Finance

How to Become a CFA® Charterholder

how to become a cfa charterholder

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation is an incredibly valuable credential. Many finance industry stakeholders consider the CFA charter the highest distinction for investment management professionals. The credential is also an important designation for financial professionals who want to advance their careers. The charter provides you with the knowledge needed to make complex financial decisions. It also helps you navigate ethical issues with more clarity throughout your career. Let’s explore how to become a CFA charterholder.

If you’re considering obtaining the CFA credential and becoming a CFA charterholder, you must understand the requirements. So, how does one begin working towards obtaining the CFA designation and becoming a CFA charterholder? Start your CFA journey using the checklist below.

CFA Charterholder Checklist

  1. Pass the CFA Exams. There are three levels of the CFA exam that build upon each other in both curriculum topics and difficulty. You must pass all three levels of the CFA exam before you can earn the CFA charter.
  2. Fulfill the Work Requirement. You can start working towards achieving the qualified work experience requirement before, during, and after enrolling in the CFA Institute’s CFA program. According to the CFA Institute, “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.”
  3. Submit Letters of Reference. You’ll need to submit two to three letters of recommendation from those who can discuss your work experience. These individuals will provide insight into your professionalism and character.
  4. Apply to Become a CFA Charterholder. Once you’ve passed all three levels of the CFA exam, fulfilled your work requirements, and submitted two to three letters of reference, you may now apply to become a member of the CFA Institute. You will have earned the CFA charter once the CFA Institute approves your application.

While it may seem like a lot of work to become a CFA charterholder, the benefits are extremely valuable to your career. You’ll not only earn greater respect from your peers in the profession, but you’ll also enjoy better and more expansive career opportunities, not to mention higher salaries.  


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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