Young professionals who have earned the Certified Management Accountant designation earn more than their non-certified peers, according to a new salary study released by the Institute of Management Accountants.

Those respondents in the 19 to 29 age category with a CMA earn an average of $72,096, a 21 percent difference from noncertified professionals in the same category, who earn $59,496 on average.

The average salary of IMA members responding to the survey was $104,092. Despite the weak economy, 71 percent of members reported salary increases – only three percent less than 2007. Memebers holding the CMA designation earned 24 percent more in salary and 31 percent more in total compensation compared to noncertified professionals.

IMA’s 20th Annual Salary Survey was mailed to a random sample of more than 4,800 IMA members last December. A total of 1,578 usable questionnaires were returned, yielding an overall response rate of 33 percent.

“While the economy has forced many corporations to eliminate positions in previously secure fields, the IMA Salary Survey demonstrates both the stability and the opportunity within the accounting profession,” said Jeff Thomson, IMA president and chief executive. “Professionals and their employers are also realizing critical benefits from advanced certification, including higher skill levels and greater ethical cores within finance teams – these attributes being key to both economic recovery and long-term business sustainability."