CFA Work Experience Calculator

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Becoming a CFA Charterholder requires more than completing the three levels of CFA exams. In addition to the right knowledge and skill to study and pass the CFA exams, you will also need to have relevant work experience in order to get your CFA charter. To be able to get your CFA charter, you will have to become a member of the CFA Institute and to be able to become one, it will be needed for you to have the relevant work experience.

Before and after March 3, 2021, the CFA work experience requirement for CFA Institute’s regular membership includes at least 4,000 hours of relevant investment-related work experience. Keep in mind that everything should be completed in a minimum of 3 years. It does not matter whether it is full time, part time or remote work arrangements that are completed before, during or after your CFA program. Everything can qualify.

Aside from becoming a member of CFA Institute, 4,000 hours of work experience is also one of the requirements to register for CFA Level 1. It is fine if it is not related to investment. Not only having a combination of 4,000 hours of work experience, you can also get higher education for more than a minimum of 3 sequential years. In addition, you can also assume 1,000 hours per year for higher education if applicable.

For your information, having a combination of 4,000 hours of work experience to register for CFA Level 1 is new. The rule has been only applied starting from March 3, 2021. Prior to this, the requirements 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.

When talking about CFA and work experience, you may be wondering if your work experience qualifies. It is worth noting that your work experience will be considered relevant for the regular membership of 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.

In fact, there are some people that are wondering whether a certain work experience is investment related. If you are one of these people, you should know that a work experience can be considered as an investment related if it evaluates or applies financial, economic and or statistical data as part of the investment decision-making process or if it supervises those who do such analysis or if it teaches others on how to analyze and apply the data.

How do you calculate your work experience for CFA? According to the official website of CFA Institute, your hours of work experience are based on the percentage of time that you spend every working week performing investment decision making activities. Then, it will be calculated for you based on the number of months that you have been working in every position.

Is there a calculator to calculate your work experience for CFA? There is a work experience assessment tool provided by CFA Institute. This one provides a guide to give you a better sense of the relevance of a work experience. Here is the link that will take you to such a tool: https://interactive.cfainstitute.org/work-experience-self-assessment.

In order to find out whether your work experience is likely to qualify for regular membership, there are a few questions that you 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. It should be noted that these questions are intended only as a guide. If you have more questions about your work experience, you are encouraged to call CFA Institute by calling +1 (434) 951-5499. This number is available from Sunday to Friday.

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