Understanding Difference Between CIA and CISA

There are various IT credentials available to pursue for individuals in the market. Some aims for IT security, and some are focused to do auditing. Usually, when it comes to certification, people usually get confused about what to pursue. They always ask whether to study for the CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) or for CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor) or to go with earning both. Well, understand first what is CIA and CISA.


CIA or CISA is a common question for those recognized credentials aimed at the profession related to auditing.

The Institute of Internal Auditors, an institution that is non-profit and founded in 1941, issues Certified Internal Auditor Certification. Right now, there are more than 200000+ members of IIA across the globe. When talking about CISA is managed officially by Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) which was founded in 1978 and is non-profit. Right now, the CISA designation has been achieved by more than 170,000+ professionals.

CIA is basically about the auditors in general, and CISA is about expert auditors aiming at the information technology domain when we find out the difference in a nutshell. The cost of the CISA certification is nearly about one thousand dollars, and that of the CIA is nearly around fifteen-hundred dollars. Well, it does not consist of books and any material related to exam preparation or course you may purchase.

Understanding the difference between CISA and CIA Certification

Which certification is good for the career or is preferred? Coming on the same question, whether to go with CISA or with CIA?

Positive Points of CISA:

Initiating with the CISA brief. It is a credential that is market standard for auditors related to the IT domain. The credential requires the perfect blend of understandings related to auditing fundamentals and Information technology. As with the digital transformation, manual ledgers have been replaced with digital electronic systems, and IT auditors are in great demand in various working domains for the designation related to information system auditors, data security officers, and IT risk management professionals. It is not crucial to have practical skills in IT  if you are aiming to go with CISA but knowledge related to operations, IS security, governance, disaster recovery, and business continuity principles is a must. CISA is a one-exam credential.

With strong experience in auditing and IT systems, you will be able to clear the exam in 6 months to a year.

Positive Points of CIA:

CIA, on the other hand, is a general auditing certification designed for internal auditing. Although the fundamentals of IT auditing are covered during this course, it is not just for auditors of the information technology domain. The syllabus and content do not do in deep of IT systems auditing in comparison to CISA. CIA is three exams credential, and it is mandatory to clear all the exams within the 4 years’ timeframe. You can consider one to two years to finish the three CIA years, but it all depends upon the preparation. As the CIA is a general certification, it opens the door to opportunities in the internal auditing domain. In comparison to the CIA, CISA is fully aimed at designation based on information technology auditing.

Henceforth, if you are looking forward to making your career in functions related to internal auditing but do not find it particular for specialization, the CIA is definitely a good option to go with. Also, if your interest lies in positions of management and internal auditing roles, then doing the CIA will be the best for your career.


An associate degree is needed to make yourself eligible to attempt the CIA examination. As per the level of qualification, you also need to have experience of 1 year. Exemptions of experience can be applied if you have CPA or ACCA eligibility.

When we talk about the CISA exam, it is crucial to have a higher degree or graduate degree. Experience of 5 years in the field of system audit or control experience information security is a must for passing the CISA Exam. There are some exemptions available.

Managing CISA and CIA Certification:

Once done with earning the CIA certification, it is mandatory to address any kind of professional education needs for the next two years, but after that period, you will require 40 CPE to manage the CIA Certification every year. On the other hand, CISA CPE hours per year are 20 hours but needs 120 total CPE hours for a three-year cycle.

Can you earn both CISA and CIA ?

CISA training will add great value to the resume if you have already earned CIA Certification and aiming to gain skills and expertise in the IT auditing domain. While studying, you are going to get knowledge about IT auditing at the time of CIA exam preparation. But, in case you have already earned a CISA credential and are going well with IT auditing, the CIA might not bring benefit to your career. Well, if you are aiming for leadership designation and want the role of the manager in specific positions, then CIA Certification with CISA will bring lots of benefits.

One more reason to do it may be you are aiming to change your career path from IT auditing to general internal auditing. In this situation, too, the CIA would be a good way.

Summing up:

Well, if your interest area is technical stuff and wants to get a specialization in IT audit, then earning the CIA Certification is great for you as it has the best standards related to IT auditing. On the other hand, the CIA is a sure shot for you if you are more interested in generalized auditing. Both certifications have their own benefits for the career. It all depends upon which one you choose for the growth of your career. Well, if you are aiming for CISA Certification training or CIA Certification training, Vinsys is with you as we are the market leader in offering credential training so that you can achieve the cybersecurity certification that you are aiming for.

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