CFA Work Experience Requirements: A Clear Guide | Zell

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      CFA Work Experience Requirements: A Crystal Clear Guide

      A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is one of the highest professional designations offered by the CFA Institute that measures the competence, skills, and knowledge of Financial Analysts. However, a candidate must pass three exams to become a CFA charter holder, have four years of work experience, and follow the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. 

      Here is a complete guide on the CFA work experience requirements and how a candidate can be fully prepared to become a qualified CFA charter holder. 

      Does CFA Need Work Experience? 

      There are ample employment opportunities for a CFA aspirant in investment banking and portfolio management. However, it isn’t quite easy to get the CFA distinction. 

      Does CFA need work experience? The answer is yes, it does. In addition to passing all three exam levels, the candidate must also ensure that they have relevant work experience to qualify for this designation. Let’s find out how much work experience is required for CFA. 

      Recent Changes in the CFA Work Experience Requirements

      Before March 3 2021, the CFA Institute had some enrollment criteria for the CFA Level 1 exam, which were slightly modified after the date mentioned above. 

      Let’s look at the CFA job experience requirements before March 3, 2021.

      CFA Level 1 enrollment requirements

      Before 3 March 2021

      • A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent or being in the final year of a reputed university


      • Four years of education and professional experience, which may not be related to investment. 
      • Being involved in full-time internships/ job roles (excluding part-time work). 

      From 3 March 2021

      The CFA work experience requirement change includes:

      • Having 4000 hours of work experience (which may not be investment related) and/or higher education over three consecutive years. 
      • Assuming 1000 hours each year for higher education if it is applicable. 

      Learn more about CFA Level 1 Course: Exam Dates, Fees, Syllabus & Books

      CFA Level 2 Requirements 

      Apart from the academic qualifications, which include earning a Bachelor’s degree from a reputed university or an equivalent and having a minimum of 4 years of work experience, the candidate needs to pass the CFA Level 1 exam. 

      Learn more about CFA Level 2: Course Details, Syllabus, Salary, Eligibility Criteria

      CFA work experience requirements for the CFA Institute’s regular membership

      The CFA work experience requirements for regular membership of the CFA Institute were updated on July 1 2020. These requirements include the following:

      • 4000 hours of investment-related professional experience which must be completed within three years (36 months) at least. 
      • Professional experience can include remote work or part-time arrangements during or even after completing the CFA programme. 

      This CFA work experience requirement change promoted more inclusion of part-time professionals who could address shifts in the global investment employment patterns.  

      The Current CFA Job Experience Requirements 

      The candidate needs 2-3 professional references and relevant professional experience to earn this prestigious designation. Let’s explore the current CFA work experience requirements a candidate needs to become a CFA charter holder:

      • A minimum of 4000 hours of relevant work experience must be completed within three years. This does not mean that the candidate has to work continuously; these hours of professional experience can be taken from any current or previous employment position. 
      • Relevant work experience should be related to the investment decision-making process or creating a product of work that informs and adds some value to that process.
      • Work experience can be earned through any arrangement, including full-time, part-time and remote work before, during or even after the course completion.

      Learn more about CFA Scope and Job Opportunities in 2022: Top Recruiting Sectors

      How Does Work Experience Qualify One for the CFA Exam?

      To ensure that their work experience is relevant for the regular membership of the CFA Institute, the candidate needs to:

      • Look for job profiles that relate to the decision-making process of investment
      • Produce work products that inform or add a specific value to that process
      • Ensure that the work experience (full-time, part-time or even remote work experience) is accrued either before, during, or even after registering for the CFA programme
      • Ensure that the work experience is accurately described in membership application
      • Ensure that professional references support their work experience. 

      To evaluate whether the candidate has investment-related work experience, they need to ensure that:

      • Their work experience evaluates or applies economic, financial and statistical data in the investment decision-making process; or
      • Supervise the ones who have done such analysis; or
      • Teach others how to analyse or apply such data.

      How Can a Candidate Find Job Roles That Meet the CFA Work Experience Requirements?

      To understand how one’s work experience affects or contributes to the decision-making process of investment, let’s look at the following list of examples:

      • Corporate Finance: Preparing financial models on the data which is publicly available to derive the valuation metrics. 
      • Actuary: Performing a yearly actuarial valuation process of the funded status of a DB (definite benefit) scheme. 
      • Accounting: Preparing financial statements and evaluating a potential return on corporate project investments. 

      Wrapping Up

      The CFA designation is recognised globally as a mark of excellence in the financial analysis and investment management professions. However, while waiting for the designation, one can apply for affiliate membership in the CFA Institute with a ‘charter pending’ status. The candidate, thus, can enjoy all kinds of benefits of that membership but cannot vote.

      Zell Educations offers all three levels of the CFA course to help a CFA aspirant have a successful career in investment banking, portfolio management, credit fund analysis, hedge fund management and risk analysis. Zell employs innovative learning strategies and skill upgradation techniques to extend complete placement assistance and guidance to its students. 


      Do you need work experience for CFA Level 1?
      Yes, you need 4000 hours of work experience (may not be investment related) and/or higher education over three consecutive years.

      How do I get my CFA 4 years of experience?
      You need four years of relevant work experience which you can gain either before, during or after passing the CFA exam.

      Does an internship count as work experience for CFA?
      A paid and full-time internship counts as work experience for CFA.

      Can CFA Level 1 get you a job?
      Since CFA is a highly competitive exam, several companies hire professionals who have completed the first level of this exam. You can explore job opportunities in financial analysis, valuation, equity operations, data evaluation, and business analysis after passing the CFA Level 1 exam.



      Partham Barot is an ACCA-certified professional. showcasing his expertise in finance and accountancy. he’s revolutionising education by focusing on practical, real-world skills. Partham’s achievements underscore his commitment to elevating educational standards and empowering the next generation of professionals.

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