How Do I Become a Certified Internal Auditor®?

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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 23 July 2019
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In order to become a Certified Internal Auditor®, you must pass an exam administered by The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). You must posses a bachelor’s degree and two years of internal auditing experience to sit for this exam. It is best to study all available practice materials before taking this test. This certification exam can be taken at hundreds of locations throughout the world. Alternate certifications are also available, and recertification is required every two years.

Internal auditors examine corporate records to evaluate accounting systems, assess risk management, and reveal fraudulent practices. The U.S. government, for example, requires all publicly traded companies to have their internal records examined by a credentialed internal auditor. To become a Certified Internal Auditor®, you must pass the IIA exam. This association administers a globally recognized certification for internal auditors.

The IIA requires all certification candidates to possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. In addition, you must also have two years of practical work experience to become a Certified Internal Auditor®. The exam can also be taken by candidates with a master’s degree and one year of work experience. You must submit a certification application along with proof of your degree and work experience before sitting for this exam. A character reference from someone in the profession must also be provided to the IIA.


It is a good idea to assess your pre-test readiness to become a Certified Internal Auditor®. A list of test preparation materials can be obtained from the IIA website. You should study as many of these materials as possible before sitting for the exam. The IIA offers both online and in-person training along with self-administered practice tests. Several colleges conduct IIA-sponsored training courses as well.

The certification exam is a computer-based test consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions. Areas covered by the exam include risk and control, business analysis, information technology, and business management skills. You will also be examined in areas such as conducting an internal audit engagement and the internal audit's role in governance. The IIA certification exam can be taken at over 500 locations throughout the world, and a complete list is available at the association’s website. Candidates who fail the test may retake it as often as necessary.

Several alternate certifications are also offered by the IIA. These certifications require less education and work experience and may be helpful credentials as you train to become a Certified Internal Auditor®. You must recertify with the IIA every two years after receiving your initial certification. The association offers a Continuing Professional Education program that consists of 80 hours of coursework. Completion of this course is required during each recertification period.


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