How do I earn my CFA?

If you’re interested in a job in the financial or investment markets you may want to consider getting a Chartered Financial Analyst certification, also known as a CFA.  Recognized by the CFA Institute, this credential is recognized around the world as a respected measurement of your skills. It’s also most often required by employers looking for senior level candidates in securities research, financial advisement, and investment management.

Why a CFA is a Valuable Credential in Financial Careers

Generally, earning an MBA is the first step to landing work in the highly lucrative careers of financial management. Most often, candidates who want to go after coveted positions as financial research analysts and portfolio managers need to earn the CFA first. This process can take several years, so it’s best to get started sooner than later.

To earn the CFA designation, there are specific steps you will need to take.

#1 – Prepare yourself while in college.

Because of a growing demand for CFAs, many colleges that offer business and financial graduate degrees are now offering CFA educational credits as part of their curriculum. Check with your local college to see what CFA credits you can earn while simultaneously earning your master’s degree.

#2 – Register to begin your self-study modules.

You will need to verify and meet the CFA Institute requirements to become a self-study student. Also pay your one time enrollment fee and registration fee for every exam that you will take.  Qualifications include being a graduate of a US bachelor’s degree or be enrolled in your last year of a bachelor’s degree program.  Alternatively you may be able to start studying for your CFA if you have the equivalent in qualified work experience.

#3 – Study and Pass the Exams

Earning the CFA means you will have to take 3 difficult, but mandatory 6-hour exams.  Most candidates usually plan about 200 to 250 hours in preparation and study time for each exam.  Exams are called Level I through Level III and they may contain essay questions and multiple choice questions, administered through a third-party testing center.  The results of your test scores never expire and you may take the exams more than once until you pass.

#4- Apply and Maintain Your CFA Institute Chartership

Once you have passed all 3 tests you can then apply to become a CFA Institute charterholder member.  This will require a review of your career and educational history to receive approval from the CFA Institute.  You wish to use the CFA certification after your name only once you are officially approved. Additionally, you’ll want to continue to maintain your CFA through continuing education credits throughout the life of your career in finance.

Some employers offer educational support to help you earn your CFA designation. This can be a great way to get more credentials under your belt.

If you are looking for financial analyst jobs in Michigan, contact Venteon today.

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