How to Become a CFA Charterholder
First, you have to become a candidate for the CFA exam. To do so, you have to enter the CFA Program. You enter the program, when you become a candidate and register for your first CFA level 1 exam.
Can I Take the Exam?
CFA Requirements for Entering the Program
To be able to enroll in the list of CFA candidates and sit for your first CFA exam, you must:
be prepared to take the exam in English,
pay your enrollment and registration fees,
have a valid international passport,
fulfil the professional conduct admission criteria,
meet CFA Program entrance criteria:
You must have:
a bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree or be a final-year student.
4 years of professional work experience (investment related or not).
a combination of professional work experience and education totaling 4 years.
If you want to become a CFA Charterholder, you must take and pass all the 3 levels of the CFA exam: CFA level 1, CFA level 2 and CFA level 3. However, the successful exam is not enough to gain the designation. CFA requirements for charterholders are more extensive.
Can I use the designation?
CFA Requirements for Becoming a CFA Charterholder
To earn the CFA designation, you must:
- pass all 3 levels of the CFA exam,
- have 4 years of professional work experience,
- become a CFA Institute (and CFA Society) member and pay annual dues,
- commit yourself to follow the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct,
- have 3 professional references (or 2 if they are CFA charterholders).
CFA Work Experience Requirements
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.
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.
CFA Institute Membership
To join CFA Institute as a regular member, you must:
- apply to be a CFA Institute member,
- be accepted by CFA Institute,
- activate your CFA Institute membership,
- pay annual dues,
- submit your Professional Conduct Statement.
You can apply to become a regular member of CFA Institute already when you pass your CFA level 1 exam. It is recommended that you also join your local CFA Society when you become a CFA Institute regular member.
CFA Society membership is open to CFA charterholders, but also to candidates and other individuals as long as they meet eligibility requirements.
3 passed levels of the CFA exam do not make you a CFA charterholder yet.
Even if you meet all the CFA Requirements for Entering the Program and pass all 3 levels but you fail to satisfy all the CFA Requirements for Becoming a CFA Charterholder, you will not be able to use the CFA designation.