CFA Requirements

When you want to obtain certification as a Certified Financial Analyst you have to understand the CFA requirements set down by the CFA Institute for being able to enroll in the program. This requires extensive work and study and with three levels to study for and pass very difficult exams it is not something that you should enter into lightly. CFA certification does give you an elevated status in the financial world because you will be seen as an expert and have the salary that goes along with this reputation.

Entrance CFA Requirements

The normal CFA requirements for admission are:

  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree
  • Be fully aware of the professional and ethical criteria associated with CFA certification
  • Be proficient in spoken and written English
  • Hold an international passport

If you are in the final year of your degree program you can meet these requirements to start Level 1 of the CFA program if you have been work experience totaling four years.

CFA Requirements for Exams

CFA Exam requirements are spread over a three year period. Each year you take an exam for one level. You must pass each level before you can enroll in the program for the next level. Taking three years to complete the program is being very conservative because over half of those who write the exam fail it the first time they write it. This means that if you are not successful when you write the exam you will have to wait a year before you can take the exam again. For most students Level 1 is the hardest exam to pass.

You do have to pay the cost of writing the exam at every attempt so the more times you fail the higher the CFA exam cost becomes. It is best if you do take studying for the exam at each level very seriously. Each exam takes six hours to complete. The Level 1 and Level 2 exams are made up of 240 multiple choice questions in two three hour sections. The CFA requirements for the Level 3 exams require you to answer essay type questions and the topics are based on everything you have learned in the full program.

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