CIA Vs CISA Certification Comparison For Better Career Scope


The most common concerning doubt that most of the IT auditors have is to choose in between the CIA certification and CISA certification. As both the certifications are essential for the career growth of the individuals, it is crucial to decide which one to select for better career scope. Let us dig in some details for choosing the right certification in between the two.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

It is IIA’s certification for internal auditing which is recognized worldwide and is extremely popular amongst the internal auditors. This certification is for the generalist professionals which focus on the general internal audits. This certification is generally chosen by the professionals who are not sure about the area of specialization but still want to pursue their careers as internal auditors. It is so designed that it gives a general idea of the various facts of internal auditing without getting into any detailing of specialized areas. It makes a good professional combination with CPA.


  • Provides general idea of the auditing
  • No need to focus on any area of specialization, if not sure
  • Known worldwide

CIA Examination Details

The CIA examination has a total of 3 parts. Each of the part consists of 100 questions for which the candidates have 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete. Every question in the examination is of equal weightage.

Certified Information System Auditor (CISA)

This certification is designed by ISACA for the area of information system auditing. The CISA certification is so designed that it is meant for the specialist professionals in the auditing. The certification generally requires an experience of 5 years and targets the areas of audit control, security, and assurance in the information system. Most of the people prefer going for this certification as it can be achieved just by passing one examination. The examination of this certification happens after every 3 years and is affordable for the candidates.


  • Less costly than CIA certification
  • Provides better salary
  • Focuses on an area of specialization
  • Requires passing just 1 examination

CISA Examination Details:

The examination requires 4 hours to cover 200 questions. The questions are generally multiple choices. The candidate should get a total score of 450 to pass the examination.

A Quick Comparison between the CIA and CISA:

Targeted Area Internal auditing IT auditing
Educational Qualification Bachelor’s degree Specialization degree in IT
Required experience 2 years 5 years
Specialty Experience 1 year in internal auditing 2 years in IT auditing
Examination Duration 6.5 hours 4 hours
Number of Examination levels 3 1
Passing Percentage 40% Approximately 50%
Cost of Examination $1,000 – 2,000 $1,000 – 1500

How are the Certifications are Beneficial?

Both the certifications of CIA and CISA stands distinguished and advanced in their respective stands. If you already have a certification in CIA and then want to pursue the CISA certification, it makes a great combination. It is just like advancing your skills in the auditing field and expanding your knowledge base. Thus, most of the auditing professionals choose to go for the CISA certification after successfully getting the CIA certification.

However, there is very less value if you choose to go the other way around. If you already have a CISA certification and then choose to pursue the CIA certification, it really does make no sense. It is just like going in the backward direction in your career.

The Final Verdict

The choice of the certification entirely depends on the preference and liking of the candidate. If you want to pursue your career as a generalist in the field of internal auditing then CIA should be your choice. On the other hand, if you aim at perfecting your IT auditing skills and want to grow as a specialist, then you must choose CISA and prepare through proper training.



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