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Top 11 Budget Manager Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top budget manager certifications available to help professionals in the field stay up-to-date with industry standards.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for a budget manager in the job market because they demonstrate that a person has the knowledge and skills necessary to manage budgets effectively. Employers look for candidates who have certifications in budget management, as it shows that the individual has invested in their professional development and is knowledgeable about best practices for budgeting. Having a certification also gives an applicant an edge over other candidates who do not have one, as it helps to differentiate them from the competition. Certifications also help employers ensure that their budget managers are up-to-date on the latest trends and strategies, which can help them make informed decisions when managing finances.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the most beneficial certifications for Budget Managers and discuss how they can help advance a budget manager's career.

What are Budget Manager Certifications?

Budget manager certification is a professional credential that demonstrates a person's knowledge and understanding of the principles and practices of budget management. It is awarded by organizations such as the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management (ABFM). This certification can help individuals to demonstrate their expertise in budgeting, planning, forecasting, and financial analysis. It can also help them to gain access to new job opportunities or promotions within their current organization. The certification provides a comprehensive overview of key topics including budget development, cost benefit analysis, project management, financial systems and reporting, and strategic planning. In addition, it provides insight into the legal aspects of budgeting and other related topics like public finance law. By obtaining this certification, individuals can improve their understanding of how to properly manage budgets in order to maximize resources while meeting their organizational objectives.

Pro Tip: When considering budget manager certification, make sure to research the requirements and qualifications of the certifying body. Make sure that their standards are in line with your own professional goals and that the certification will be beneficial to your career.

Related: What does a Budget Manager do?

Top 11 Budget Manager Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Budget Managers today.

1. Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)

Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) is a professional certification program designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of financial managers in the public sector. This certification is offered by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA).

The CGFM program consists of three examinations that assess a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of government financial management. The three exams are:

# Governmental Environment

# Governmental Accounting, Financial Reporting, and Budgeting

# Governmental Financial Management and Control

It typically takes six to nine months to complete all three examinations. Candidates must pass each exam before they can be certified as a CGFM.

To become certified, candidates must first join the AGA as a member. Membership fees vary depending on the type of membership selected. After joining, candidates must register for the CGFM program and pay an additional fee for each exam they take. The total cost for all three exams ranges from $400-$600 USD.

2. Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO)

Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) is a professional certification offered by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge and experience in public finance. The CPFO credential is intended to demonstrate that an individual has achieved a level of expertise in public finance and can provide quality services to their organization or community.

The CPFO program consists of four courses: Introduction to Public Finance, Financial Management for Public Organizations, Budgeting for Public Organizations, and Advanced Topics in Public Finance. Each course requires approximately 30 hours of study time. Upon successful completion of all four courses, the candidate will receive the CPFO designation.

To become certified as a CPFO, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. These include having at least five years of experience working in public finance or related fields, such as accounting or budgeting; being employed by a government entity; and completing the four required courses within three years. In addition, you must pass an examination administered by GFOA with a score of at least 80%.

The cost of the CPFO program varies depending on your location and whether you are taking the courses online or in person. Generally speaking, it costs between $2,000 and $3,000 USD to complete the program.

3. Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual’s expertise in management accounting and financial management. The CMA credential is issued by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). It is designed to recognize professionals who have mastered the skills necessary for success in the field of management accounting.

To become a Certified Management Accountant, you must meet certain educational requirements, pass two rigorous exams, and complete a professional experience requirement.

The educational requirements for the CMA include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with at least 30 semester hours of course work in business-related topics such as economics, finance, accounting, quantitative methods, and information systems.

The two exams required to become a CMA are the CMA Exam Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance & Control and the CMA Exam Part 2: Strategic Financial Management. Both exams consist of multiple-choice questions and essay questions that test your knowledge of financial planning, performance measurement, cost management techniques, financial analysis and reporting methods, corporate finance principles and practices, strategic financial decision making techniques and ethical considerations related to management accounting.

The professional experience requirement consists of two years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management within the past five years prior to application for certification. This experience can be gained through full-time employment or through part-time employment combined with other activities such as teaching or consulting.

The cost for taking both parts of the exam varies depending on where you take it but typically ranges from $1,000-$2,000 USD including registration fees and study materials. Additionally there may be additional costs associated with obtaining any required transcripts or documents needed to apply for certification.

4. Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP)

Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) is a certification program offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) that recognizes auditors who have achieved a high level of knowledge and expertise in government auditing. The CGAP designation is designed to help government auditors demonstrate their commitment to professional excellence and provide assurance to stakeholders that they are qualified to perform effective audits.

The CGAP certification program consists of two parts: an online self-study course and an examination. The self-study course covers topics such as government audit standards, ethics, risk assessment, internal control systems, and other related topics. It typically takes about 40 hours to complete the self-study course. After completing the self-study course, candidates must pass the CGAP exam with a score of at least 70%.

To obtain the CGAP certification, you must submit an application to the IIA along with a fee of $375 USD. Once your application has been approved, you will be eligible to take the CGAP exam which is administered by Prometric Testing Centers worldwide. The cost for taking the exam is $350 USD.

Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your CGAP certificate from IIA which is valid for three years. You can renew your certification by completing 20 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) credits during each three year period.

5. Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is a professional certification offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated proficiency in internal auditing, control, and assurance. The CIA designation is recognized worldwide as the standard for excellence in the internal auditing profession.

It typically takes two to four years to complete all of the requirements for the CIA certification. To become certified, applicants must meet certain educational and experience requirements and pass a three-part exam administered by the IIA.

The first step to becoming a Certified Internal Auditor is to complete an application with the IIA. Applicants must provide proof of their education and experience qualifications and pay an application fee. Once approved, applicants can register for the CIA exam.

The cost of obtaining the CIA certification varies depending on where you live and which parts of the exam you take. In most cases, it will cost between $1,000-$2,000 USD to obtain your CIA certification. This includes registration fees, study materials, and exam fees.

6. Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) is a professional designation awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It is the highest level of recognition for management accounting and financial management professionals. The CGMA designation is designed to recognize and reward those who have achieved a high level of excellence in their profession.

It takes approximately 18-24 months to complete the requirements for the CGMA designation. To become a Chartered Global Management Accountant, you must first meet the eligibility requirements, which include having an active CPA license or equivalent international qualification, plus five years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management. You must also pass the CGMA exam, which consists of two parts: a written exam and an online assessment. The exam covers topics such as financial reporting and analysis, budgeting, cost management, internal controls and risk management.

The cost to become a Chartered Global Management Accountant varies depending on where you take the exam. In the United States, it costs $1,500 to take both parts of the exam; in Canada it costs $2,000; and in other countries it may cost up to $3,000.

7. Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a professional designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board). The CFP designation signifies that an individual has met the rigorous education, examination, experience and ethical requirements established by CFP Board.

The CFP certification process involves completing a comprehensive course of study covering all aspects of financial planning, such as investment management, retirement planning, estate planning and insurance. After completing the coursework, individuals must pass a two-day examination administered by the CFP Board to become certified.

It typically takes three to four years to complete the educational requirements for the CFP designation. This includes completing college-level courses in finance and economics, as well as specialized courses in financial planning topics such as tax planning and risk management.

To become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), you must meet certain prerequisites set forth by the CFP Board. These include having at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution; passing a two-day examination; meeting work experience requirements; and agreeing to adhere to the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

The cost of obtaining your Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation varies depending on how you choose to pursue it. The total cost can range from $2,000 - $5,000 or more depending on whether you take classes online or in person, purchase study materials or hire tutors for help with exam preparation.

8. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Project Management Professional (PMP) is a certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is an internationally recognized credential that demonstrates an individual’s ability to manage projects in a professional and competent manner. The PMP certification is designed to assess the knowledge, skills, and experience of project managers in the areas of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing projects.

It typically takes 3-6 months to prepare for the PMP exam. To get certified as a PMP you must meet certain eligibility requirements including: having a minimum of 4500 hours of project management experience over the past 8 years; have at least 35 hours of project management education or training; and pass the PMP Exam.

The cost to take the exam varies depending on your membership status with PMI. For non-members, it costs $555 USD while members pay $405 USD. Additionally, there are fees associated with membership which range from $129-$499 USD per year depending on your level of membership.

Once you have passed the exam and become certified as a PMP you will be required to maintain your certification through continuing education credits every three years.

9. Six Sigma Green Belt Certification

Six Sigma Green Belt Certification is a professional certification that recognizes individuals who have achieved a level of mastery in the application of Six Sigma tools and techniques. It is designed to provide professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead Six Sigma projects, as well as develop and implement process improvement initiatives.

