What is a Chartered Financial Analyst? A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re interested in a career in finance, you may have heard of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. But what exactly is a CFA, and what does it take to become one? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about CFAs.

What is a Chartered Financial Analyst?

A CFA is a professional designation for investment and financial professionals. Those who earn the CFA designation have demonstrated expertise in investment analysis, portfolio management, and other areas of finance. CFAs are highly respected in the industry and are often sought after by employers.

To earn the CFA designation, candidates must pass three levels of exams that cover topics such as ethics, economics, financial reporting and analysis, equity investments, fixed income investments, derivatives, alternative investments, portfolio management and wealth planning.

Why become a Chartered Financial Analyst?

There are several reasons why someone might pursue the CFA designation. For one thing, it can lead to better job opportunities and higher salaries. According to the CFA Institute’s 2020 Compensation Survey Report , those who hold the CFA charter earn an average base salary of $178k per year.

In addition to financial benefits, earning the CFA designation can also help individuals develop new skills and knowledge that can be applied throughout their careers. CFAs are trained to think critically about complex financial issues and make sound investment decisions based on rigorous analysis.

How to become a Chartered Financial Analyst

To become a CFA charterholder requires candidates to complete three levels of exams over several years while meeting certain work experience requirements. The level I exam is offered twice per year (June & December), while level II & III exams are held once annually (usually June). Candidates must pass all three levels of exams within five years before they can be granted the CFA charter.

Candidates must also have a bachelor’s degree or be in their final year of a bachelor’s degree program, or have four years of qualified work experience to be eligible for the CFA program. Additionally, candidates must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

What are the benefits of being a Chartered Financial Analyst?

Aside from the financial gains and professional development opportunities, being a CFA also comes with access to an extensive network of professionals. The CFA Institute has local societies in more than 140 countries around the world, providing members with opportunities to network and connect with colleagues from diverse backgrounds.

In addition to networking opportunities, CFAs also have access to continuing education programs, job boards, research reports and other resources provided by the CFA Institute. This can help them stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices throughout their careers.


Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst is no easy feat but it can open up many doors for those interested in pursuing a career in finance. The rigorous training required for CFAs helps ensure that they are well-equipped to make sound investment decisions on behalf of their clients or employers. If you’re considering pursuing this designation yourself, start by researching educational programs that can help you prepare for the exams while working towards gaining relevant work experience in finance.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.