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
Total $1,290 $1,600

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.

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.

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.

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 $43.85
Texas Instruments BA II Plus Professional $52.00
HP12C $41.30
HP12C Platinum $44.74

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.

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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.

For individuals who may not afford the program fees.
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.
For students currently attending an affiliated university and have not yet registered for their next exam.
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.

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:

  1. Register for the exam (via the CFAI website) 
  2. Schedule your exam date
  3. 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
Registration deadline
$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:
    1. American Express
    2. Diners Club
    3. Discover
    4. JCB
    5. MasterCard
    6. UnionPay
    7. Visa
  • Alipay
  • Offline payments with an Invoice (available up to 40 days before the close of registration)
    • 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The CFA exam registration is valid for one exam administration only. This means that if you register for the June exam, your registration is valid only for that specific June exam, and you cannot use it for any other exam administration. If you are unable to take the exam on the registered date, you have the option to defer your registration to a future exam administration. However, a deferral fee will apply, and the deferral request must be made by a specific deadline, which is typically a few months before the exam date.
Yes. The CFAI requires that every CFA exam candidate have a valid international travel passport to register and sit for the exam.
According to the CFA Institute, you can take each level of the CFA exam once per calendar year. For example, if you sit for the Level I exam in June 2024 and do not pass, you can retake the exam in December 2024 or anytime in 2025. However, there is no limit to the number of times you can take the exam overall, as long as you are willing to pay the registration fees for each attempt.
Yes, the CFA Institute charges a registration fee each time you register for a CFA exam, including retakes. The registration fee for each level of the exam varies depending on when you register and the deadline you choose. Typically, the earlier you register, the lower the fee. In addition to the registration fee, there may be additional fees for certain services, such as requesting special accommodations or changing your exam date or location. It’s important to check the CFA Institute’s website for the most up-to-date information on registration fees and any associated costs for retaking the exam.

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 2024-25 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.
Finding it hard to keep up with the changes in the exam pattern? This guide will assist you in understanding the essential upgrades and modifications and help you prevent any misunderstandings.
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