CFA vs FRM: Which is Better? Salary and Difficulty Level

Students in finance who want to build a successful career, often get stuck between CFA and FRM. While both the courses are extremely popular in the field of finance, they can take you in diverse directions. The major difference between both these courses is the concepts you’ll be learning. While the Chartered Financial Analyst course is a more general course that gives you knowledge on investments, derivatives, fixed income, corporate finance and analysis, FRM or Financial Risk Management on the other hand is a rather niche course that equips you with risk management techniques. After completing your FRM course, you can choose to become a Financial Risk Manager, Chief Risk Officer or Investment Risk Manager. 

Needless to say, no matter which profession you choose in CFA and FRM, opportunities, growth and salary hikes will follow. However, if you are to choose any one course between the two courses, let’s understand the major differences between the two of them.

CFA vs FRM: Course details and future scope

Differentiators  CFA FRM
Organizing Body CFA Institute GARP: Global Association of Risk Professionals
Course Duration 2 to 3 years 1 to 2 years
Difficulty Level (passing percentage) CFA Level 1 22% – 49% 45% for Part I and 63% for Part II
Eligibility Criteria If you are in the final year of graduation, you can appear for the CFA level 1 examination. However, in certain cases, you may be eligible for CFA without graduation provided you have a minimum of 4 years of relevant work experience. An undergraduate in the final year of their degree can also apply for the FRM course. However, you need to clear your part 1 to appear for the part two examinations. Within the 5 years of your learning journey, you must also have 2 years of relevant work experience. 
Career Scope Job profiles you can explore

  • Hedge Fund Manager
  • Investment Banker
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Corporate Analyst
  • Financial Analyst
Job profiles you can explore

  • Risk Analyst
  • Risk Manager
  • Credit Risk Analyst
  • Market Risk Analyst
  • Regulatory Risk Analyst
Top Hiring Firms
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • HSBC
  • Morgan Stanley
  • CitiGroup
  • Morgan Stanley
  • PwC
  • ICBC
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Consulting Firms
  • Hedge Funds

CFA vs FRM Career Benefits and Compensation

While CFA is a broad course in the field of finance that covers everything, from investments to risk management. FRM is a rather specific course that enables you to analyze the pricing risks and infuse them in all financial decisions made by your firm. After the pandemic, the demand for both of these professionals is on the rise. While every company needs an investment expert to put their finances in the right places, they also require an FRM manager to ensure that their finances are safe and secure.

To understand which course would be better for you in the long term, it is important to have a detailed understanding of the benefits of each of these courses.

A Basic Difference in CFA and FRM Overview

Certified Financial Analyst Financial Risk Management
A career in the exciting field of investments Decision maker for various companies
Helps generate revenue for the firm Helps protect the revenue of the firm
Brings you a broad range of opportunities Brings you specific opportunities as per your skillset
Tough to clear, this profession is quite an in-demand Comparatively easier to clear 
High compensation with benefits  High compensation with more weightage
Pay range between INR 20,00,000 to 35,00,000 lpa Pay range between INR 20,00,000 to 30,00,000 lpa

The benefits of these finance courses are unmatched. Depending on your preference, you can choose to take any of these courses that will help you build a successful career. Now coming to the average salary in India, here’s a glimpse of the CFA Salary in India and FRM salary in India.

CFA vs FRM: Salary differences in India

CFA Salary in India 

CFA Salary


FRM Salary in India

FRM Salary


CFA VS FRM : Course Fees

CFA has a one time registration fees which is payable to the CFA Institute ie 450$. Then there is examination fees for CFA Level 1 which is anywhere between 700$ – 1000$, and for CFA Level 2 and CFA Level 3 is 700$

FRM has a one time enrollment fees which is 400$. After the enrollment fees as FRM has 2 parts each part has an exam fee ie FRM Part 1 and Part 2  exam fees is 400$ – 750$ depending on the date of paying the exam fee.

We hope that with this clear differentiation between these two courses, you’ve gotten a fair idea of which course you should choose for your future. While both these global certifications guarantee great opportunities in the US, UK, Singapore and China and other Asian countries, the future scope of a Chartered Financial Analyst is way more than that of a Financial Risk Manager. To become a qualified CFA you can start your journey right after graduation.

The Chartered Financial Analyst is a globally recognised qualification in the field of finance and investment. If you have recently completed your graduation or are appearing for your final semester, you may be eligible to become a CFA. Interested? We highly recommend checking out our Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) course.

Is part 1 of FRM covered in the CFA program?

Almost 55% of your FRM syllabus is covered in the three levels of your CFA studies. That’s why most students prefer taking up CFA exams and FRM together as studying for the dual certification becomes easier.

Does the CFA institute provide any exemptions for the CFA exam?

Unfortunately, there are no exemptions for CFA after CA. However, if you are a qualified CA, then it would be easier for you to clear your CFA examinations as 60% of your CA syllabus reflects CFA level 1.

Who earns more? CFA or FRM?

The average salary range of a CFA is quite similar to that of an FRM. However, since CFA as a career offers more growth opportunities, it’s possible for CFA’s to earn more with experience.

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