The following steps are required to earn the CFA designation:
Fulfill the Entrance Requirements
To be eligible for the CFA Program, a candidate must meet the following requirements:
Be prepared to take the examinations in English
Meet the professional conduct admission criteria (during the application process, you will be asked to sign statements of Professional Conduct and Candidate Responsibility
Have a U.S. bachelor’s (or equivalent degree), OR
Be in the final year of your bachelor's degree program, OR
Have four years of qualified, professional work experience or a combination of work and college experience that totals at least four years
Complete The Curriculum/Examination Requirements
Sign up for your first exam. Enrolling for the first exam also registers you as a Candidate in the CFA Program
Complete a minimum of 250 hours of study (or more, depending on the individual circumstances) of the approved CFA curriculum
Curriculum The program is administered in three levels – Level I, Level II, Level III – providing a progressive learning experience as concepts build upon earlier information taught in the program.
The CFA Institute conducts surveys of present investment professionals who are Charterholders to determine what skills and knowledge are vital to success in the investment management marketplace. This research helps to formulate the Candidate Body of Knowledge™ (CBOK), from which the curriculum is drawn. A topical view of the curriculum include:
Ethical and professional standards
Quantitative methods for investment analysis
Financial statement analysis
Analysis of equity, debt, derivative and alternative investments
Examinations There is an examination at the end of each Level, offered at locations throughout the world. Candidates must complete three levels of examinations sequentially. Candidates may enroll for only one examination at a time. Candidates who fail an examination are encouraged to repeat the level.
Each exam is six hours long and is split between morning and afternoon sessions. There is a two-hour lunch break at the end of the morning session.
- the exam is offered two times per year, June and December, and is composed of multiple-choice questions.
- the exam is offered in June only, and is composed of item-set questions.
- the exam is offered only in June only, and is composed of item-set and essay questions.
Candidates must wait to receive their examination results before enrolling for the next examination because the results will determine whether a candidate must repeat the current level or advance to the next level.
Become a Regular Member of The CFA Institute
Candidates must complete a membership application and wait for notification of acceptance (may take several weeks). Information required for application includes:
the name of the local society you wish to join
a signed Professional Conduct Statement and Member’s Agreement
detailed work experience narrative
the appropriate sponsor forms
Submit Dues Payments
Upon receiving notification of acceptance, fees will apply as follows:
An Annual Dues fee of $225 (may be prorated depending on month)
Society Dues (vary) – visit your local society for specific rates
Receive your Official Status
The CFA Institute will notify you when you have completed all requirements and can begin using the CFA designation. You will have the option to receive the charter by mail or during an award ceremony provided by your society.
Maintain your Status
You must maintain a commitment to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct – a commitment that cannot be taken lightly and demands that, above all else, you put the interests of your clients first Recommended Courses and Available Training Options
ABTrainingCenter.com offers multiple courses and training formats for earning the CFA designation.
Simply select one of the recommended courses below, or search under "Licensing/Designations" in the search box thereafter for "CFA - Chartered Financial Analyst".