How to Become a Certified Bank Auditor: Education and Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become certified as a bank auditor. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in bank auditing.

Should I Become a Certified Bank Auditor?

Bank auditors ensure that financial institutions comply with internal and federal banking guidelines. These professionals lead and supervise audits, present the results to management, and assist external auditors when needed. Auditors who work in banking institutions can prove their auditing knowledge and skills to potential clients and employers through voluntary professional certification.

Bank auditors, like other kinds of auditors, usually work full-time, primarily during regular business hours. They generally work alone, although some collaboration is required with bank managers, federal banking authorities, and other auditors or accountants. The job carries a good amount of responsibility and might be stressful. Some travel to different banks' locations might be required.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Accounting or other related field, such as finance
Experience Varies; at least two years of experience for certification
Certification Professional certification is voluntary and may be preferred by employers
Key Skills Communication; analysis and organization; attention to detail; knowledge of regulatory guidelines and auditing procedures; research
Salary $65,940 (2014 BLS Median for Auditors)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Online job postings (December 2012), The Institute of Internal Auditors

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Most employers require candidates to have a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field, such as finance. Degree programs are designed to give students the skills that are needed to work within a financial organization and expose students to the types of issues that are faced in financial institutions. Programs often include such course topics as economics, managerial accounting, calculus, business law and auditing.

Step 2: Gain Experience

Experience is required by employers as well as a prerequisite to become certified. Prospective auditors can obtain this professional experience working in a bank regulatory agency, financial institution or a public accounting firm. Entry-level jobs, such as accounting clerks, financial clerks or loan officers, can help individuals develop skills in related areas like risk assessment, communication, writing reports and understanding business practices.

Step 3: Become Certified

The Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA) credential from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) is available for auditors who work in banking. Obtaining this credential requires meeting the education and professional experience requirements, as well as having a character reference and passing an exam. The exam covers four areas, which include auditing financial service products and processes, the regulatory environment and financial services auditing. After passing the test, individuals are issued the CFSA credential.

Step 4: Maintain Certification

To maintain certification, the IIA requires practicing CFSAs to complete continuing professional education (CPE) requirements every year. The certified bank auditor has a variety of options for meeting the requirements to maintain certification, including being a member of a professional organization, reading approved publications and completing educational activities.

Step 5: Gain Experience and Continue Education to Advance Career

There are several paths auditors can take for career advancement. Banks often hire management from within; experienced auditors can become supervisors or managers. Additionally, experienced bank auditors can strike out on their own and open their own private auditing firm. Either case requires that auditors have several years of experience and are trained in the most current methods and practices.

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