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Become An Internal Auditor

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Working As An Internal Auditor

  • Getting Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $55,300

    Average Salary

What Does An Internal Auditor Do

Internal Auditors conduct risk assessment for their assigned department, as well as prepare and present the results of audit work and recommendations to management. They coordinate and interact with administrators, law enforcement agencies, external audit, and others as needed.

How To Become An Internal Auditor

Most accountants and auditors need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Certification within a specific field of accounting improves job prospects. For example, many accountants become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs).  


Most accountant and auditor positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have a master’s degree, either in accounting or in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

A few universities and colleges offer specialized programs, such as a bachelor’s degree in internal auditing. In some cases, those with associate’s degrees, as well as bookkeepers and accounting clerks who meet the education and experience requirements set by their employers, get junior accounting positions and advance to accountant positions by showing their accounting skills on the job.

Many colleges help students gain practical experience through summer or part-time internships with public accounting or business firms.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Every accountant filing a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required by law to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Many other accountants choose to become a CPA to enhance their job prospects or to gain clients. Many employers will often pay the costs associated with the CPA exam.

CPAs are licensed by their state’s Board of Accountancy. Becoming a CPA requires passing a national exam and meeting other state requirements. Almost all states require CPA candidates to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework to be certified, which is 30 hours more than the usual 4-year bachelor’s degree. Many schools offer a 5-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree to meet the 150-hour requirement, but a master’s degree is not required.

A few states allow a number of years of public accounting experience to substitute for a college degree.

All states use the four-part Uniform CPA Examination from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Candidates do not have to pass all four parts at once, but most states require that they pass all four parts within 18 months of passing their first part.

Almost all states require CPAs to take continuing education to keep their license.

Certification provides an advantage in the job market because it shows professional competence in a specialized field of accounting and auditing. Accountants and auditors seek certifications from a variety of professional societies. Some of the most common certifications are listed below:

The Institute of Management Accountants offers the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) to applicants who complete a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must have worked at least 2 years in management accounting, pass a two-part exam, agree to meet continuing education requirements, and comply with standards of professional conduct. The exam covers areas such as financial statement analysis, working-capital policy, capital structure, valuation issues, and risk management. 

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) to graduates from accredited colleges and universities who have worked for 2 years as internal auditors and have passed a four-part exam. The IIA also offers the Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA), Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP), Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA), and Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) to those who pass the exams and meet educational and experience requirements.

ISACA offers the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) to candidates who pass an exam and have 5 years of experience auditing information systems. Information systems experience, financial or operational auditing experience, or related college credit hours can be substituted for up to 3 years of experience in information systems auditing, control, or security.

For accountants with a CPA, the AICPA offers the option to receive any or all of the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), or Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) certifications. The ABV requires a written exam, completion of at least six business valuation projects, and 75 hours of continuing education. The CITP requires 1,000 hours of business technology experience and 75 hours of continuing education. Candidates for the PFS also must complete a certain amount of work experience and continuing education, and pass a written exam.


Some top executives and financial managers have a background in accounting, internal auditing, or finance.

Beginning public accountants often advance to positions with more responsibility in 1 or 2 years and to senior positions within another few years. Those who excel may become supervisors, managers, or partners; open their own public accounting firm; or transfer to executive positions in management accounting or internal auditing in private firms.

Management accountants often start as cost accountants, junior internal auditors, or trainees for other accounting positions. As they rise through the organization, they may advance to accounting manager, chief cost accountant, budget director, or manager of internal auditing. Some become controllers, treasurers, financial vice presidents, chief financial officers, or corporation presidents.

Public accountants, management accountants, and internal auditors can move from one aspect of accounting and auditing to another. Public accountants often move into management accounting or internal auditing. Management accountants may become internal auditors, and internal auditors may become management accountants. However, it is less common for management accountants or internal auditors to move into public accounting.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to identify issues in documentation and suggest solutions. For example, public accountants use analytical skills in their work to minimize tax liability, and internal auditors use these skills to detect fraudulent use of funds.  

Communication skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to listen carefully to facts and concerns from clients, managers, and others. They must also be able to discuss the results of their work in both meetings and written reports.

Detail oriented. Accountants and auditors must pay attention to detail when compiling and examining documentation.

Math skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to analyze, compare, and interpret facts and figures, although complex math skills are not necessary.

Organizational skills. Strong organizational skills are important for accountants and auditors who often work with a range of financial documents for a variety of clients.

