Qualifying for CFA® Program Relevant Work Experience

CFA work experience

The two most significant obstacles you’ll face in your quest to earn the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) charter are the CFA exam and the work experience requirement. You should consider both of these concurrently versus sequentially. 

Work Experience Requirements

As part of your membership application, you must describe past job functions to prove qualified work experience. These experiences should involve assessing or implementing financial, economic, or statistical data within investment decision-making. It should also include teaching or supervising those who conduct such activities. Here are the qualifications for CFA-approved work experience and tips for proving you have such experience:

  1. Length of Time: At least four years of experience as an investment professional or in a related field.
  2. Relevant Experience: About half of your time must be directly related to investment decision-making or developing a work product that contributes to that process.
  3. Full-Time Work: You must earn your experience full-time and this could be before, during, or after participation in the CFA® Program.


The CFA Institute provides a Work Experience Self-Assessment; some of the questions asked include:

  • Do you research or develop resources that assist portfolio managers and traders with investment decisions and risk management?
  • Are you engaged in financial advising or planning for organizations or individuals other than yourself or your family?

These questions will help you better understand if your previous job duties comply with standard membership requirements. After completing the assessment, you’ll gain more confidence in your next steps to apply.

The CFA institute requires you to write a work description explaining your job duties and how they relate to investment decision-making when you’ve completed this work requirement. The Institute is particular about these requirements, so make sure you demonstrate your impact on the investment decision-making process. You should also indicate how job duties produce work products that add value. Here is an example from their website:

Again, this is an area you should learn about in advance, so you’ll be prepared to apply for positions that give you this strict qualification.

Sources: www.ipassfinanceexams.com, www.cfainstitute.org 

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