Path Towards Becoming a CFA® Charterholder

Part One | Logistics

Meet one of the following three requirements:

  • Undergraduate Education: a bachelor's (or equivalent) degree (to sit for Level I,II,or III). May be in the final year of your bachelor's degree program to sit for Level I only
  • Work Experience: four years of cumulative work experience (must be full-time; need NOT be investment related)
  • Combination: mixture of professional work experience and education (part-time excluded; four years must be accumulated prior to enrollment).

Upon meeting one the three qualification requirements, candidates may enroll into the CFA® Program.

A one-time enrollment fee of $450 USD must be paid prior to registering for the Level I.

In the event a candidate fails their first time taking Level I, they shouldn't expect to repay the one-time enrollment fee. The $450 USD fee, once again, is one-time.

Candidates may sit for Level I twice a year: in June and December. Level II and III, however, only come around once per year (in June).

Candidates shall have a valid international passport at time of registration, and must make sure they have it with them on the day of the exam (non-expired passport). Candidates will select an appropriate venue that is most convenient to them when registering for the exam.

Finally, candidates must undergo a professional conduct questionnaire and agree to the CFA® Institutes' Candidate Agreement.

Part Two | Preparation

The CFA® Institute estimates that candidates should conduct at minimum, ~250 of hours of independent study to pass the exam. In reality, 2015 figures showed an average preparation time of ~310 hours across each level.

The Holistic Resolution aims to keep your total preparation time between 200 - 250 hours per Level. We streamline the logistical process for you along with developing the most tailored and effective study plan possible.

We don't work in "small" classes; rather, each client commands 100% of our attention. We are your concierge when it comes to the pursual of the CFA® charter.

Review entails engraving concepts in the mind via problem solving, practice exams, timed test-runs, and targeted conceptualization. Further, acclimating the body for the stress that a grueling six hour, 250 multiple choice question exam brings is a determinant factor of success. Candidates need a month for review and mental/corporal preparation.

The Holistic Resolution offers an unparalleled service as part of our test-preparation services: mindfulness and wellness. Let us maximize your chances of passing with targeted methods to give you the edge you seek. Mental toughness and a properly fueled body often make the difference between passing or failing.

Arrive early at your assigned test-center. As mentioned in the review section, the exam is split into two three hour blocks.

Typically, candidates begin the check-in process in the morning at 8:00am. Doors close and announcements begin promptly at 8:30am. The timed session begins at 9:00am, and candidates are not admitted past 9:30am. The morning session ends at noon.

Candidates begin the check-in process for the afternoon session at 1:00pm. Doors close and announcements begin promptly at 1:30pm. The timed session begins at 2:00pm, and ends at 5:00pm. Candidates are not admitted past 2:30pm.

Part Three | CFA® Charter

Relevant Work Experience¹

The CFA® Institute mandates candidates accumulate at least 48 months of experience in "evaluating or applying financial, economic, and/or statistical data as part of the investment decision-making process; supervising persons who conduct such activities; or teaching such activities."

Pass Level I, II, & III

Candidates must pass all three levels of the CFA® Program prior to receiving their charter. However, a passing score for the Level I Exam is enough, in conjunction with a few other requirements, to apply for regular membership. Joining a local CFA® Society is highly encouraged by the CFA® Institute.

Gather References

The CFA® Institute requires all applicants to provide three professional references (two, in the case that of the two, one of the references is an existing member of the society you are applying to). References should be able to clearly articulate and comment on your work experience and professional character.

Combining All Three: Submitting the Membership Application

Let The Holistic Resolution guide you in your journey toward CFA® charterholder status. We take the stress out of the equation by keeping track of all of the moving variables that come with such an extensive and comprehensive process. Aside from guiding you in your conceptual preparation (passing Level I, II, and III), we seek to serve as your concierge in building the application; yet another process within the long and arduous journey toward CFA® charterholder status. We look forward to assisting you when it comes to managing references, keeping track of involvement at work (so as to streamline the descriptive aspect of the application process), and selecting an appropriate local society for application.


¹ For a position to qualify, at least 50% of your time should be spent directly involved in the investment decision-making process or producing a work product that informs or adds value to that process. Work must be full time and can be earned before, during, or after participation in the CFA® Program. Managing your own investments or the investments of your family or friends (without compensation) does not qualify.