Frequently Asked Questions: CIMA® Certification

Have questions about the Certified Investor Management Analyst® certification? Find answers in our FAQs list below. If your question isn’t addressed, please reach out to our team and we will be happy to assist you.  

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About the CIMA® Certification

What is CIMA® certification?

Certified Investment Management Analyst® certification is the peak international, technical portfolio construction program for investment consultants, analysts, financial advisors, and wealth management professionals.

CIMA® certification teaches professionals how to integrate a complex body of investment knowledge, ethically contributing to prudent investment decisions by providing objective advice and guidance to individual and institutional investors.

How do I earn CIMA® certification?

There are four steps you must complete to earn CIMA® certification.

  1. Apply for the certification program by submitting a program application

  2. Complete an executive education program through an approved Registered Education Provider

  3. Pass a comprehensive certification exam

  4. Pass a second background check, document a minimum of three years of verified work experience, sign a License Agreement, and pay a certification fee.

How much does the CIMA® certification program cost?

The CIMA Certification program costs $5,995. This fee is due at the time of application and includes application fees, background check, a complimentary Basic membership, Executive Education Program fee, and initial attempt at the Certification Exam. Depending on your choice of preparation materials and potential exam retake fees, the overall cost of the program could be more than $5,995.

Learn about CIMA® Certification process and costs

Education and Preparation

What schools offer the executive education program for CIMA® certification?

Three schools currently offer an executive education program for CIMA® certification

  • The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

  • Yale School of Management

  • Portfolio Construction Forum

Learn about CIMA education providers

I live outside of the U.S. What CIMA® certification options are available to me?

Portfolio Construction Forum is the CIMA® Society’s strategic partner in the management and delivery of CIMA® certification and accredited continuing education services in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

For more information, visit Portfolio Construction Forum.

What are the differences between the CIMA® certification programs?

The main difference between each school is the format in which they deliver their education program.

Yale School of Management: Offers a fully online education program with open enrollment to provide a more flexible option. In the Yale program, you can complete your education at your own pace (within Yale’s stipulated timeframe).

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business: Offers a hybrid program (both live and online learning). Live lectures are paired with convenient online education, making the Chicago program interactive.

What do I need to do before starting a CIMA® executive education program?

First, you must apply for CIMA® certification on the Investments & Wealth Institute website. Through the application process, you will register for the education program that best fits your needs.

What resources are available to help me prepare for my executive education program?

We encourage you to read the Detailed Content Outline, which outlines the CIMA® Core Body of Knowledge that will be covered in your program. We also offer a free online resource called the Candidate Resource Center that offers more content to prepare.

After you’re accepted into your program, you will receive an email that includes resources to review and registration instructions for the Candidate Resource Center.

When can I schedule my CIMA® certification exam?

Once you have successfully completed an executive education program, you will receive an email from Investments & Wealth Institute confirming your education completion. This email will include a link for you to select your preferred method of testing. The CIMA Certification Exam is offered in person at Pearson VUE test centers and online with Meazure Learning. Once you have selected your preferred testing method, a 90-day exam scheduling window will be opened with the appropriate exam vendor within 5 business days.

How and when is the CIMA® certification exam offered?

The Certification Exam is available on demand. You may take the exam after you fulfill education requirements. You may retake the exam every 30 days with a required retesting fee.

How can I prepare for the CIMA® certification exam?

Use the Detailed Content Outline to study the topics covered in the exam. There are also preparation programs offered through third-party providers to supplement your studies. To find a list of providers, visit our Study Resources. We recommend spending about 100-150 hours preparing for the CIMA® certification exam.

What do I need to do after I pass the CIMA® certification exam?

Every Monday, we receive official exam results. Once your results are processed, we will send an email confirming your outcome. This email will contain instructions to complete your certification. These include:

  • Passing a second background check (typically takes 7-10 business days)

  • Documenting a minimum of three years of verified work experience in financial services

  • Signing the License Agreement

  • Paying an initial certification fee

What happens if I fail the CIMA® certification exam?

You must wait 30 days and pay a retake fee before retaking the CIMA® certification exam. Every Monday, we receive official exam results. Once the results are processed, we will send an email with a link to pay the retake fee. After paying the fee, you can schedule your exam retake.

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