CFA / Requirements / Work experience

CFA Work Experience Requirements Before & After the Exam

CFA and requirements make an inseparable tandem. The deeper you dig into the issue, the more certain you are.

It all starts already with CFA Program entrance criteria that include both work experience and education requirements.

Then, for those who pass all 3 levels of their CFA exam, many requirements are set out before becoming a CFA charterholder gets possible. These again involve work experience.

CFA Work Experience Requirements in Short


Instead of having your degree*, to become a CFA candidate you may have:

4 years of professional work experience (investment-related or not)


a combination of professional work experience and education totaling 4 years.

*a bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree or a final-year student


After you pass all 3 levels of the CFA exam, to become a CFA charterholder, you must have:

4 years of professional work experience (investment-related).

What Work Experience Do I Need to Become a CFA Charterholder?*

To become a CFA charterholder, you must have 4 years of professional work experience,
4 years of professional work experience = 48 months of qualified work experience.

*Note that to become a CFA charterholder you must become a regular member of CFA Institute. Thus, work experience requirements for charterholders and regular membership are equivalents.

Does my work experience qualify?

Your work experience qualifies for CFA purposes if:

  • it is related to the investment decision-making process,
  • accrued before, during, or after participation in the CFA Program (full-time jobs only),
  • adequately described in your CFA membership application.

You can fill in a self-assessed questionnaire that will tell you whether you’re likely to qualify with your work experience for CFA membership. The questionnaire is available on the CFA Institute website.

Is my work experience investment-related?

At least half the time in a job position has to be spent on duties such as:

  • working with financial / economic / statistical data for securities or other similar assets (data analysis and application affecting the investment decision-making process).


  • supervising those who make such data analysis and application
  • teaching how to analyze and apply such data

qualify for meeting CFA work experience requirements.

Note: No personal investment management qualifies, including family or friends if managed outside of your compensated services.

How to describe my work experience?


  • at least 48 months of work experience,
  • only qualifying job positions (leave out unrelated jobs),
  • how your duties in each job involved the investment decision-making process.

In your description, focus on:

  • independent analysis AND
  • work product

that influence the investment decision-making process.

Note: You need to include both in your description! If either is missing, the description is incomplete.


The phrasing of the description should be specific. Too broad phrasing prevents detailed description.

To adequately describe your independent analysis and work product, consider mentioning the type of the client you worked for and what exactly you did for the client.

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