Chartered Financial Analyst, in short CFA is one of the most coveted certifications which is meant for professionals looking for a job in CORE finance domains. The Core Finance domains include Portfolio Management, Valuation, Corporate Finance, Equity Research and Investment Banking.

All the above are also known as High End or Elite Finance Job roles.

What is CFA (Full Form)

CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst, is a highly respected certification course centered around the field of Finance. It is administered by the CFA Institute based in the US and is aimed at individuals who want to advance their careers in finance.

This certification is specifically designed for people who want to boost their knowledge and skills in finance, with the goal of earning a valuable certificate that can open doors to great career opportunities. The CFA designation is held in high esteem within the finance industry and is sought after by professionals aiming to work with prestigious companies like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, McKinsey, and Merrill Lynch, among others.

The CFA course is divided into three levels:
Level 1 – Exams are available twice a year, in June and December.
Level 2 – Exams are held once a year, specifically in June.
Level 3 – Exams are held once a year, specifically in June.

CFA Course Eligibility Criteria

To enroll in the CFA Coaching Program and register for your first Level I exam, you must have an international travel passport and one of the following:

  • Undergraduate education: The candidate must have a bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree or be in the final year of your bachelor’s degree program; or
  • Work experience: Four years of professional work experience (does not have to be investment related); or
  • A combination of professional work experience and education that totals at least four years (part-time positions do not qualify, and the four-year total must be accrued prior to enrollment).


Following are the Major Profiles that you can aim for, after getting the Charter

  • Portfolio Manager – A Portfolio manager would manage and invest the funds of the client (Both individuals or entities) in a way to generate a required rate of return, keeping in mind the risk appetite of the client.
  • Equity Research Analyst – As the name specifies, an Equity research analyst conducts research on Industry specific Equity stocks and determines if they are worth investing in, by projecting their future values.
  • Mergers and Acquisition Analyst – As the name suggests, a Mergers and Acquisition analyst (M&A analyst) plays a role when there is a Merger of two companies, or when there is an acquisition
  • Credit Analyst – As the name specifies, a credit analyst is analyses the credit worthiness of an individual or an organization. In effect, he determines whether to extend credit to a particular entity or not.

CFA Curriculum (Subjects & Updated Syllabus)

Given below is the detailed breakup of the syllabus for CFA Exam, along with weights (Percentage) assigned to each topic.

For Level 1 and Level 2 exams, there are 10 subjects covered, and the questions are in a multiple-choice format. Level 3 exams, on the other hand, focus mainly on Portfolio management and consist of 7 subjects. The morning session of Level 3 involves Constructed Response questions, while the afternoon session is in multiple-choice format.

On average, candidates are expected to dedicate around 300 hours of study for each level, although the actual preparation time may vary based on individual circumstances. Among the three levels, CFA Level 2 exams are widely recognized as the most challenging.

Topics Level I Level II Level II
Ethical and Professional Standards 15% 10-15% 10-15%
Quantitative Methods 10% 5-10% 0%
Economics 10% 5-10% 0%
Financial Reporting and Analysis 15% 10-15% 0%
Corporate Finance 10% 5-10% 0%
Portfolio Management 6% 5-15% 40-55%
Equity Investments 11% 10-15% 10-15%
Fixed Income Investments 11% 10-15% 10-15%
Derivatives 6% 5-10% 5-10%
Alternative Investments 6% 5-10% 5-10%

CFA Exam Dates

The exams consist of two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, both conducted on the same day.

Particulars Level I Level II Level III
May 18 – 24 May 25 May – 1 June 25 May – 1 June
August 13 – 30 August 31 August – 4 September 1 – 8 September
November 16 – 22 November 26 – 30 November 23 – 25 November


Particulars Level I Level II Level III
Format 100% MCQ 100% MCQ 50% item set, 50% MCQ
No. of question 240 MCQ 120 MCQ 10 item set 60 MCQ
Topic focus Investment tools Asset valuation Portfolio management
Duration Two exams on same day of three hours each Two exams on same day of three hours each Two exams on same day of three hours each

Exam Center Locations

244 Countires across the globe – Including Major countries such as India, USA, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada etc.

Check out the test locations in your country on the official website of CFA institute


At present, following scholarships are offered by CFA Institute:

  • Access Scholarship: For those who may be unable to afford the full price for the CFA Program enrollment and exam registration.
  • Women’s Scholarship: For women who do not qualify for other scholarships and have not yet registered for their next exam.
  • Student Scholarship: For students who attend one of our Affiliated Universities.
  • Professor Scholarship: For full-time college or university professor.
  • Regulator Scholarship: For full-time, qualified employees of non-profit entities.
  • Media Scholarship: For full time employees of media organizations.


Salary of a CFA Charterholder Varies across countries, Industries and Designations. The Average Salary of a CFA charterholder in Major countries is as follows –

  • India – Rs 914K
  • United States – $89K
  • United kingdom – £49,355
  • Singapore – S$98K
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE) – AED 207K

Source : Payscale


What is the Salary of a CFA?

Salary of a CFA Charterholder Varies across countries, Industries and Designations. According to Payscale, the Average Salary of a CFA Charterholder is $89,000 in US and Rs.9,14,000 in India.

What are the Job opportunities after CFA?

The CFA charterholders majorly work in profiles such as Credit Analysis, Equity Research, Mergers and Acquisitions, Portfolio Management etc.

How to get the CFA charter?

A CFA Charter is offered by the CFA Institute to a candidate who has successfully passed all the three levels of CFA exam, and has at least four years of professional investment experience.

What is the fees for CFA exam?

Initial enrollment fees for CFA Exam is $450 USD. The additional fees for each Level of CFA is $700 USD for Early Registration, $1,000 USD for Standard Registration and $1,450 USD for Late Registration.

What is better CFA or ACCA?

• Focus: ACCA is more focused on accountancy and finance, while CFA is centered around portfolio management and related areas like equity research, fixed income research, and economics.

• Career Goals: The decision between ACCA and CFA should be based on your long-term career goals.

• Suitability: If you envision yourself enjoying tasks such as preparing accounts, implementing internal controls, and leading finance and accounting divisions in large corporations, ACCA might be the better fit for you.
On the other hand, if you are more interested in analyzing financial and operational data from various companies and identifying investment opportunities in global equity and fixed income markets, then CFA might be the right choice for you.

• Syllabus: To gain a clearer understanding of each qualification, take some time to review the syllabus guidelines for ACCA’s skills module and CFA’s level one.

• Job Roles: Research the potential job roles that each qualification can open up to help clarify your long-term professional objectives.

• Difficulty Level: Keep in mind that CFA is generally considered more challenging than ACCA and requires a higher level of commitment.

• Personal Alignment: Ultimately, choose the path that aligns with your passions and aspirations.

We have a complete article where we have provided a detailed comparison between CFA and ACCA course, students can refer to it for understand which one is more suitable for their career growth.