A CFA charter is one of the highest qualifications a finance professional can earn. While it takes quite a bit of prep, earning your CFA designation equips you with an impressive foundation of finance concepts. These include the basics of investment tools, valuing assets, portfolio management, and wealth planning. Each is vital to any finance career.
What Is a CFA Charterholder?
CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst. The charter is a professional credential bestowed by the CFA Institute on financial and investment professionals who have completed its program of study, passed all three levels of its examinations, and met other professional requirements. A successful candidate is awarded the “CFA charter” and becomes a “CFA charterholder”.
Typically, it takes between two and five years to complete the CFA Program and pass all three levels of examination. According to the CFA® Institute, there are more than 170,000 CFA charterholders worldwide.
Why Become a CFA Charterholder?
Completing the CFA Program exam prepares you with financial knowledge and analytical skills to succeed across many industry sectors. It also ensures you’ll stand out to top employers.
Here are a few reasons to consider earning your CFA:
- Better Job Prospects – Financial services companies are taking longer to fill positions, choosing to focus on candidates who mesh with their cultures. In this competitive environment, CFA charterholders have a great advantage with demonstrated expertise in investment management and financial analysis.
- Greater Job Stability – CFA charterholders are projected to remain in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand is expected to grow as technology grants financial analysts more access to data and high-quality learnings.
- Professional Credibility – According to Robert Half, the CFA charter is now the “gold standard” of Wall Street qualifications due to its rigor. It’s also a global designation — with charterholders in more than 160 markets worldwide — and carries weight with employers everywhere.
- Professional Freedom – With more job prospects, responsibilities, and skills, CFA charterholders have more flexibility to choose how and where they work.
What are the Benefits of Becoming a CFA?
While years of preparation may sound intimidating, the benefits of becoming a CFA charterholder are academic, professional, and financial.
Benefits of becoming a CFA include:
- Earning a Globally Recognized Professional Designation
- Access to More Career Paths
- The Chance to Earn a Higher Salary
- A Cost-Effective Certification
- Preparation for Real World Contributions