How to obtain the CGMA designation

The CGMA Finance Leadership Program helps candidates learn at their own pace and prepare for exam success. There are three levels: operational, management and strategic and each level facilitates learning by immersing candidates into real-life scenarios and providing knowledge checks along the way. The multiple learning competencies are followed by a business simulation assessment like the questions CGMA candidates should expect to see on the exam. Following each level, candidates register to take the corresponding case study exam. Once the Strategic Case Study Exam is passed and the practical experience requirement is fulfilled, candidates are awarded the CGMA designation.

Exams | Practical Experience Requirement | Application | Maintaining the designation


Completing the CGMA® Finance Leadership Program is an outstanding accomplishment that allows you to showcase the new skills you have learned and bolster your résumé. You must complete up to three exams to earn the CGMA designation – the first exam is given after the Operational level, the second after the Management level and the third after the Strategic level. To prove you understand the concepts, all three exams offer a unique case study with an open-ended answer format that allows test-takers to showcase their knowledge in a simulated business situation.

CPAs enter at the Strategic level and have a preferred pathway.

Exam quick links:

Practical Experience Requirement

While you’re completing the program and learning new skill sets, you most likely will be working and putting those skills into immediate action. That’s why we also require candidates to meet a Practical Experience Requirement of a minimum of three years work experience before they can apply for the CGMA designation.

The Practical Experience Requirement demonstrates your ability to apply your knowledge and skills in the context of your professional experience. You do not need to have work experience to start the CGMA Finance Leadership Program, but you must meet the Practical Experience Requirements before you can obtain the CGMA designation.


Once you have passed the required CGMA exam, visit My CGMA portal to submit your Practical Experience Requirement and your CGMA designation holder application. This process is completed online.

Maintaining the designation

To maintain your CGMA designation, you must remain an AICPA member in good standing and pay the annual membership fee. The CGMA designation also carries with it a lifelong commitment to professional development. You are not required to recertify or take any additional exams to maintain the CGMA designation, but Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is required for all CGMA designation holders to maintain the integrity and credibility of the qualification and the profession.

The Continuing Professional Development policy does not prescribe a set number of hours or units; rather, it simply asks that you do as much as you need to remain professionally competent and meet your career goals, record what you do and reflect on the outcome and effectiveness of your professional development activities. If you are a CPA, you still are required to complete continuing professional education (CPE); however, the CGMA does not require any additional CPE.

Cost to maintain CGMA designation

After earning the CGMA designation, you are given access to discounted learning and conferences, networking opportunities, discounts and more. To maintain access, you must pay an annual membership fee of $395.

If you are a CPA and an AICPA member, you must also pay your annual CPA membership dues.