Breaking Down CFA® Exam Costs
What to Expect at Each Level
Before registering for the CFA charter, it is essential to consider whether it aligns with your career goals and fits into your study schedule. If you determine that it is a good fit, you should then review the eligibility requirements, exam dates, costs, and any recent updates from the CFA Institute® (CFAI) before registering. Additionally, to sit for the exam, you must meet specific eligibility criteria outlined in the CFA requirements and eligibility section.
CFA Exam Fees and Additional Expenses
Registration costs vary depending on when a candidate decides to register for the exam. The total cost of all three CFA exams ranges from approximately $3,220 to $8,050, assuming three consecutive passes with no travel and accommodation costs. This does not include third-party cfa prep provider costs, which is highly recommended.
|2024 CFA Exam||Early Registration||Standard Registration|
|Exam Window Fee||$940||$1,250|
|One-Time Enrollment Fee||$350||$350|
One-time Enrollment Fee
When you register for the CFA Program exam for the first time, you must pay a one-time enrollment fee of $350 as well as the exam registration fee for the deadline you are registering for.
Early Registration Fee
For people choosing to go with the early window, the registration fee is considerably less. As of 2024, the early registration fee for the CFA exam is $940.
Standard Registration Fee
The standard registration period begins about three months after the early deadline expires. Unlike the early registration window, the 2024 standard registration fee is $310 higher, at $1250.
The process of changing your scheduled exam appointment to a different date, time, or location within your currently registered exam window is known as rescheduling. Any changes to your exam appointment will incur a fee of $250. You cannot defer your exam registration to a future exam window if you reschedule your exam appointment.
In addition to these exam-related expenses, there are some miscellaneous costs that you will have to bear. Some of them include buying a calculator, paying for review courses and study materials, and traveling costs, among many others.
Most candidates fail to budget for this, despite the fact that it is a relatively small amount of $54 on average. If you prefer to bring a spare calculator (only the ones approved by the CFAI) as a backup during exams, remember to double the cost listed below.
Here are the prices of calculators approved by CFAI
|Approximate Calculator Costs|
|Texas Instruments BA II Plus||$43.85|
|Texas Instruments BA II Plus Professional||$52.00|
Not sure which one to choose? Check out UWorld’s cfa exam calculator guide.
Study Material Costs
The costs vary depending on whether you use the CFAI curriculum (all digital; included with registration) alone, or also supplement these with third-party study materials – anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands. The CFAI reports that over 75% of candidates use both.
Travel and Retake Costs
Even though the new computer-based testing (CBT) has over 400+ test locations worldwide, some CFA candidates may still need to travel to a test center and possibly stay overnight. These additional costs must be considered for all three levels. Exam retake fees are another significant consideration (plus the associated study material costs, if using a prep provider).
Each exam retake costs $1,200 for standard registration fees (required) and possibly another $750-$1,500 if you decide to purchase the most recent third-party study materials, or only $249-$299 when choosing UWorld. If you need to change your original exam date for CBT exams, there is a standard rescheduling fee of $250 that applies.
The CFA Exam costs are relatively high, so if you're a CFA candidate, you should make the most of your investment by preparing to the best of your ability.
Ways to Save Money on Your CFA Exam Expenses
To make the CFA exam more accessible, CFAI® has compiled a list of scholarships that the candidates can apply for to receive a significant discount on the registration fee.
Employees of financial regulators, central banks, securities commissions, qualifying stock exchanges, SROs, or government agencies are eligible. Specifically, those entities that oversee or regulate investment management industry operations, standards of practice, or business conduct have entered into a program agreement with CFAI.
Registering and Paying for the CFA Exam
Registering for the CFA exam is technically a two-step process:
- Register for the exam (via the CFAI website)
- Schedule your exam date
- Make the payment via the choice of your portal (from the ones approved by the CFAI)
CFA Level 1 Exam
To register for the Level 1 exam, you must first create an account on the CFA Institute® website.
If you are eligible and intend to apply for the Access Scholarship or the Women's Scholarship, you must register on the CFAI website much earlier in order to submit your scholarship application. Fee payment is the next step in the registration process.
If you are awarded a scholarship, the cost of your CFA exam will be significantly lower. However, if you are not eligible for a scholarship, you will need to pay the standard registration fees.
There are two deadlines that determine the registration fee:
|CFA Level 1 exam fee 2024|
|Type||Cost||February Window||May Window||August Window||November Window|
|$940||CLOSED||CLOSED||Jan 23||April 16|
|Standard Registration deadline||$1250||CLOSED||Feb 6||May 14||Aug 7|
|Mandatory Fee||$350||one-time enrollment fee for ‘first-timers’|
CFA Level 2 Exam
You need to pass the CFA Level 1 exam to be eligible for Level 2. Beyond that, the registration process and exam cost are consistent with Level 1. You are not required to pay a one-time enrollment cost for Level 2.
|CFA Level 2 exam fee 2024|
|Type||Cost||May Window||August Window||November Window|
|Early Registration||$940||CLOSED||Jan 23||April 16|
|Standard Registration||$1,250||Feb 6||May 14||August 7|
CFA Level 3 Exam
Passing the CFA Level 1 and 2 exams is a prerequisite for taking the Level 3 exam. The registration process is similar to that of Level 1 and Level 2. Again, there is no one-time cost for the Level 3 exam.
|CFA Level 3 Exam Fees for 2024|
|Type||Cost||February Window||August Window|
|Early Registration deadline||$940||CLOSED||Jan 23|
|Standard Registration deadline||$1250||CLOSED||May 14|
The payment process includes online payment with a credit card or Alipay, or using the "Pay By Invoice" option before registration closes (40 days prior). Check the exam calendar for deadlines. The CFA Institute offers regional discounts and scholarships, subject to availability, and reduced fees for early registration.
The payment options available are:
- Credit cards:
- American Express
- Diners Club
- Personal, corporate, or bank checks (i.e., certified check, cashier’s check)
- Money or postal orders
- ACH or wire transfer
- EMI (Equated Monthly Installment) payment option for candidates residing in India. Click here to learn more.
All payments must be made in US dollars.