CIA Exam Requirements: Education, Experience

When applying for the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam, candidates have to prove that they meet the requirements and provide the necessary documentation to The IIA. All documents have to be uploaded to The IIA’s Certification Document Portal.

If you have changed your name since you received any of the documents, you will also have to provide legal proof of the name change.


Candidates for the CIA Certification must have an Associate’s degree or higher. The degree has to be obtained at one of the universities approved by The IIA (contact The IIA if you have any question about your university’s accreditation status).

You need to provide one of the following to verify your degree:

  • A copy of your degree, official transcript, or A-level certificate
  • A confirmation letter from your university
  • A confirmation letter of your degree level from a degree evaluation service

What if I don’t have an associate’s degree?

The IIA can accept a Foundation Degree, Diploma of Higher Education, Higher National Diploma, or three A-level certificates with a grade of C or higher.

What if I don’t meet the education requirement?

The IIA may approve candidates who do not meet the minimum education requirements if they have at least 7 years of verified experience in internal audit or its equivalent. For the details check The IIA’s Certification Education Requirement Exceptions FAQ and Application.

Character Reference

CIA candidates are required to submit a character reference form signed by a CIA, CGAP, CCSA, CFSA, CRMA, or the candidate’s supervisor. This form is proof of your compliance with the IIA’s Code of Ethics, your moral principals, and your professionalism.

Proof of Identification

CIA candidates have to provide identification, which can be a copy of your passport or another valid ID with a clearly legible photo. The IIA will not accept expired documents.

Work Experience

CIA candidates do not need to have any work experience prior to registering and taking the CIA exams. However, candidates will not be certified until they meet the following work experience requirements:

  • Candidates with a Master’s degree – 12 months of internal auditing experience
  • ​Candidates with a Bachelor’s Degree​ – 24 months of internal auditing experience
  • Candidates with an Associate’s Degree, three A-Level Certificates, grade C or higher – 60 months of internal auditing experience

The IIA will also consider the equivalents of the degree levels and internal auditing experience.

Requirement Exemptions

You do not have to provide proof of education and work experience if you are:

  • A qualified member of the ​Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • An active and licensed U.S. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Eligibility Period

The IIA approves candidate’s applications for three years. If a candidate did not complete the certification process within three years, he or she loses any fees paid and any exams passed. There is also a one-time 12-month extension available for a fee.

IIA Membership

CIA candidates are not required to be members of The IIA to take the CIA exams.