Career Opportunities & Market Demand: CMA vs. CA


To build a career in the accounting industry, the CMA USA certification is quickly gaining traction as an alternative to traditional accounting certifications such as the Chartered Accountancy (CA) certification in India. The CMA USA has established itself as a credible accounting certification designed to enhance financial accounting skills and develop strategic business management skills. Becoming a CMA USA will help you work as an accountant and make you eligible to practice your expertise in financial analysis and decision-making at the top management level.
As the demand for the US CMAs is rising globally, this is the best time to kickstart your financial management and business accounting career with the CMA USA course. In this blog, you will learn the differences between the CMA USA and CA courses and the career opportunities available for candidates obtaining these certifications.
CMA USA Course
The US CMA full form is US Certified Management Accountant, which pretty much sums up what the CMA course is about financial accounting and business management. The CMA USA is offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) to candidates who successfully clear the qualifying exam, that is, the USA CMA exam. As a professional certification in finance and management, the CMA USA is a highly sought-after certification that validates the credentials of the certificate holder as skilled and knowledgeable in financial accounting and management. 
Here are the details of the CMA USA course.
USA CMA Course Syllabus & Exam Pattern
Based on the syllabus, the CMA USA qualifying exam is conducted in two parts: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics in Part-1 and Strategic Financial Management in Part-2. Each of these parts contains six subjects with varying weightage. In the exam, questions are either multiple choice type or essay type, and the CMA certification requirement for clearing the exam is 360 out of 500 or 75%. 
US CMA Course Duration and Fees
The CMA USA course is short and requires only about 6-9 months to complete the syllabus, including finishing the exams. With the right training and dedication, it can even be completed well within a year. Northstar Academy's expert guidance and personalized support can expedite your journey.
The CMA USA course is also quite an affordable one. The CMA course fee in India is around INR 1.3 lakhs, inclusive of all miscellaneous fees for the exam and training. 
It is also important to know about the CA course to understand how the CMA USA course can be better than CA. Let's take a look.
CA Course
Chartered Accountancy, or CA, is a popular accounting course in India but is well-known to be quite lengthy, typically requiring 5-7 years to clear all the stages and exams. The ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) offers the CA certification and administers its examination process. Earning the CA credential can be tedious as it has a vast curriculum spread across three levels and an Internship requirement of 3 years. 
The particulars of the CA course are given below.
CA Course Syllabus & Exam Pattern
The CA course is divided into three stages: 
  • CA Foundation
  • CA Intermediate
  • CA Final
Each of these CA stages comprises eight distinct papers based on the different subjects to be studied. There is also an Articleship requirement of 3 years after the CA Intermediate level. The passing requirement in the exam is 55% on each paper which exhibits the difficult nature of the exam.
CA Course Duration and Exam Fees 
With a vast syllabus and an Internship, the CA course duration usually expands beyond five years. On average, candidates take 5-7 years to complete all the exams. 
The CA course fees in India, without any coaching or guidance, may cost between INR 1.5 lakhs to INR 2 lakhs. It includes all three stages' exam fees, registration fees, etc. Therefore, it is clearly evident that the CA course costs more than the CMA USA course.
That was all about the CMA USA and CA courses that can be studied in India. Here is a comparative analysis of these two courses before we delve into the career opportunities that can be availed after completing these courses.
Advantages of CMA USA over CA
  • Duration: The CMA USA course can be completed within one or two years, whereas the CA course takes much longer. Additionally, there is no internship requirement for becoming a CMA USA. 
  • Affordability: CMA USA course goes easy on the pocket for students and working professionals as well. It costs less to complete the whole course than CA.
  • Global Recognition: It is well-known that the CMA USA is a globally recognized qualification, but CA is recognized only in India. Therefore, certified CMA USA professionals can choose to work in India and abroad, but there are very few firms that may accept the CA qualification outside of India.
  • Skills: In the CMA USA course, candidates are well equipped with knowledge and skills in Finance & Business Management apart from accounting. It allows them to become a part of the top management and expand their career beyond accounting. CAs are not trained in company management, so they need additional qualifications to work their way up the corporate ladder.
  • Market Demand: There has been a noticeable growing demand for qualified CMA USA individuals worldwide. It is largely due to their expertise in various subjects, including management. 
  • Salary: The CMA USA professionals can work in India and abroad, thus, putting their salary prospects at the higher end of the expected salary spectrum compared to other courses. In India, they can expect around INR 8 lakhs at an entry level. Their salary is bound to increase with the increase in experience within the industry.
Market Demand: CMA USA vs. CA
By now, it is clear that passing the CMA USA course is easier than the CA course. However, Chartered Accountants are adept at various domains, and there is a great demand for qualified CAs in India. It is also the case for CMA, but their demand is not restricted to India only. Being skilled in the domains of finance and business management, they have a growing demand everywhere across several industries, which require the expertise of an accountant with management knowledge. 
Given the widespread demand for management accountants, almost every company and firm requires CMA USA professionals. Even the Big Four companies have been hiring CMAs more than professionals with similar certifications, even in the branches of these MNCs in India. 
Career Opportunities in India & Abroad: CMA vs. CA
Since CMA USA is in great demand due to the type of curriculum combining accountancy and finance management, it is useful in many job roles, thus making CMA professionals highly valuable at their companies. The CMA USA has a broad spectrum of job opportunities in India and abroad which includes:
  • Research Analyst
  • Budget Analyst
  • Cost Accountant
  • Legal Advisor
  • Finance Controller
  • Finance Manager
  • Financial Analyst
  • Chief Financial Controller
  • Management Consultant
  • Cost Auditor
  • Chief Financial Officer and many more.
The average salary for such posts may range anywhere between INR 3 lakhs to INR 25 lakhs per annum, owing to the increasing CMA demand in India. 
CA professionals have expertise in Auditing and Assurance, Tax Consultancy, Accounting Services, Accountants, Finance Outsourcing, and Financial Reporting apart from Accountancy. There is also scope to work and expand their expertise in Chartered Accountancy in India. The opportunities and job roles that a CA can get in India include:
  • Internal Auditor
  • Cost Accountant
  • Financial Reporting
  • Management & Corporate Consultancy
  • Tax Advisor
  • Company Liquidator
  • Tax Manager
  • Corporate Financing
The average salary of a beginner CA professional may range between INR 6-7 lakhs which can go up to INR 25-30 lakhs with increasing experience and skills.


