Exam prep course, but you can’t double-dip and count both the exam itself and the prep course toward your requirements.
Your continuing education doesn’t need to come from an accredited college or university, but if you do happen to take courses at a school of higher learning, these can count toward your CPE. Each semester credit hour earns you 15 CPE hours. Similarly, if your university is on the quarter system, each quarter credit hour earns you 10 CPE hours.
The IMA counts self-study courses, seminars, professional and trade association meetings, and service as a lecturer or discussion leader toward CPE. Teaching at the college level earns CPE hours, though you may only submit each course for credit once every three years unless the curriculum changes substantially. Exams that go along with periodicals or computer software packages count, as do articles and books submitted for publication. Look at the IMA’s Continuing Education Requirements and Rules (link opens PDF) for more answers to your CMA CPE questions.
No, the continuing education requirement applies to education outside of your employment. Thus, job training doesn’t count as CPE. For any employer-based training to count, they must hire an instructor or course leader and provide educational materials.
If you’re wondering how to submit CMA CPE hours, don’t worry – you don’t need to make any formal paperwork submissions. It would be best if you recorded your CPE hours in the transcript section of your member profile on the IMA website to keep track of what you’ve completed. However, make sure to hang on to any documentation for completed CPE hours because the IMA audits its member from time to time. If you’re chosen for an audit, you’ll have to prove that you completed the CPE hours you reported. The IMA recommends keeping CPE documentation for two years.
If you fall short of your CMA CPE requirement one year, you are not considered a designated CMA, and you become an inactive member, not in good standing. You’ll have another calendar year to fix this. As long as you complete a total of 60 CPE hours over the course of two years, you will retain your certification. For example, if you only complete 25 hours in 2020, you would have to complete 35 hours by the end of 2021 to keep your CMA designation. If you fail to do this, you have to complete 60 total hours within 2022 or risk losing your certification entirely.
If you are over age 55 and retired, you don’t need to complete any continuing education. However, you will need to contact the IMA to change your status to “retired.” Additionally, CMAs in a few particular situations may qualify for a waiver. If you are active in military service or experiencing serious illness, disability, or financial hardship, you can request the IMA to waive your CPE requirements.
If you’re looking for CMA CPE credits, we recommend the courses provided by Becker. Although this company is primarily known for its CPA Exam prep courses, it also provides continuing education that fulfills both CPA and CMA requirements. Becker CPE courses include webcasts, prerecorded on-demand classes, and full course packages, all taught by experienced professionals in the field.
Whether you need a few hours to supplement your completed CPE or you need to get all 30, Becker has courses to fit your schedule. You can even try a free demo course that will earn you an hour of credit.
All valid CPE discounts are updated on a continuous basis.
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I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!