Last updated: March 12, 2021

CFA exam / Requirements / Work experience

CFA Charter: Work Experience Requirements

To become a CFA charterholder, you need 4,000 hours of relevant work experience gathered in a minimum of 36 months and gained before, during or after you participate in the CFA Program. Work experience requirements are also among the CFA Program entrance criteria as a viable alternative to a degree.

CFA exam 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 involve 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 Exam Work Experience Requirements in Short


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

4,000 hours of professional work experience (full-time, investment-related or not)


a combination of professional work experience and education totaling 4,000 hours.

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


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

at least 4,000 hours of relevant investment-related work experience, completed in a minimum of 36 months months (full-time/part-time/remote work/only investment-related).

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

To become a CFA charterholder, you must have 4,000 hours of professional work experience,
gathered in a minimum of 36 months

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

Does my work experience qualify?

Your work experience qualifies for CFA exam purposes if:

  • it is related to the investment decision-making process,
  • accrued before, during, or after participation in the CFA Program (full-time and part-time jobs or remote work arrangements),
  • adequately described in your 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 membership. The questionnaire is available on the CFA Institute website.

Is my work experience investment-related?

Duties in a job position must be related to e.g.:

  • 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 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 36 months of work experience (4,000 hours total),
  • 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.