CIMA Certification - The Certified Investment Management Analyst certification or CIMA is an internationally-recognized certification which is awarded by the Investments and Wealth Institute, formerly known as IMCA. CIMA is one of the most-in demand finance certifications and is known to be the best technical portfolio creation program for analysts, investment consultants and financial advisors. According to the official IMCA website, it has been acknowledged that CIMA certified professionals are both more satisfied with their careers and earn better compensation in their respective job profiles globally. In addition, IMCA states that it has been seen that 33% CIMA certification holders earn USD $380,000 or more annually. Obtaining a CIMA certification in finance may be a tedious and demanding process, but it has been seen that the process definitely pays off for individuals who want to advance their career professionally without pursuing a full-fledged graduate program.
Certified Investment Management Analyst
Investments and Wealth Institute
Test centre administration
Number of questions
140 (125 scored + 15 unscored)
CIMA Course Details: Steps to Obtain CIMA Certification
The procedure for obtaining the CIMA certification involves a number of steps to be carried out by prospective candidates. These steps include:
Step 1 - Application and background check: Candidates must submit the CIMA application form, and application fee and subsequently pass the initial background check which is conducted by Investments and Wealth Institute in order to be eligible to participate in the CIMA certification process. If the candidate clears the background check then he or she will receive the official CIMA login for the program.
Step 2 - Executive education: Once the applicant is accepted to the CIMA program, he or she must enroll with any of the four registered CIMA course education providers for their executive education program. The CIMA course fees are equivalent to the executive education program fees of the selected education provider.
Step 3: Certification exam: Upon completion of the executive education program, the candidate will have fulfilled CIMA course eligibility and will be able to sit for the certification examination. Candidates may sit for the examination multiple times with a gap of 30 days between two testing sessions. Additional fees will be applicable for each subsequent test session. If the candidate clears the certification examination, then he or she will be eligible to move onto step 4 of the CIMA certification process.
Step 4: CIMA certification: The candidate must demonstrate at least 3 years of professional work experience in the domain of financial services or a related industry. Subsequently, the candidate needs to pass a second background check by Investments and Wealth Institute, complete a license agreement and adhere to the institute’s Code of Professional Responsibility before being awarded the CIMA certification.
CIMA Course Details: Education Providers
There are four designated education providers for the CIMA certification process. These education providers offer executive education programs which need to be completed by an applicant in order to meet the CIMA course eligibility requirement. This is generally known as Step 2 of the CIMA certification process. The CIMA course duration as well as the CIMA course fees varies with the specific education provider. Applicants can apply to any of the four education providers after clearing the initial background check and receiving acceptance to the CIMA program.
The four education providers are:
The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Yale School of Management
Investment Management Research Program - Australia
CIMA Application Form
Filling out the CIMA application form is the first step towards CIMA certification and subsequent CIMA course eligibility. Prospective candidates are required to fill out the application form and make the application fee payment in order to be considered by the CIMA program. There are no specific eligibility requirements for submission of the CIMA application form. Upon submission of the CIMA application form, the Investments and Wealth Institute will conduct a thorough background check of the applicant.
The candidate will be notified regarding the conclusion of the background check within 10 business days of application form submission. If the candidate passes the background check then he or she will be accepted to the CIMA program. After this candidates will receive their official CIMA login and will be able to continue to the second step of the CIMA certification process.
CMA Course Fees
The various CIMA course fees which are involved in the entire certification process include the application fee, the executive education program fee, certification renewal fees, as well as additional examination and membership fees for the Investments and Wealth Institute.
CIMA Application Fee
The CIMA course fees for initial application differ for Investment and Wealth Institute members and non-members.
CIMA Course Fees: Application Fee
Become a member
- Application fee
- Background check
- Certification exam fee
- One-year membership
CIMA Course Fees
The registered education providers provide various executive education programs which contribute towards the CIMA course fees and these fees differ the specific education provider which the candidate has selected. These CIMA course fees vary from year to year depending upon the specific education provider.
CIMA Reexamination Fee
Candidates who do not pass the CIMA certification exam in the first go can sit for multiple subsequent examination sessions given that there remains a gap of at least 30 days between two distinct exam sessions. The reexamination fee varies for members and nonmembers.
CIMA Course Fees: Reexamination Fee
CIMA Licensing Fee
Upon clearing the CIMA certification examination, candidates are required to sign an licensing agreement with Investments and Wealth Institute. Along with this, candidates are required to pay the initial licensing fee in order to be considered CIMA certified.
