Become a Charterholder

Become a CFA Charterholder

Why Enter the Program?

The CFA Program is a graduate-level, self-study curriculum and examination program for investment specialists?especially securities analysts, money managers and investment advisors. Established in 1962, the CFA Program sets the global standard for investment knowledge, standards and ethics. Earning the credential can serve as a ?passport? to entry or advancement within the profession or to work in other countries. It tells clients, employers and colleagues that the charterholder has mastered a rigorous curriculum covering a broad range of investment topics and is committed to the highest ethical standards in the profession. Read Why Select a CFA Charterholder.


The CFA Program is a postgraduate program. The readings assigned in the study program and the questions on the CFA examinations are geared toward individuals who are prepared to deal with ?masters? level course work. No specific prerequisite courses of study are prescribed for enrolling in the CFA Program, but applicants should be aware that assigned readings in many topic areas are beyond a basic, introductory level.

Basic Exam Entrance Requirements

To register in the CFA Program, an applicant must:

  1. Have a US bachelor?s degree or comparable non-US degree. The degree requirement is self-reporting. An applicant must receive a bachelor?s degree no later than 31 December of the current examination year to qualify for entrance into the CFA Program.
  2. If an applicant does not have a degree, qualified professional work experience totaling at least four years may be acceptable. Eligible professional experience for entrance to the program instead of a degree does not have to be investment related. Summer, part-time, and internship positions do not qualify. Employment dates (month and year) and a detailed description of duties for all current and previous positions must be included with the Registration & Enrollment Form. An applicant may also apply for entrance to the program with a combination of college/university and professional work experience that totals at least four years. (The four-year total must be accrued by the application date.) Details must be included with the Registration & Enrollment Form.
  3. If a student does not meet the degree requirement by 31 December of the examination year, his or her candidacy will be cancelled, examination results will be voided, no refund of submitted registration and enrollment fees will be issued, and he or she will need to register again and pay all applicable fees to re-enter the program.
  4. Complete, sign, and return the Registration & Enrollment Form, including the Professional Conduct Inquiry and Candidate Responsibility Statement located on the back of the form.
  5. Pay the required fees.

Requirements to be Awarded the CFA Charter

To be awarded the CFA charter, a candidate must:

  1. Sequentially pass the Level I, Level II, and Level III examinations;
  2. Have at least four years of acceptable professional experience working in the investment decision-making process;
  3. Join CFA Institute as a member. As part of the application for CFA Institute membership, a candidate must:
    • Provide current completed sponsor forms;
    • Sign and complete the Professional Conduct Statement;
    • Sign and agree to comply with the terms of the Member?s Agreement; and
    • Exhibit a high degree of ethical and professional conduct.
  4. Apply concurrently for membership in a local CFA Institute Society of your choice. Your active membership in a local CFA Institute Society is an important part of continued advancement in your profession.

Learn more about CFA Institute?s CFA Charter requirements

Maintaining the Charter

Once a candidate becomes a CFA charterholder, he or she must comply with CFA Institute?s Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. In addition, CFA charterholders must annually submit a Professional Conduct Statement and pay their membership dues. Failure to comply with CFA Institute?s conditions, requirements, policies and procedures can result in disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or revocation of the right to use the CFA designation.

View CFA Institute?s Professional Conduct Program