How to Become a CIA – Certified Internal Auditor

The only internal audit qualification that is accepted around the world is Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). This makes it possible for you to work and do internal audits from any location in the world. 

Let’s understand how to become a CIA.

What qualifications are necessary to become a Certified Internal Auditor?

Any bachelor’s degree is the minimum criteria to pursue CIA Certification. Yes, bachelor’s form any stream will work.

How to Become a CIA (Certified Internal Auditor)?

This 5-step manual describes the process for earning the CIA designation as a result. 

  • Know the Benefits of the CIA Certificate:

The first stage is being familiar with the CIA, its benefits, and the requirements for joining. Because the CIA certification procedure requires a significant time investment, this stage is crucial. To have the drive to see things through, you must fully understand what you are entering into and why.

Benefits of receiving the CIA certification include greater income, more employment options, improved job security, increased powers and capabilities, and a greater sense of respect and reverence.

  • Accounting for the CIA Certificate’s Costs:

One of the biggest incentives for many CIA applicants to pursue the certification is the pay raise. But you still have to pay to acquire the title. You must first pay an upfront application cost of approx 100 US$. Then, for each exam portion, you must pay a registration fee of approx 200 US$. 

  • Complete CIA’s educational requirements:

It specifically demands that CIAs hold Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Among these counterparts are:

  • Foundation Degree
  • Diploma of Higher Education
  • Higher National Diploma
  • 3 A-level certificates with a grade of C or higher (outside North America)


  • Prepare for exam:

IIA provides a prep course to prepare for the same whereas other cheaper and best options are available in the market like academy of internal audit, etc.

  • Apply and appear into Exams:

You have to first become a member of IIA. Then apply for the exam by paying examination fees as described above and appear and pass the exams.

  • Earn the CIA Designation:

Once you pass all the level of exams, you will be entitled to use the CIA Designation.


What is the study curriculum of CIA:

Part 1 – Essentials of Internal Auditing (125 questions | 2.5 hours (150 minutes)

The CIA exam Part 1 is well aligned with The IIA’s International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF) and includes six domains covering the foundation of internal auditing; independence and objectivity; proficiency and due professional care; quality assurance and improvement programs; governance, risk management, and control; and fraud risk. Part one tests candidates’ knowledge, skills, and abilities related to the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing, particularly the Attribute Standards (series 1000, 1100, 1200, and 1300) as well as Performance Standard 2100.

Part 2 – Practice of Internal Auditing (100 questions | 2.0 hours (120 minutes)

The CIA exam Part 2 includes four domains focused on managing the internal audit activity, planning the engagement, performing the engagement, and communicating engagement results and monitoring progress. Part 2 tests candidates’ knowledge, skills, and abilities particularly related to Performance Standards (series 2000, 2200, 2300, 2400, 2500, and 2600) and current internal audit practices.

Part 3 – Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing (100 questions | 2.0 hours (120 minutes)

The CIA exam Part 3 includes four domains focused on business acumen, information security, information technology, and financial management. Part Three is designed to test candidates’ knowledge, skills, and abilities, particularly as they relate to these core business concepts.

The CIA exam focuses on the following internal audit topics: Internal controls and risk management, Auditing processes, Control frameworks, Documentation standards, Governance and business controls, Fraud, Engagement planning and procedures, Regulatory issues, IT and security systems.

The CIA exam syllabus also delineates the skills that CIA candidates must have in order to pass the exam. According to the CIA exam syllabus, the IIA expects CIA candidates to:

  • Possess current knowledge of The IIA’s International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF) and demonstrate appropriate use.
  • Be able to perform an audit engagement with minimal supervision in conformance with the IIA’s International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing.
  • Be able to apply tools and techniques to evaluate risks and controls.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of organizational governance.
  • Apply knowledge in business acumen, IT, and management needed for internal auditing.

Furthermore, we can see in the CIA exam syllabus the depth of knowledge the exam expects candidates to reach. The exam will assess you for one of these 2 cognitive levels (formerly awareness levels) for each topic within the exam part content areas:

  • Basic Level – Candidates retrieve relevant knowledge from memory and/or demonstrate basic comprehension of concepts or processes.
  • Proficient Level – Candidates apply concepts, processes, or procedures; analyze, evaluate, and make judgments based on criteria; and/or put elements or material together to formulate conclusions and recommendations.

As you can see, the CIA exam syllabus covers a lot of information about internal auditing. Furthermore, the syllabus expects candidates to understand most of that information at a deep level. In order to pass the CIA exam, you must know all of the content in the syllabus and know it at the appropriate level of depth, and that is easier said than done.

While the IIA does include reference lists for each exam part, it still leaves CIA candidates with tons of publications and pages to sort through. What’s more, the IIA gives candidates a deadline for finishing the exam and all the other CIA requirements: 3 years from the date you receive the IIA’s approval of your CIA program application.

So, you don’t have tons of time to meet the CIA requirements. And, you’ll have even less time if your exam preparations require you to wade through the IIA CIA syllabus and references on your own. Doing so is a long and involved process.


As you can see, earning your certification as an internal auditor is worthwhile. Although the prerequisites are stringent, the material is simple and easy to comprehend, and once certified, a successful career path is nearly a given.

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