CIMA Course Fees: Initial Licensing Fee
Nonmember who wants to be a member of the Institute
Nonmember who doesn’t want to be a member
CIMA Renewal Fee
Like many other professional certifications, the CIMA certification requires certificate-holders to renew their certification status through continuing professional development (CPE) units before the certificate expiration date. The renewal fees tend to change with time and the current renewal fees and/or membership fees have been listed below.
CIMA Course Fees: Renewal Fee
Nonmember certification renewal fee (2 years)
Member certification renewal fee (2 years)
Membership fee (1 year)
Membership (1 year) + certification fee (2 years)
Align membership (2 years) + certification fee (2 years)
CIMA Course Details: Dates
The CIMA examination dates are available throughout the year in four month-long testing windows and the available dates vary with the specific Pearson VUE test centre which is selected by the candidate. The available testing windows are in the months of February, May, August and November. The dates can be viewed by candidates using their CIMA login ID and suitable dates can be selected accordingly.
The CIMA course duration and dates vary with the registered education provider selected by the candidate. Additionally, these dates vary with the study format selected as well. Generally, the dates follow the semester format and are available twice a year for fall and spring semester. Candidates require the official CIMA login in order to enroll to the CIMA executive education program at any of the registered education providers.
CIMA Course Duration
The overall CIMA course duration varies for candidates who apply for the online study format and the offline study format. The average amount of time also varies depending upon the candidate’s commitment and time expended in preparation for the final certification examination. The approximate CIMA course duration for both the pathways toward CIMA certification have been depicted in the table given below.
CIMA Step Number
Step 1 : Application and background check
Step 2: Executive education
Step 3: Certification exam and required preparation
Total time commitment
CIMA Course Details: Locations
As CIMA is an internationally-recognized certification, the CIMA examination is offered around the world at various Pearson VUE test centres. Candidates can access the available test centres in their country and area through their official CIMA login ID.
The CIMA course executive education program can be completed in both the offline and online format. The online format is internationally accessible and tremendously more flexible for prospective professional applicants. The offline study format is carried out at the campus for the respective registered education provider for CIMA.
CIMA Certification Exam Pattern
Candidates need to pass the CIMA certification exam in order to be awarded the CIMA certification. The examination in considered step 3 of the CIMA certification process. The exam is of a 5-hour duration and comprises 140 multiple-choice questions. Out of 140 questions, 125 are scored and 15 are unscored pretest questions. Candidates are permitted only a single optional 15-minute break during the examination. Passing the examination is crucial to meeting the CIMA course eligibility requirement.
Although all questions are multiple-choice questions, there are different types of items which appear in the examination which are:
One best response
he CIMA certification exam covers a number of topics which are divided into 5 categories. The questions of the test generally correspond to the subject matter of the executive education program offered by the designated education providers for CIMA.
CIMA Course Details: Syllabus
Area of Study
Applied finance and economics, statistics and methods, global capital markets
Equity, alternative investments, real assets, vehicles, fixed income, options/futures
Portfolio theory and behavioral finance
Behavioral finance, tools and strategies, portfolio models and theories, investment styles and philosophies
Risk and return
Risk measurements, attributes of risk, performance measurement and attribution
Portfolio construction and consulting process
Client discovery, portfolio construction, portfolio review and revisions, ethics, investment policy, manager search and selection
CIMA Certification Exam Result
The result for the CIMA certification exam is displayed on the candidate’s computer screen at the Pearson VUE test centre immediately after completion of the examination. The result will display either a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ status. Candidates are required to obtain a ‘pass’ in order to meet CIMA course eligibility for certification. In case the candidate receives a ‘fail’ result, then he or she will be issued a score report which enlists areas of improvement and further study required. This report can be accessed through the candidate’s Pearson VUE account or CIMA login.
CIMA Certification Validity
The initial CIMA certification is valid for 2 years from the date that the initial license is signed by the candidate. Candidates are therefore required to renew their CIMA certification prior to the completion of the 2-year period in order to maintain their certification status. In case a candidate fails to do so, then the CIMA credential will be considered out-of-date and the candidate will have to retake the CIMA certification examination.
CIMA Course Details: Credential Renewal
In order to maintain certification status, candidates are required to renew their CIMA credential prior to the expiration of the CIMA accreditation. This renewal requires the candidate the following three-step process:
The candidate must complete and report at least 40 hours of CE or continuing education credit using their CIMA login. This number is inclusive of two ethics hours.
The candidate must pay the certificate renewal fee.
The candidate must complete the compliance requirement. This involves continued adherence to the institute’s Code of Professional Responsibility as well as the Rules and Guidelines for Use of the Marks.
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