What are the requirements for the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam? Education, Experience, etc.

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 a bachelor’s degree or higher, or be in the last year of their studies for a bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree has to be obtained at one of the universities approved by The IIA (contact The IIA if you have any questions about your university’s accreditation status).

A university student who is not yet in their final year of study needs to pass the Internal Audit Practitioner Exam. However, if you are not yet in your last year of university, we would recommend that you wait until you enter your last year of university and take the CIA Exams at that time instead of trying to pass the Internal Audit Practitioner Exam as your means of becoming eligible.

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 meet the education requirement?

In some cases, a candidate who does not have a bachelor’s degree but has at least five years of internal audit experience may be eligible. In this situation, the candidate should contact the IIA directly to confirm their eligibility for the CIA Exams.

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.