Compare Our Programs

CFA Institute offers investment industry educational programs that are recognized and respected around the world. See which one best fits your career goals.

CFA ProgramProfessional/graduate level

The CFA® charter sets the standard as the most highly respected designation in the investment management profession.

Who is it for? Portfolio and wealth managers, investment and research analysts, professionals involved in the investment decision-making process, and finance students who want to work in the investment management profession
How long does it take? Approximately 4 years to complete 3 exams (Level I, II, and III)
Are there prerequisites? Yes. You must have one of the following:
  • Bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree (or be in the final year of bachelor’s degree program)
  • 4 years of professional work experience
  • A combination of professional work and university experience that totals at least 4 years
How do I earn the CFA charter?
  • Successfully pass the 3 exams
  • Have 4 years of professional work experience in the investment decision-making process (accrued before, during, or after passing the exams)
  • Join CFA Institute as a regular member

More about the CFA Program

CIPM ProgramProfessional/graduate level

The CIPM® Program offers career distinction for all investment professionals charged with appraising and selecting portfolio managers, evaluating portfolio performance, and communicating with clients.

Who is it for?
Portfolio managers, investment consultants, financial advisors, sales & client service professionals, and other investment professionals involved in selecting portfolio managers, evaluating portfolio performance, or communicating with clients
How long does it take?
A minimum of one year
Are there prerequisites?
No
How do I earn the CIPM designation?
  • Successfully pass the two exams (Principles and Expert)
  • Have two years of specific professional experience* in investment performance-related activities or four years in the investment decision-making process
  • Join the CIPM Association
*Professional experience may be accrued before, during, or after participation in the CIPM exams.

More about the CIPM Program

Investment Foundations Program

The CFA Institute Investment Foundations certificate program gives those working with investment decision-makers a clear understanding of the investment industry, roles and responsibilities, and the vital importance of ethical conduct.

Who is it for?
Anyone who works with or supports investment decision-makers in the investment management profession
How long does it take?
Up to 6 months to prepare for 1 exam
Are there prerequisites?
No
How do I earn the Investment Foundations certificate? Successfully pass the exam

More about the Investment Foundations Program

Download this program comparison (PDF) or contact us with questions.