The certification requires a minimum of three years of work experience in a Six Sigma environment, as well as successful completion of an accredited training program. The training program typically takes four to eight weeks to complete, depending on the provider. During the program, students will learn about the theory and practice behind Six Sigma tools and techniques, including statistical analysis, process mapping, root cause analysis, design of experiments (DOE), and more.

In order to receive their Green Belt certification, candidates must pass an exam administered by an accredited organization such as ASQ or IASSC. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions that are based on the course material covered during the training program. The cost for taking the exam varies depending on the provider but typically ranges from $250-$500 USD.

Once certified, individuals may pursue higher levels of certification such as Black Belt or Master Black Belt. These certifications require additional education and experience in order to be obtained.

10. Certified Professional in Healthcare Finance and Accounting (CPHFA)

The Certified Professional in Healthcare Finance and Accounting (CPHFA) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in the areas of healthcare finance and accounting. It is offered by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

To become a CPHFA, you must have at least five years of experience in healthcare finance or accounting, including at least two years of managerial experience. You must also pass an exam that covers topics such as financial management, budgeting, cost accounting, reimbursement systems, strategic planning, and legal/regulatory compliance.

It typically takes about six months to prepare for the CPHFA exam. The best way to get ready for it is to review the HFMA’s study guide and take practice tests. Additionally, you can attend online or in-person courses offered by HFMA or other organizations that specialize in healthcare finance and accounting.

The cost of the CPHFA exam is $395 for HFMA members ($495 for non-members). This fee includes access to the online study guide and practice tests.

11. Certified Financial Analyst (CFA).

Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) is a professional designation given by the CFA Institute, a global association of investment professionals. The CFA program is designed to provide financial analysts with the knowledge and skills necessary to make sound investment decisions in today's complex and ever-changing financial markets.

The CFA program consists of three levels of exams, each taking approximately six months to complete. Level I focuses on ethical and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, equity investments, fixed income investments, derivatives, alternative investments, portfolio management and wealth planning. Level II focuses on asset valuation using fundamental analysis and technical analysis. Level III focuses on portfolio management.

To become a CFA charterholder one must have at least four years of qualified work experience in the investment decision-making process or hold an undergraduate degree plus four years of qualified work experience. Candidates must also pass all three levels of the CFA exam within four years in order to be eligible for the charter.

The cost to register for the CFA Program varies depending on when you register; however it typically costs around $1,000 USD per exam level plus additional fees for study materials and registration.

Do You Really Need a Budget Manager Certificate?

Whether or not you need a budget manager certificate depends on your individual situation and career goals. If you are interested in pursuing a career in budget management, then having a certificate is often beneficial. It can help demonstrate to employers that you have the skills and knowledge necessary for the job. Additionally, it can provide you with an edge over other applicants who do not have any formal credentials.

However, having a budget manager certificate is not necessarily essential for success in this field. Many people are able to gain the necessary experience and skills through on-the-job training or by taking courses related to budget management. Depending on your background and experience level, it may be more beneficial for you to pursue these types of options rather than investing in a certificate program. Ultimately, the decision should be based on what works best for your individual needs and career goals.

Related: Budget Manager Resume Examples

FAQs About Budget Manager Certifications

Q1. What is a Budget Manager Certification?

A1. A Budget Manager Certification is a professional credential that demonstrates a high level of knowledge and expertise in budget management and financial planning. It is designed to help individuals develop and maintain the skills necessary to effectively manage budgets, analyze financial trends, and make sound decisions when it comes to financial planning.

Q2. What are the requirements for obtaining a Budget Manager Certification?

A2. Generally, the requirements for obtaining a Budget Manager Certification include completing an approved course of study related to budget management, passing an exam, and meeting any additional requirements set by the certifying body.

Q3. How long does it take to earn a Budget Manager Certification?

A3. The time required to earn a Budget Manager Certification can vary depending on the certifying body and the type of certification being pursued, but typically takes between 6-12 months if studying full time or 12-18 months if studying part-time.

Q4. What are some benefits of having a Budget Manager Certification?

A4: Having a Budget Manager Certification can provide many benefits including increased job opportunities, higher salaries, greater credibility in the workplace, as well as improved knowledge and understanding of budgeting practices and procedures.

Q5. How much does it cost to obtain a Budget Manager Certification?

A5: The cost associated with obtaining a Budget Manager Certification can vary depending on the certifying body and type of certification being sought after; however, generally speaking it can range from several hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars depending on factors such as program duration and fees associated with taking exams or courses required for certification completion.

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