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Internal Auditor jobs

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Internal Auditor Career Paths

Internal Auditor
Assistant Controller Plant Controller Controller
Controller/Director Of Finance
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Cost Accounting Manager Accounting Manager
Corporate Accounting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Accountant Senior Accountant Controller
Corporate Controller
12 Yearsyrs
Finance Manager Business Manager Controller
Director Of Accounting & Finance
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Auditor Senior Accountant Accounting Manager
Division Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Accounting Supervisor Assistant Controller
Divisional Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Controller
Finance Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Auditor Senior Finance Analyst
Finance Planning Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Finance Manager Senior Manager Controller
Finance Vice President
9 Yearsyrs
Accountant Finance Manager Sales Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Controller Operations Manager Human Resources Coordinator
Human Resources Business Partner
10 Yearsyrs
Accounting Manager Controller
Interim Controller
15 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Accountant Senior Auditor
Internal Audit Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Controller Accounting Consultant Accounting Manager
Manager/Finance Accounting
8 Yearsyrs
Controller General Manager Account Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Accountant Accounting Supervisor Accounting Manager
Plant Controller
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Accountant Accounting Manager Controller
Regional Controller
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Accounting Manager
Senior Accounting Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Accounting Manager Finance Manager Finance Director
Senior Director Of Finance
14 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Senior Finance Analyst Finance Manager
Senior Finance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
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Internal Auditor Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Mandarin

  • Chinese

  • Portuguese

  • German

  • Cantonese

  • Russian

  • Italian

  • Arabic

  • Hindi

  • Japanese

  • Urdu

  • Korean

  • Polish

  • Romanian

  • Ukrainian

  • Hebrew

  • Vietnamese

  • Bulgarian

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Internal Auditor Education

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Real Internal Auditor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Manager of Internal Audit Bechtel Global Corporation Reston, VA Jan 15, 2016 $260,000 -
Manager of Internal Audit Bechtel Global Corporation Glendale, AZ Apr 01, 2015 $260,000 -
Managing Director, Internal Audit Early Stage Solutions LLC (Aka David Landau & ASOC Fairfield, NJ Dec 16, 2016 $245,500
Global Head of Internal Audit The Chanel Company Limited Piscataway, NJ Oct 01, 2015 $210,000
Vice President-Internal Audit Wyndham Worldwide Operations, Inc. Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ Aug 25, 2016 $202,200
Director of Internal Audit Apollo Management Holdings, L.P. New York, NY Apr 22, 2015 $175,000
Director of Internal Audit-Hotel Assurance Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Scottsdale, AZ Sep 15, 2016 $173,040
Director, Internal Audit Hospira, Inc. Lake Forest, IL Sep 04, 2015 $158,870
Quantitative Risk Analyst, Internal Audit Barclays Services Corp New York, NY Nov 14, 2016 $158,300
Vice President, Internal Audit Nomura Holding America Inc. New York, NY Aug 22, 2016 $155,000 -
Manager, Internal Audit Anglogold Ashanti North America Inc. Centennial, CO Jan 09, 2016 $150,000 -
Director, Data Analyst/Internal Audit UBS Services LLC Weehawken, NJ Oct 28, 2015 $145,000
Global Head of Internal Audit The Chanel Company Limited Piscataway, NJ Apr 14, 2015 $145,000
Internal Audit Analyst, SR. I Synopsys, Inc. Mountain View, CA Feb 15, 2016 $89,149 -
Internal Auditor Pacific Northern, Inc. Carrollton, TX Jul 14, 2016 $88,171
International Internal Auditor Mansfield Plumbing Products, L.L.C. Perrysville, OH Dec 28, 2016 $88,055
Internal Auditor Schlumberger Services, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2015 $87,550
Internal Auditor Schlumberger Services, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 10, 2015 $87,550
Internal Auditor Senior Actavis, Inc. Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ Feb 04, 2015 $86,258
Internal Auditor Millicom International Services LLC Coral Gables, FL Oct 02, 2015 $85,500
Internal Audit Analyst, SR. II Synopsys, Inc. Mountain View, CA Oct 23, 2015 $85,322 -
Internal Auditor Zebra Technologies Corporation Lincolnshire, IL Jun 15, 2016 $64,834 -
Internal Auditor Mercy Corps Portland, OR Sep 02, 2015 $64,480
Internal Auditor KBR Technical Services, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 27, 2016 $64,002
Internal Auditor Nuvasive, Inc. San Diego, CA Jun 09, 2016 $64,000
Internal Auditor Nortek, Inc. Providence, RI Sep 14, 2016 $63,898 -
Internal Auditor Singpoli (Hop Kin) Construction & Decoration Arcadia, CA Mar 16, 2016 $63,066
Internal Auditor TYCO Electronics Corporation, A Te Connectivity Ltd. Company Berwyn, PA Aug 22, 2016 $63,000 -
Manager of Internal Audit Toyota Industries North America Inc. Columbus, IN Jun 19, 2015 $62,899

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Top Skills for An Internal Auditor


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Top Internal Auditor Skills

  1. Internal Audit Department
  2. Ensure Compliance
  3. Financial Statements
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Established and ran internal audit department and provided financial analysis for decision making.
  • Compared practices with federal, state and case laws, professional standards, and Department Policy to ensure compliance.
  • Prepared annual analysis of financial statements and presented to Board of Directors.
  • Developed and implemented audit procedures.
  • Prepared audits of Special districts to ensure compliance with state statutes and internal controls.

Top Internal Auditor Employers

Internal Auditor Videos

What is Auditing: Internal vs. External?

Internal Auditor Roles - Online Training Session

How to become Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)