CMA USA vs FRM: Which Is the Best Career Option ?

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CMA USA vs FRM: Which Is the Best Career Option ?

A CMA USA is often the first step in becoming a Finance analyst, while an FRM is often the first step in becoming a Risk analyst. They are often confused in terms of their roles but they are one of the most important fields of Finance. There are a lot of differences that distinguish each field when it comes to CMA USA Vs FRM.

Which is the best CMA or FRM? What is the difference between CMA and FRM? They both are excellent professional certifications to have on your resume and both will help you in excelling your finance career. 

When a topic arises about the most sought-after finance titles, people bring up CMA as one of the most beneficial finance certifications. It has become a goal for many graduates and working professionals to achieve the CMA USA designation. But what about the FRM? Should you simply ignore the FRM title? Let’s explore the best in this blog post. 

CMA USA Vs FRM: What is CMA?

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) program is an advanced designation offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). Designed for qualified financial professionals, the CMA USA designation certifies that the holder has met all the competency requirements to be a certified professional in management accounting. 

It is the highest designation in the field of management accounting. The main purpose of the CMA USA program is to enhance the overall performance of the company as well as the performance of the organization. It differs from other programs because it is not only concerned with the accounting part of the business but also the management part of Business. 

How to become a US CMA?

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) program is the only professional certification for management accounting globally. 

  • Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of two years of relevant work experience in the field of Finance and Accounting in order to sit for the US CMA exam. 
  • This US CMA certification is designed for professionals who work in the areas of finance and accounting, as well as for students who are seeking to move to a finance career.
  • The US CMA exam is a two-part exam that is Part 1 and Part 2. The maximum mark is 500 and to pass this exam, candidates have to score at least 360 marks to clear the US CMA exam.  

It takes up to 6-9 months on average to pass both parts of the US CMA exam. Your maximum allotted time is three years to finish it. While comparing the difficulty of the US CMA exam with the other professional exams, this test is generally easier because of its more limited curriculum compared to that of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or other professional courses. When comparing CMA USA Vs FRM, CMA USA is easier to crack than FRM. 

CMA USA career opportunities 

Earning the CMA USA designation will open career opportunities for you in Indian and global markets. By enhancing your financial, accounting, and management skills, you increase your professional potential which sets you ahead of the game.

Financial analyst, Financial manager, Financial controller, Cost accountant, Chief Financial Officer, and Cost Accountant Manager are some of the major job roles you could expect after earning your CMA USA certification.

Salary of CMA fresher in India

The average salary of CMA USA freshers in India is ₹3.5-7 lakhs per year.

Who is eligible for the CMA course?

The minimum eligibility criteria for the CMA certification is a Bachelor’s Degree in any discipline from an accredited university or an equivalent degree from any discipline in English medium. 


What is FRM?

FRM (Financial Risk Manager) is a designation from the Financial Risk Management Association that has a high demand in the corporate world. The FRM designation requires a high level of expertise and professionalism, and it is one of the most sought-after qualifications for people who wish to pursue a career in the financial risk management or banking sector. 

FRM is a professional designation that provides a set of tools and methods, to develop financial strategies, manage risks and operate efficiently. FRM is considered as a requisite for any high-level position in Financial Institutions including, 

  • Risk Management Professionals 
  • Head Risk Function 
  • Risk Management Committee Members 
  • Risk Management Consultants 
  • Risk Management Business Owners 
  • Risk Management Education Professionals

How to become an FRM?

You do not have to fulfill any special education or professional requirement for taking up the FRM program. You are eligible to become a Certified FRM only after passing both the exam, which asks questions related to risk management as well as experience with risk analysis. 

To receive certification you must qualify the below things:

  • Should complete two years of work experience in a relevant field. 
  • Experience can be gained before or after passing the exam, but you must submit proof of your relevant experience within 5 years from the date of passing the exam.

FRM Career opportunities 

FRM designations have always been and will continue to be in demand around the world. They are sought after by corporations and banks for market survival and growth. Some of the most influential organizations to hire FRMs include ICBC, Bank of China, HSBC, Citigroup, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), etc.

