CFA Work Experience 4,000 Hours

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Work experience of 4,000 hours is one of the requirements for the CFA program enrollment criteria when registering for Level 1 and for CFA Institute’s regular membership. While it has always been like this for the CFA Institute’s regular membership, it is considered as a new thing for registering for CFA level 1. Starting from March 3, 2021, the requirements for registering for CFA Level 1 includes having a combination of 4,000 hours of work experience, which can be non-investment related, and or higher education more than a minimum of 3 sequential years. Besides, you can also assume 1,000 hours per year for higher education if applicable.

What about prior March 3, 2021? In the past, the requirements to register for CFA Level 1 only included having a bachelor’s degree or equivalent or being a final year university student or having a combination of professional work experience, which can be non-investment related, and education totaling 4 years.

Once again, 4,000 hours of work experience is one of the requirements to register for CFA Level 1 and to become a member of CFA Institute. However, there is a difference. To register for CFA Level 1, these work experience can be non-investment related. Meanwhile, to become a member of CFA Institute, these work experiences should be qualified and relevant. Not only that, they should be completed in a minimum of 3 years. Full-time, part-time or remote work arrangements do not really matter as all of them can qualify, including the ones that are completed before, during or after your CFA program.

Talking about CFA and work experience, you may be wondering if your work experience qualifies. You can tell that your work experience is relevant for the regular membership of the CFA Institute if it directly relates to the investment decision-making process or is producing a work product that informs or adds value to that investment decision-making process; it is accrued before, during or after participation of the CFA program; it is properly described in your membership application; and it is supported by your references.

Apart from that, you may also have a hard time deciding whether a certain work experience is considered as investment-related. If it is the case, you should remember that a work experience is considered as investment-related if it involves evaluating or applying financial, economics, and or statistical data as part of the investment decision-making process or supervising those who do such analysis or teaching others the way to analyze and apply the data.

If it is still hard for you to decide if your work experience can qualify for the regular membership of the CFA Institute, you are advised to use the work experience assessment tool provided by CFA Institute. Just go to https://interactive.cfainstitute.org/work-experience-self-assessment to find such a tool. This tool is really useful to give you a better sense of the relevance of a work experience.

There are a total of 10 questions that you will have to answer, as follows:

  1. Do you construct or rebalance client portfolio, prepare financial models, or perform/evaluate independent analysis leading to an investment decision?
  • Yes                            ● No
  1. Do you make investment decisions based on the application of finance, economic, or statistical data involving securities or similar investments held as part of an investment portfolio?
  • Yes                            ● No
  1. Do you determine capital structure and funding needs through equity, debt, and alternative investments, conduct long-range financial planning, evaluate financial fundamentals, analyze and value securities for public offerings or mergers and acquisitions, and/or make asset sales and capital investment decisions?
  • Yes                            ● No
  1. Do you conduct asset allocation analysis or apply investment knowledge to develop, analyze, and/or explain investment policy statements or strategies designed to achieve investor goals as part of the overall investment process?
  • Yes                            ● No
  1. Are you engaged in investment/financial advising or planning for corporations, institutions, or individuals (other than yourself or your family)?
  • Yes                            ● No
  1. Do you supervise employees who evaluate or apply financial, economic, and/or statistical data as part of the investment decision-making process?
  • Yes                            ● No
  1. Do you research or develop tools, models, strategies, and/or communications that assist portfolio managers and traders with investment decision and risk management?
  • Yes                            ● No
  1. Do you oversee legal/regulatory compliance matters in the investment profession, perform due diligence, and/or ensure that investment firms adhere to applicable laws, regulations, and professional standards of practice?
  • Yes                            ● No
  1. Are you a full-time professor or instructor teaching finance-related courses and/or CFA Program curriculum, developing educational content, and engaging in research to advance the understanding of investment practice and theory?
  • Yes                            ● No
  1. Do you design and implement software solutions for people, processes, and technology that directly drive investment decisions (i.e., software and/or platforms that are used to build financial models, construct, manage, and analyze portfolios, analyze risk and return)?
  • Yes                            ● No

If you answer yes to all the questions mentioned above, your work experience is likely to qualify for regular membership. If it is the case then you are suggested to apply.

As mentioned earlier, the work experience assessment tool provided by the CFA Institute only provides a guide to give you a better sense of the relevance of a work experience. You should bear in mind that there is no guarantee that you will be accepted for membership as it clearly depends on the work description in your membership application. Plus, it will also depend on your reference support.

That’s about 4,000 hours of CFA work experience. If you have some questions, first of all, you are recommended to go to the click Contact Us menu found on the official website of CFA Institute. On the Customer Support page, you will be able to find the answers to the frequently asked questions, program registration, the CFA exam, and CFA Institute membership. If you fail to find the answer that you are looking for, you can try to call them at +1 (434) 951-5499.

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