CFA

The Requirements to Sit for the CFA® Exam

students throwing their graduation caps in the air

About the CFA Exam

The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) exam is a three-level exam (I, II, and III). The CFA Institute offers the exams each year in June and December. There are several requirements to sit for the CFA exam, which we’ll be exploring in this article. A CFA candidate must pass all three levels of the CFA exam, in sequential order, to become a CFA charterholder. You must also meet other requirements.

In terms of time commitment, the CFA Institute recommends spending around 300 hours of study to successfully pass each exam. The CFA Institute gives each CFA candidate up to four years to pass all three levels of the exam.

About the CFA Charter

The finance industry considers the CFA charter the highest distinction and most valuable credential in the investment management profession. A CFA charter provides financial professionals with the foundational knowledge needed to excel in your careers.

CFA Exam Requirements

Passing the CFA exam is one requirement for becoming a CFA charterholder. If you’re a financial professional and are interested in sitting for the CFA exam, you must meet certain other requirements. Sitting for the CFA exam involves you meeting one of the following criteria:

  1. Have a bachelor’s degree or be in the final year of obtaining a bachelor’s degree;
  2. Possess four years of relevant work experience;
  3. Have a combination of four years of education and work experience.

When you meet one of the above requirements, you may enroll in the CFA Program. The enrollment fee is USD $450 to register for the Level 1 exam. All CFA candidates who plan to sit for the CFA exam must take the exam in English. You must also have an international travel passport available to take to the testing centers on exam day. 

Maintaining CFA Institute Compliance

When you initially enroll in the CFA program and join the CFA Institute, you are expected to follow the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. In addition, you must review and sign a Professional Conduct Statement form to attest that you comply with the Code and Standards when you first join the CFA Institute. But your responsibilities don’t stop there – you must maintain this compliance annually thereafter during membership renewal. If you don’t submit the Professional Conduct Statement form each time you register for an exam, the CFA Institute may prohibit you from continuing in the program.


If you are prepping for an upcoming Level I CFA® exam, check out these top 5 pointers for the Level I CFA exam. And if you want to take your test-prep game to a whole new level, click here for our FREE trial. We’ll have you ready to ace the test on exam day.

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