How to Become a Certified Management Consultant®

How to become a CMC

Our CMC® certification process confirms proof of your education, continuing professional development and commitment to the highest ethical standards of consulting. IMC USA’s examiners rigorously assess your submitted consulting engagement case studies and your competency in applying the knowledge and skills defined in IMC USA’s Competency Framework and Certification Scheme for Certified Management Consultants®(CMC®).  This framework was recently revised to adopt the global standards for consulting crafted by the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI).

Review the following sections for an overview of the process to becoming a Certified Management Consultant®

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Certification Process Overview

Steps to Certification

1. Application

The Application Process

Submit a CMC® Multi-stream Application with supporting documentation to IMC USA, answering 15 questions and including three written engagement summaries and provide contact information for five or six clients who will be invited to complete an online client evaluations. See FAQs on the Application and the Multiple Streams, on Client Evaluations, on Engagement Summaries.


Getting Started

Please download the CMC® Application to review the Certification Point System and determine if you are qualified. Ask your Chapter Certification Chair for help. See FAQs on the Point System.

Identify five or six references, most of them should be officers or executives of client organizations served. They will be invited to complete an online client evaluation. Five satisfactory evaluations must be received before continuing with the certification process. See important FAQs on Client Evaluations.

Identify at least three client assignments to use to prepare concise written summaries, disguised to protect client identity. Ensure you will not violate your non-disclosure agreement with your clients. See FAQs on Engagement Summaries.

When submitting your application, you pledge in writing to abide by the Institute’s Code of Ethics.


Three Application Streams for Qualified Candidates

For consultants with a minimum of 3 up to 9 years of management consulting experience as independent or internal consultants with five satisfactory client evaluations, and a Bachelor’s degree or at least 5 years of work experience including 3 years of full time consulting plus significant professional education in management consulting. Then pass written and oral examinations.For consultants with 10 or more years as independent or internal consultants and otherwise meeting the Basic requirements. The scope of the written and oral examination may be reduced.For high level managers with 20 or more years of experience including at least 3 years of management consulting with successful completion of projects and otherwise meeting requirements of the Basic track. The scope of the written and oral examination may be reduced.
2. Written Examination

The Written Examination Process

After receipt of five satisfactory client evaluations and a review of your application, take the Ethics and Consulting Competency sections of the online examination, about one hour each. (Download the study materials below.) See FAQs on the Online Examination.

Three core documents are supplied to the candidate for use as an open book reference during the online exams. These are:

IMC USA Code of Ethics 
IMC USA Body of Knowledge
IMC USA’s Competency Framework and Certification Scheme for Certified Management Consultants™ (CMC®)
CMC-Global (ICMCI) Code of Conduct

The examination has two sections: ethics and core competencies. See FAQs on the On-Line Examination.

3. Oral Examination

The Oral Examination Process

The Oral Examination Process requires that each CMC® Candidate must successfully present a client engagement, spontaneously, chosen from the case studies; respond to questions about client engagement outcomes; answer questions about ethical issues; and answer questions about management consulting core competencies.

During the Oral Exam, the CMC® Candidate should conduct themself as they would with a client. Things to remember:

  1. review your CMC® Application before the scheduled Oral Exam Date;
  2. pay specific attention to the Engagement Summaries;
  3. review the replies to the fifteen (15) questions about Engagement Management that address Core Competencies and the Body of Knowledge; and
  4. finally, it must be clear and obvious that the CMC® Candidate can demonstrate objective and experiential understanding of the IMC USA Code of Ethics (either as a consultant, individually, or as a consultant managing a team).  

Surprisingly, some CMC® Candidates take the Oral Examination too casually and do not pass. Short, concise answers about engagement management, ethical traps, plus working and communicating with senior managers will help demonstrate the breadth of knowledge that is expected. See FAQs about the Oral Examination.

How Long Does the Certification Process Take?

The process can take as little as three months, depending on how quickly your references are submitted and they complete a client evaluation, when you pass the online examinations, and when you schedule your panel interview. See FAQs on the Application Process.


What Does Certification Cost?

Your certification fee is determined by your IMC USA member status. IMC USA awards the CMC® to members and non-members. There is no requirement for membership in any professional association or to attend any specific course to apply for the CMC®. IMC USA member rates will apply only if you are in good standing at the time you submit payment. 

All CMCs pay an CMC® Annual Charge in December to maintain their certification for the next calendar year. Every third year each CMC® re-certifies in June (see CMC® Renewal below). The costs vary for IMC USA members and non-members as follows.

 Fee Description Member Non-Member
 Initial Certification Application & Assessment (non-refundable) $350.00 $550.00
 Convert a hard copy application to electronic files (non-refundable) $150.00 $150.00
 Annual CMC® charge (prorated first year) $395.00 $550.00
 Triennial Re-Certification (assessment of continuing development) $150.00 $250.00

Earning & Maintaining Certification

Failure of Examinations

Candidates who fail any portion of an examination are invited to retake that portion after agreeing for a reasonable amount of time to either re-study the materials or take remedial action enabling them to pass. If a candidate is dissatisfied with the outcome of the examinations, there is an appeal process to the IMC USA Board of Directors. See FAQs on the Appeal Process.

Award of CMC® Certificate

After completing the Oral Examination, the candidate’s file is reviewed by the IMC USA CMC Certification Committee. This review is conducted to ensure that all of the documents submitted are complete and validated and that all examinations have been completed with a passing grade. The Certification Committee meets once each month to approve certifications and notifies the candidate if the CMC® is awarded. All CMCs follow the Guidelines for use of the CMC certificate mark.

CMC® Recertificaton

CMC® certification renewal is due June 30th of the every third year from your original certification date. See CMC Renewal page. A CMC® must affirm at each recertification that they will continue to comply with the Institute’s Code of Ethics.

Reciprocity or Transferring a CMC®

If you belong to another Institute that awards the CMC® and will move to the United States, you may transfer your CMC®. If you will work in the United States temporarily, you should request reciprocity for your CMC®. See FAQs

The Certification Committee at the national level administers the certification process.

More Information

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