Salary of FRM fresher in India

The average salary of an FRM fresher in India is ₹4,00,000 per year (₹33,333 average per month).

Who is eligible for the FRM course?

Required qualifications: A FRM certificate. Work experience demonstrating a risk management focus as part of an executive role. At least 2 years experience into Risk Analyst within 5 years of applying for an FRM certification.

The difference between CMA USA and FRM 

CMA USA certification is a step towards having overall financial knowledge. This CMA USA exam is a required one for all candidates who want to work for the Big 4 Accountancy firms that include Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), KPMG, and Ernst & Young are the Big Four accounting firms in India as well as abroad.These are the biggest companies that offer audit, consultancy, tax, and financial advisory services to companies. 

CMA USA certification is a step towards having Financial knowledge. The main goal of the CMA exam is to give new candidates an edge in the competition to join these leading companies. You may think CMA USA and FRM are the same till now. But the truth is, these two exams are not the same. You should know the difference between CMA USA and FRM to choose the best certification for you.

CMA USA Vs FRM: Comparative Table 

Particulars  CMA USA FRM
Certification issued by  Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP)
Area of specialization Finance and Management Accounting  Risk assessment and Credit Management 
Eligibility  2 exams with two years of relevant work experience and a bachelors degree. 2exams with two years of relevant work experience in the Risk and Analyst field and a bachelor’s degree.
Difficulty level Not so difficult  Less difficult 
Pass rates 45-50% Around 40-45%
Exam fee $200 to $400 $550 for each part
Average salary  $76,000-$133,000 $650000

Conclusion :

As you can see, in this blog on CMA USA vs FRM, the CMA USA and FRM are both helpful certifications to have on your resume. They demonstrate to employers that you have the excellent and in-depth knowledge and skills to succeed in your Finance career. 

However, there are some key differences between CMA USA and FRM, so keep them in mind as you decide which is best for you. From the differences mentioned above, it is clear that in the comparison of CMA USA Vs FRM, CMA USA best suits students and working professionals who aspire to have Finance and Management Roles, and FRM best suits working professionals who want to get into Risk Analyst roles and credit. 

If you are ready to stay ahead of the Finance Career, choose CMA USA from NorthStar Academy – The best training institute in India for Finance Aspirants. Enroll now by filling in the CMA USA Enquiry form or call +918147470707 now!

Frequently asked questions

1. Is CMA US better?

CMA US is one of the highest levels of certification in Finance and management accounting. CMA US is comparatively better than Indian CA, CMA Ind in terms of time duration and Global acceptance.

2. Is US CMA valid in India?

US CMA is valid in India as well as in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the USA, and Canada. US CMA offers an average package of 4.5-6 lakhs for freshers in India and $75000 in abroad.

3. Is FRM difficult to pass?

Since the FRM exam is very quantitative, one has to spend a lot of time mastering it. More people fail FRM Part I than pass it, and barely half of those who take the FRM Part II exam, pass it. 

4. CMA USA VS FRM which is a better option?

CMA USA has a wide scope under the Finance field compared to FRM. So CMA USA is a better option compared to FRM.

5. Which is a better course? CMA USA or MBA?

CMA USA is comparatively a better course compared to MBA.

Two reasons why CMA USA is better than MBA in India:
1) Less investment –
CMA USA takes 1 to 1.5 lakhs as a total investment.
MBA takes a minimum of 5 lakhs of investment.

2) Less Duration –
CMA USA takes 6-9 months of timeline
MBA takes 3 years (1 year for CAT and 2 years of college)

6. Is it worth going for FRM certification?

Getting the FRM certification is definitely worth it and it helps those who work in Financial roles for Banks and Financial Institutions, other risk and investment banking roles.

7. Is CMA USA valuable?

CMA USA is highly valuable in India as well as abroad. A fresher CMA USA gets 4.5 to 6 lakhs in India with job security. CMA USA candidates are highly respected and valued in Big4s and MNCs such as EY, PwC, KPMG, and Deloitte.

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