I'm trying to decide whether I should take the CIA exams or the CGAP exam. I have 5-1/2 years of auditing government grants and contracts, so I think CGAP makes sense for me and my experience. And I don't see myself leaving this area of auditing anytime in the near future. However, I've been doing some preliminary job searches and it looks like most, even government auditing jobs, require the CIA designation. I don't know if they just don't know that the CGAP exists, or if they're just using "CIA" loosely in their job postings - meaning they'd also accept the CGAP...
The CIA is more universally recognized so it looks good on paper and seems like it will help to get your foot in the door for various auditing positions but the CGAP seems to make more sense if that's one's area of expertise. But then again, I don't want to waste time, money and energy on a certification that won't be acknowledged.
While CGAP designation would certainly be helpful to distinguish you from other candidates with similar experience when applying for governmental audit jobs, I believe CIA designation would give you more flexibility in the future, should you choose to exit government auditing. I believe you likely could easily pass CGAP with your experience, so why not do CIA, then follow up with CGAP? It seems there would be some overlap in some testing topics.
I have both. CGAP is a good one and for me was far easier than the CIA. I also was able to get it a lot faster. I would go for the CGAP first, but the CIA is more prestegious. CGAP helped me prepare a little for the CIA as well.