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How to become an Internal Auditor

The IIA SA defines an Internal Audit Professional as someone who has an academic qualification, who has gone through the IIA SAs structured on-the-job training program (Professional Training Program), has gone through a test of competence (IAT, PIA and CIA) and who is a member of the IIA. These four elements must be in place as they speak to the Internal Auditor’s competence and accountability to a code of ethics.

The path career Internal Auditors follow in sequence is:

  1. Obtaining an academic qualification. We recommend that where possible you work through an academic institution that has been endorsed by the IIA (IAEP status). These institutions often offer internship programs. One of the best ways to learn more about Internal Auditing is to participate in a student internship program. An internship can provide you with special insight into Internal Auditing, its working relationships and job related responsibilities that textbooks cannot offer, not to mention the invaluable personal and professional contacts you make. Plus, internships often turn into paid jobs after graduation. Tertiary institutions make their own decisions about the availability of and credit assigned to internship programs. Registrations for your internships will be arranged according to the requirements of your institution.
  2. Become a member of the Institute. Being a member of a professional body is a prerequisite for any professional. Being a member of the IIA SA "brands” an individual as a professional and instantly associates that individual with competence and ethical behaviour. Organisations’ reputations are enhanced when it is known that their employees are branded as professionals.
  3. Go through the IIA SA’s Professional Training Program. This is a structured on-the-job training program designed to build competence in Internal Auditors.
  4. Write the CIA exam as the final test of competence.
  5. Many Internal Auditors also opt to write the specialty exams which have been designed to further assist members in government, the financial services as well as those who want to enhance their facilitation skills.
  6. In order to maintain the professional IIA SA designations, an Internal Auditor must adhere to the IIA SA’s continuing professional development requirements.
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