CFA® Exam Cost, Fees, and Registration

Is the CFA Exam Costly?

Naturally, making sure the CFA® Charter is suitable for your career aspirations and the study time required to pass is ideal for your lifestyle should be your first consideration. If your answer is yes, then your next step before registration is reviewing details like the eligibility requirements, exam dates, costs, and any recent updates from the CFA Institute (CFAI). There are also some sets of requirements and eligibility criteria that you must meet to be able to sit for the exam; you can find those here under the CFA requirements and eligibility section.

So, here are the costs and fees for the exam:

CFA Exam Fees and Cost

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 $2,600 to $4,000, assuming three consecutive passes with no travel and accommodation costs. This does not include third-party prep provider costs, which is highly recommended.

Year One-Time Enrollment   Early Registration   Standard Registration
2022 $450 + $700 or $1,000
2023 $350 + $900 or $1,200
  • 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 $450 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 2023, the early registration fee for the CFA exam will be $900.

  • Standard Registration Fee

    The standard registration period begins about three months after the early deadline expires. Unlike the early registration window, the 2023 standard registration fee is $300 higher, at $1200.

  • Rescheduling Fee

    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.

  • Calculator Costs

    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 $34
    Texas Instruments BA II Plus Professional $54
    HP12C $64
    HP12C Platinum $62

    Not sure which one to choose? Check out UWorld’s 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. The CFAI reports that over 75% of candidates use both. The price range for UWorld QBank ranges from $199-$299, depending on your plan: Basic, Standard, and Elite. You can purchase hard copies of the CFA curriculum books for approximately $299 (plus an additional shipping fee) per level. If you live outside of the United States, you will also be charged import duties and a customs fee upon delivery.

  • 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's. Finally, there is also a standard $250 rescheduling fee applicable to CBT exams if you need to change your original exam date.

It’s important to note that you must make all payments in US dollars. The CFA Institute® accommodates alternate exam days based on religious obligations or disabilities that might prevent you from taking the CFA® Exam on certain days. You can find out their policy for both situations on their guidelines page.

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.

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How to Reduce Your CFA Exam Cost

To make the CFA exam more accessible, CFAI has compiled a list of scholarships that the test-takers can apply for to receive a significant discount on the registration fee.

Name Scholarship Details Discount
Access Scholarship For individuals who may not afford the program fees. $250
Women's Scholarship For women who want to become CFA charterholders but do not qualify for other CFA Institute scholarships and have not yet registered for their next exam. $350
Student Scholarship For students currently attending an affiliated university and have not yet registered for their next exam. $350
Professor Scholarship Full-time college/university professors, administrators, or department heads who teach a minimum number of credit hours at qualified institutions and have not yet registered for their next exam. $350
Regulator Scholarship 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. $350

You can also apply for UWorld’s CFA® Career Advancement scholarship that recognizes ten deserving CFA Level 1 and 2 candidates chosen based on merit and involvement (Level 3 candidates will be included in 2024). The UWorld CFA scholarship covers everything you need to prepare for and take the exam.

UWorld Career Advancement Scholarship

Each recipient will receive over $1,400 in tools and financial aid, including a full scholarship to UWorld's Elite-360 Course, and CFAI one-time enrollment and exam fee for the selected testing window.

Registering and Paying for the CFA® Exam

Registering for the CFA exam is technically a two-step process:

  1. Register for the exam (via the CFAI website)
  2. Schedule a date and keep a note of the CFA registration deadline

The CFAI® does offer a reduced registration cost for those that sign up by a specified date (we'd suggest opting for the early window).

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FAQs

Once you register for the CFA exam, it stays valid until you pass all the levels. Your registration does not expire.

CFA Institute® requires that every CFA Program candidate have a valid international travel passport to register and sit for the exam.

Candidates are permitted to take the exam a maximum of two times per calendar year (when applicable), but not in consecutive windows or windows that are six months or less apart. Candidates will have a total of six maximum attempts per exam level.

If you retake any level of the CFA exam, you will be charged the same examination fee. The fee will range from $900 to $1,200, depending on when you register to retake the exam.

As per the CFAI, following are the payment modes available:

  1. Credit cards: American Express, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, UnionPay, or Visa
  2. Alipay
  3. Personal, corporate, or bank checks (i.e., certified check, cashier’s check)
  4. Money or postal orders
  5. ACH or wire transfer

Read More about the CFA Exam

Looking for the eligibility criteria to appear for the CFA exam? Have a look at the detailed eligibility criteria and requirements to ensure that there are no hurdles in your application process.

Searching for the CFA exam dates? As perplexing as the shifting schedules may be, here’s a handy list of new dates and frequencies for 2022–2023 to help maintain a seamless exam experience.

Wouldn’t it be great to know more about the exam that you are planning to sit for? Here’s everything that you need to know about the CFA exam, including registration, scheduling, and the fee.

Wondering about the total cost involved in applying for the CFA exam? Fret not! Here’s a complete list of all the costs, including registration, enrolment fee, study material costs, and travel charges.
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