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Internal Auditor Education Requirements and Career Information

Sep 09, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an internal auditor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

Internal auditors make sure that a company is running efficiently by checking to make sure it is following protocol and checking for fraud and noting signs of waste and mismanagement. They need at least a bachelor's degree but many employers prefer someone with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

Essential Information

Internal auditors check for waste, mismanagement and fraud within organizations, such as businesses, nonprofits and governments. These professionals make sure reported numbers are accurate by going through a firm's financial transactions, internal controls, management procedures and records. They usually possess a bachelor's degree related to accounting at a minimum, and many continue their education with an MBA degree. After gaining work experience in internal auditing, individuals can pursue various internal auditing certifications through the Institute of Internal Auditors.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in accounting or related field; MBA preferred
Certification Optional professional certification in internal auditing
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 6% for all accountants and auditors*
Median Salary (August 2019 ) $57,800 annually**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Education Requirements for Internal Auditors

Becoming an internal auditor requires at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related business field, such as finance or management information technology. Students take various accounting classes, including managerial, cost, financial and information systems accounting. Some courses may be specific to auditing as well. These courses help students understand tax concepts, like trust, estate and gift taxation. Students also learn about business ethics and partnerships.

After earning a bachelor's degree and working for two years, internal auditors qualify to become certified in one or more designations. Beyond the Certified Internal Auditor title, other specific types include Certified Financial Services Auditor, Certified Government Auditing Professional and Certified in Control Self-Assessment. These designations can be earned through passing specific exams, which are administered through the Institute of Internal Auditors (www.theiia.org).

Though not technically required, successful internal auditors have often earned their Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in accounting, technology or finance. Some employers prefer to hire internal auditors with this level of education.

Career Information for Internal Auditors

Internal auditors must be familiar with accounting procedures, record keeping, management and technology. Because so much information within businesses is put on computer databases and networks, internal auditors need to be current on the latest technology and trends.

On top of reviewing a company's finances, operations and policies, an internal auditor compiles this data and provides recommendations for ways the company may run more efficiently. Internal auditors also recommend controls for a company's computer systems to ensure the integrity of data being reviewed.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that between 2018 and 2028, accountants and auditors will see an 6% employment growth (www.bls.gov), which is as fast as average. PayScale.com reported in August 2019 that internal auditors earned a median annual wage of $57,800 .

Internal auditors not only need their MBA but they also need to have a strong understanding of business practices, business law, mathematics, and possess great communication skills. If you're interested in this as a profession a good first step would be to obtain your bachelor's degree in accounting or a similar field.

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