Due to the postponement of the June 2020 exam, CFA Institute has made the decision to freeze the 2020 CFA Program® curriculum for two exam cycles. This means that all candidates who take the exam in December 2020, or any exam dates offered in 2021, will be tested using the current 2020 CFA Program® curriculum.For more information, visit our list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Earn the Industry Leading Designation
Secure a Successful Career
Kickstart your career with the skills needed to excel at all stages of your investment profession.
Gain a Strong Ethical Foundation
Gain the confidence and clarity in navigating ethical issues within the investment management industry.
Earn Waivers and Industry Acclaim
Earn recognition and waivers from regulatory agencies, graduate programs, and other organizations.
Expand Your Knowledge
Our rigorous curriculum equips you for complex investment decisions and real-world scenarios.
Join a Global Community
Connect with our prestigious group of investment professionals from around the world.
Access Expert Support
Gain access to career resources, guides, thought leadership, and other educational support.
Real Return on Investment
Open new doors, join the ambitious CFA Program candidates pursuing rich careers in investment analysis and portfolio management.
CFA Program helped me bridge the gap between academic and real-world finance and helped hone my analytical abilities.
How to Become a CFA Charterholder
Pass CFA ExamsCFA Program contains three levels of curriculum, each with its own exam. Passing the exam for all three levels is a requirement to obtain the CFA charter.
Achieve Qualified Work ExperienceComplete work experience requirements before, during, or after participation in CFA Program. Your experience must be directly involved with the investment decision-making process or producing a work product that informs or adds value to that process.
Submit Reference LettersIn support of your membership application, you will need to provide 2-3 professional references. References will be asked to comment on your work experience and professional character.
Apply to Become a CharterholderApply to become a regular member of CFA Institute. Once your application is approved and you have joined CFA Institute, you will have earned the CFA charter.
Curriculum Designed with Your Future in Mind
Our rigorous curriculum prepares you to be an effective and ethical investment management professional. The information learned in each level builds upon the previous level and increases in complexity as you progress.
Knowledge and Comprehension
- Topic Focus: Investment Tools
- Tests your knowledge of ethical and professional standards
- Topic Focus: Investment Tools
Application and Analysis
- Topic Focus: Asset Valuation
- Tests how you apply standards to situations analysts face
Synthesis and Evaluation
- Topic Focus: Portfolio Management
- Tests how you apply the standards in a portfolio management and compliance context
Get Familiar with Exam Dates, Fees, and Locations
Testing Centers Around the World
Take exams at testing centers located in major cities around the world; find the center closest to you.
Understand Exam Fees
Learn about fees and deadlines for upcoming exam registration.
Explore the Exam Calendar
Understand important exam dates and deadlines.
Enrollment Criteria for CFA Program
To become a CFA candidate, you must enroll in CFA Program and register for the Level I exam. In order to enroll you must meet all of the qualifications listed below. We have provided helpful information below to guide you through the enrollment process and to keep you on track for registration. For further questions about CFA Program enrollment requirements, please refer to these FAQs.
Complete a bachelor's program or equivalent program and have received a degree from the college/university. If you are not sure if your program is comparable, consult your college or university.
Be a final-year student of a bachelor's program or equivalent program on the date of enrolling for the Level I exam and becoming a candidate in CFA Program. Understand that you must complete your degree program prior to the date of registering for Level II.
Professional Work Experience
Have a combination of four years (or 48 months) of full-time work experience and/or college/university education on the date of registering for the Level I exam. The dates of education and professional work experience cannot be overlapping. Candidates are required to have a total of four years sequentially. Understand that part-time work does not qualify toward meeting the professional work experience requirement. Also understand that full-time work does not need to be investment related. Internships/articleships are accepted if they are paid and full-time. Work experience with your own business or your family business will qualify only if it is full-time, professional experience for which you are paid.
What does professional work experience mean? Professional work experience requires specialized knowledge, education, or advanced skills. Professional work experience requires the application of higher-level judgement and business skills, including:
• Leadership and teamwork
• Business communications
• Critical thinking and problem solving
• Time management
• Professional judgement
• Analytical skills
Candidates applying to register for CFA Program without completing a bachelor’s degree must honestly evaluate whether their professional work experience has equipped them for the significant volume and depth of study demanded by CFA Program.
Please note that CFA Institute may request proof of education (copy of diploma, marksheet, any other relevant documents) and/or work experience (letter of employment, salary slips, any other relevant documents) to be submitted at any stage of your journey as a candidate or even after becoming a member in order to demonstrate entrance requirements were met. Failure to provide requested documentation relevant to entrance requirements may result in cancellation of a current exam registration, withholding of exam results, voiding of past exam results, and may lead to investigation and disciplinary action by the CFA Institute Professional Conduct Program.
CFA Institute requires that every CFA Program candidate have a valid international travel passport. Those without a passport will not be able to register or sit for exams.
CFA Program exams are only offered in English. Exams require English proficiency for reading comprehension and formulating answers to complex financial scenarios.
All candidates in CFA Program must complete a Professional Conduct Statement form to attest that they are in compliance with this requirement.
We Invest in Your Success
Once you are a registered candidate, you gain access to a wealth of information to help you study for exams and excel in your career. We offer educational materials to help candidates master program curriculum with resources like:
- Online Learning Ecosystem
- Personalized Study Plans
- Practice Questions
- Mock Exams
- Candidate Discussion Board