6 steps to becoming a certified internal auditor

Different types of accounting jobs

It is almost cliché to say that finance companies are in need of auditors and compliance officers, but they are, which means, for people interested in internal auditing, now is the time to get certified. 

Since the financial crisis regulations have rolled out at an astoundingly fast clip, finance firms' needs for compliance officers and internal auditors have skyrocketed. Regulatory pressure to remain compliant with the stringencies placed upon financial firms have made auditing and compliance positions some of the top finance jobs on Wall Street. However, it takes time to build the experience and qualifications needed to acquire auditing and compliance jobs. As someone who aspires to be an internal auditor, one of the first things you'll need to do is get certified. 

The Institute of Internal Auditors certifies individuals who would like to pursue a career in this sector of finance. According to the institute, there are six steps to certification:

Certification is a big first step to becoming an internal auditor. Certification is a big first step to becoming an internal auditor.

1. Which certificate will you need?
The IIA offers a number of specialty certificates in addition to the Certified Internal Auditor® certification. The CIA is the only globally recognized licensure for internal auditors, but depending on the specific job, you could be required to have a specialty certificate. There are four specialty certificates administered by the IIA:

"The CIA is the only globally recognized licensure for internal auditors."

2. Are you eligible for certification
Each certificate has specific education requirements, so you'll need to be sure you're qualified to take an exam prior to registering. To ensure that you're ready to take the test, it would be wise to take practice examinations. For the CIA, for example, you must hold a three- or four-year post-secondary degree. If you have a four-year bachelor's degree, you will also need 24 months of work experience. For master's degree recipients, 12 months is required. Additionally, if you intend to take the exam for the CIA, you'll need a character reference. 

​3. If you're ready, it's time to register
If you've decided on which certificate is right for you, and met the eligibility requirements to take one of the IIA-administered exams, then it is time to register for one of the tests. The registration page can be found here.

4. Prepare for the exam
Remember that thing called studying from your schooling? Well, it's time to try that out again. IIA exams aren't simple, and you'll need to take some time to study to have the best chance of passing.

5. Take the certification exam
Once you've registered for the test, and you think you're adequately studied, then it is finally time to take the exam. The IIA has taken advantage of computer-based testing to increase access to the certification exams, which can be taken at any Pearson VUE Testing Center. There are more than 500 testing sites nationwide. 

6. Receive your certificate and start browsing internal auditing jobs
Once you've passed the test, you're one step closer to finding yourself an internal auditing job. Career resources such as OneWire, with its community of finance professionals and recruiters, is a great place to start. 

Internal auditors are in demand right now due to the pressure placed on top finance firms to remain compliant with regulations. If you'd like to take advantage of the strong demand for these finance professionals, IIA certification is definitely a step in the right direction.