CA vs CMA: Salary & Differences for Choosing a Better Career


Two professional certifications stand out in the world of finance and accounting: Chartered Accountancy (CA) and Cost and Management Accountancy (CMA). Deciding between these two paths can be a daunting task for many aspiring professionals. Understanding the nuances of each certification, including their curriculum, career opportunities, and salary prospects, is crucial in making an informed decision about one’s career path.

Overview of the CA Course:

The CA course (Chartered Accountancy) is globally recognized and highly sought after in the field of finance. It encompasses a wide range of subjects including accounting, law, taxation, auditing, and finance. CAs play a vital role in financial reporting, tax planning, audit and assurance, and risk management for businesses of all sizes. The CA course is divided into three levels: CA Foundation, CA Intermediate, and CA Final, with a duration of approximately 4.5 to 5 years on average.

Overview of the CMA Course:

On the other hand, the Cost and Management Accountancy (CMA) course is tailored towards management accounting and cost accounting careers. CMAs are responsible for managing finances within organizations, focusing on cost management, budgeting, and financial analysis. The CMA course is divided into three levels: CMA Foundation, CMA Intermediate, and CMA Final, with an average duration of 3 years.

Educational Requirements and Exams for CA & CMA:

Both CA and CMA have similar educational requirements, requiring candidates to have completed a 10+2 program with a minimum of 50% marks. However, the exam structures differ slightly between the two certifications. CA exams are known for their rigorous nature and low pass rates, while CMA exams have relatively higher pass rates.

Career Opportunities After CA Course:

After completing the CA course, professionals have a wide range of career opportunities available to them. They can work in areas such as audit & assurance, taxation, finance, risk management, and investment banking. CAs are highly sought after by big four accounting firms, multinational corporations, and the public sector.

Career Opportunities After CMA Course:

Similarly, CMAs also have diverse career opportunities in fields such as cost accounting, financial analysis, management accounting, and internal auditing. They are in demand in industries such as manufacturing, financial services, and the public sector.

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CA vs CMA –Comparison:

Criteria CA CMA
Admission 10+2 with 50% marks in commerce stream 10+2 with 50% marks in any stream
Course Structure Three levels: Foundation, Intermediate, Final Three levels: Foundation, Intermediate, Final
Duration 4.5 to 5 years 3 years
Fees Approx. INR 2,00,000 to INR 3,50,000 Approx. INR 1,00,000
Pass percentage Approx. 5-10% at each level Approx. 15-20% at each level
Salary Rs. 10-12 lakh per annum Rs. 7-8 lakh per annum
Job Options Auditing, taxation, finance, consultancy Financial analysis, cost accounting, budgeting
Scope/Demand High demand in big four firms, MNCs High demand in manufacturing, financial services

Which is Better?

The decision between CA and CMA ultimately depends on individual preferences, career goals, and interests. CA offers a broader skill set with higher earning potential and wider job prospects, while CMA provides specialized knowledge in cost management and financial analysis. It is essential for aspiring professionals to evaluate their strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations before choosing between the two certifications.


In conclusion, both CA and CMA offer promising career paths in the fields of finance and accounting. Understanding the differences between the two certifications, including their curriculum, career opportunities, and salary prospects, is crucial in making an informed decision about one’s career path. By evaluating their interests, skills, and professional goals, aspiring professionals can choose the certification that aligns best with their aspirations.


Q1. Which profession has a better salary among CA, CMA, and CS?

While CA typically commands higher initial salaries, all three professions offer good career opportunities with potential for growth.

Q2. Which course is more difficult, CA or CMA?

CA is generally considered more challenging due to its rigorous course structure and lower pass rates.

Q3. Can I pursue both CA and CMA courses simultaneously?

Yes, it is possible to pursue both CA and CMA courses simultaneously, but it requires dedication and effort to succeed in both.

Q4. What is the passing percentage for CA and CMA exams?

The pass rates vary for each exam cycle, but CA exams typically have lower pass rates compared to CMA exams.