Chartered Financial Analyst

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is one of the most prestigious designations you can acquire in the field of investment management. In order to become a Chartered Financial Analyst, you need to pursue a CFA program. This program is offered by the CFA institute, a global organisation whose vision is to spearhead the investment management industry by providing academic programs and creating  job opportunities for professionals looking to thrive in this industry. The duration of the CFA program is approximately around 1.5 years to 4 years. However, in order to be eligible for the CFA program, there are a few criteria you must fulfill. 

In this article, we will tell you all about the eligibility criteria to enrol in this program, we’ll also acquaint you with the CFA exam, the fees and more. 

Eligibility Criteria 

The eligibility criteria for the CFA program is as follows:

  1. You should have completed an undergraduate or bachelor’s degree of three consecutive years before you apply for the CFA program
  2. You should  hold an international passport 
  3. You should have acquired around 4,000 hours of work experience within the span of three years (36 months). You are also allowed to pursue a combination of undergraduate degree and work experience at the same time. Although it is important to note that in this scenario the undergraduate degree or higher studies count for 1,000 hours. 
  4. Internships are considered as work experience if and only it is paid. 
  5. You must reside in a country where the CFA programme is offered. Some countries where the CFA program is not offered include Syria, Ukraine, North Korea, and Cuba.

If you happen to complete the CFA program successfully, you are awarded with the CFA charter title. To qualify as a CFA charter holder, there are some criteria that you must meet in order to be eligible. The eligibility criteria for CFA charter holder are as follows:

  1. You are required to clear all three levels of the CFA exam. 
  2. You are to procure all the necessary hours of work experience.
  3. You are required to register as a member at the CFA institute.
  4. You are required to provide additional reference letters from professionals to validate your membership at CFA institute. 
  5. You must adhere to the CFA institute’s professional code of conduct and ethics.

CFA Exam

The CFA exam is a three- tiered exam. The duration of each exam conducted at each tier is around six hours. We have listed the three tiers, including what each tier entails. 

Tier Eligibility  Duration  No. of questions  Topics included 
First tier  Enrollment into CFA program 4 hours 30 minutes  180  Financial reporting & analysis, Corporate finance,Economics, Alternative investments, Fixed incomes, Equity investments, Derivatives and Portfolio management 
Second tier  Clear the first tier exam  4 hours 30 minutes  88  Same as above
Third tier  Clear the second tier exam 4 hours 30 minutes  50 + 1 essay question  Same as above

The first tier exam consists of standard multiple-choice questions, whereas the second and third tier exams consist of multiple-choice questions wherein each MCQ is accompanied by a vignette. A vignette refers to a set of data presented as an image or description, you are to answer the question based on your understanding of the vignette. 

The third tier exam has an additional essay question along with multiple-choice questions. The curriculum of all the three tiers of the CFA exam remain intact. This could be beneficial to you as once you are familiar with the fundamental concepts, all you need to do is revise for the next two tiers. 

CFA Program Costs

The total cost of the CFA program is approximately around 2,400 to 4,600 dollars. The enrollment fee, which is a one-time payment, costs 450 dollars. The registration costs, however,  vary based on when you choose to register. We have listed these registration costs below: 

Examination period  Early registration costs


Standard registration costs (SRC) Deadline 
November 2021 $700 $1000 ERC: 20 August 2020 to 4 May 2021 (closed)

SRC: 5 May 2021 to 20 July 2021

February 2022 $700 $1000 ERC: 13 May 2021 to 10 August 2021

SRC: 11 August 2021 to 1 November 2021

May 2022 $700 $1000 ERC: 20 July 2021 to 1 November 2021

SRC: 2 November 2021 to 1 February 2022

Please note, since the listed dates are far in the future, it is imperative you check the official website for any constant updates or changes.

CFA Scholarships 

Since pursuing a CFA program is an expensive affair, there are various scholarships you can avail to ease the financial burden. The scholarships offered by CFA institute are as follows: 

Scholarship  Eligible candidates  Costs covered 
Women’s scholarship  Women who wish to become CFA charter holders and meet all eligibility criteria for the CFA program Registration cost reduced to $350
Student’s scholarship Students pursuing a degree at an affiliated university  Registration cost reduced to $350
Access scholarship Students who cannot afford the registrations and program costs but meet all the eligibility criteria  Registration cost reduced to $250

Potential Salary 

Once you have completed your CFA program and have become CFA chart holder, you are likely to yield a high salary ranging from 5,00,000 to 8,00,000 rupees in India. This varies based on your professional title or job description. The CFA salary in India or rather the potential salaries for specific professional titles are as follows:

Professional title  Average salary in rupees*
Financial modelling  5,00,000
Financial analysis  6,30,000
Market research  6,50,000
Investment management  6,85,000
Portfolio management  8,00,000

*The salaries we have listed are approximate values.

We hope to have provided you with an exhaustive guide to the CFA program and how to acquire the title of CFA charter holder. If this field interests you, you can refer to the above mentioned points to get started. Good luck!


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