How to Become a Chartered Financial Analyst

A Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA deals with the financial analysis and portfolio management. They also offer generalized as well as detailed knowledge about other areas of finance. To become a Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA, you need to hold or be in the final year of a university degree.

Educational Stipulations

A professional CFA needs to hold a university degree or four years of professional experience in the field of investment and finance or both. They are bound to meet the qualifications before they complete the admission formalities. A CFA must obtain a certification for finance and investment professionals. The designation is highly recognized and respected in the financial community.

This certificate program was created in the United States. Over a period of time, the program gained mileage across the globe. Their curriculum often includes ethics, financial statement analysis, accounting, economics and many other vital subjects. American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has also acknowledged the program along with New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) regarding the exchange’s rules.


Across the financial communities, the CFA program is often appreciated for the nuances taught during the course tenure. The certificate is earned after the successful completion of series of standardized tests. The certificate earned is not a legal certification or license. The exams are considered as a hard nut to crack. Students require persistence and endurance for the successful completion of the program.

The CFA program requires students to complete tri-level tests often referred to as level one, level two and level three, respectively. For successful completion of each level, students need to score a percentage determined by the CFA Institute. The percentage varies every year. The level exams are held sometimes twice a year in case of level one. Therefore, students enrolled in the program often take three or more years for the completion of the program.

Apart from the successful completion of the three levels, students are also bound to abide by the strict rules of ethics set by the CFA Institute. They also need to pay yearly tax to maintain and renew their CFA status.

Tips and Advice

You should try to get a job in any company especially in the finance and investment industry. Although it is a second condition but work experience always helps. Since you will be competing with numerous heads, it is always safer to grab the relevant experience in the desired field. Make the most of the summer vacations by applying for the relevant positions. The experience will sparkle on your resume.

CFAs can offer a wide range of services like teaching about the mode of ethics, quantitative methods and finance in an array of businesses and financial institutions. They are often invited to deliver lectures on micro and macro economics apart from security analysis. Security analysis is a subject most CFAs comprehend since they are closely related. Companies often hire them for the analysis of bonds and alternative investments like real estate, funds and equities. 

The NYSE reserves some CFAs on the payroll for observing and defining investment policy and asset allocation.

A CFA has an expansive scope in terms of their career. Spanning from an enterprise’s corporate headquarters, government departments and stock exchanges, the world is at a CFA’s doorstep.