CFA® Charter: Salary and Benefits
Exploring the salary and benefits associated with the distinguished CFA credential.
It pays to be part of an exclusive club. A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder’s median income depends on various financial factors: base salary, company cash, and performance bonuses, commissions, and stock options. Average salary also depends on added compensation structures, such as company equity or profit-sharing. Per the Corporate Finance Institute, charterholders can have high salaries compared to other professionals in the finance industry.
And it gets better: not only do charterholders earn considerably more than their peers, but charterholders report also report better job satisfaction. According to Payscale.com (as of January 2020), charterholders earn between $50,000 and $300,000 per year, depending on several factors. These include academic background, work experience, the city in which they reside, employer size and industry, and career path.
Charterholders with a bachelor’s degree earn slightly less than those with graduate degrees, according to the joint 2018 Financial Compensation Report by the CFA Society of Madison and Milwaukee. Charterholders with a bachelor’s degree earn a median total compensation of $162,500, whereas, for those with a graduate degree, that figure is $237,357.
While attaining a graduate degree can increase your salary and advance your career, years of work experience in the profession can sometimes make up for any educational discrepancies in overall earning potential.
Years of Experience
Popular Companies for CFA Charterholders
The industry a charterholder chooses also impacts salary. The Balance Careers website states: CFA charterholders working for foundations or trusts make an average of just around $100,000 annually, while those in private practice with a firm earn approximately $85,000. Those who work for federal, state, or local governmental entities earn between $81,400 and $87,000 a year. Hospital-based CFA charterholders earn around $92,600, and college or university charterholder employees make around $75,000. Self-employed and contract CFA charterholders tend to earn higher salaries than charterholders who work within large organizations, with 20-year veterans earning $170,900 per year on average.
The Chartered Financial Institute indicates the median total compensation for charterholders by job type in the chart below.
Financial Analyst (corporate)
Portfolio Manager (fixed income)
Portfolio Manager (equities)
Chief Investment Officer
Salary and Compensation
Further benefits of the CFA credential include providing career advancement opportunities, higher salaries, and other advantages to investment management professionals. The CFA charter also holds excellent added value. According to the CFA Institute, some of the benefits of the charter include:
- A robust global network of top industry professionals
- Strong foundation and commitment to ethics and professionalism
- Real-world skills for making complex investment decisions
- Recognized and welcomed by markets and employers globally
- Unmatched expertise in both practical investment analysis and management skills
- Access to career-advancing tools and education
Increased Knowledge and Expertise
Securing the CFA charter is not easy and requires a tremendous amount of time and effort. Still, the benefits of receiving the designation outweigh any challenges you’ll meet while completing the program. Faster career growth, higher salary, and instant respect and credibility are just a few of the benefits a charterholder will receive with the designation.
Plus, charterholders amass a more in-depth and broader knowledge of the financial and investment professions while working through the program. This knowledge not only transfers to a strong value-add to top employers wanting to employ charterholders but also gives charterholders a distinct advantage over their non-charterholder peers.
CFA Institute does not endorse, promote, or warrant the accuracy or quality of the products or services offered by UWorld Finance. CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.
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