1. Why choose CMA instead of CA?

There are many reasons to choose CMA instead of CA. CMA USA has international recognition and can be completed within 6-9 months with NSAs proper training and guidance at much less cost than CA, while it takes about 5-7 years to complete CA. Being knowledgeable in more than just accounting, CMA USA professionals have high demand across several industries in India and abroad. They also have great career prospects due to their demand globally.

2. Who is paid more, CA or CMA?

At an entry-level, both CA and CMA have salaries at par. But with growing experience in the industry, eventually, the salary of a CMA is more than CA.

3. What are the benefits of getting a CA certification?

CA professionals are highly respected in India within the accounting community due to their knowledge of many subjects concerning financial accounting. They can also work anywhere in India, as every accounting firm requires accounting professionals. Companies and organizations also require the services in auditing which professional CAs can render.

4. Which is more difficult, CMA or CA?

CA is more difficult to pass than CMA as the curriculum is vast and more extensive than the CMA USA course. There are also more stages and requirements in the case of CA than in the CMA USA course. CMA can be cleared in only about 6-9 months, but it might take years to complete the CA course.

5. How many attempts are there in the CA exam?

There is no limit to the number of attempts in any of the stages of the CA exam.


Pursuing CMA USA or CA both provides excellent career opportunities with great benefits in terms of salary compensation. While it is evident that CMA USA has more advantages than CA, you can compare both courses in-depth to choose what's best for you. If you decide to go for CMA USA, taking guidance from a CMA coaching institute may help you boost your exam preparation and confidence. 
Opting for the top CMA USA course prep coaching will also help you gather relevant study material and guides, such as the materials provided by NorthStar Academy in association with Gleim. You can also get the guidance of widely experienced teachers and mentors such as M. Irfat Sir and become one of the many candidates clearing the CMA exam in just one attempt. You can also avail pre-recorded videos of classes which you can access anytime. 
You can check out the highly organized CMA USA course by NorthStar Academy and start your professional career in management accounting immediately. For any queries, contact us or directly call us @ +91 8147470707.
Make an Enquiry