CFA Exam Registration Deadlines & Fees
Similar to registering for the CHP or CAIA designations, when considering CFA registration, one must consider many different aspects that preparing for and taking the CFA examination will entail. The top five considerations one must research are; do I have the necessary time to take this exam; do I have the necessary dedication to complete and pass each Level of the examination; what will be the impact of the examination on my career; is there a better designation to obtain than the CFA for my career; can I afford the CFA examination.
When first pondering if CFA registration is appropriate, time should be the major consideration. To take all three Levels of the CFA examination takes the average test taker over 3 years! Most candidates also fail one section of the CFA examination before the program is completed. That is a big investment of time and energy.
The CFA institute recommends that candidates spend a minimum of 250 hours of study per exam. So over the entire course of study, a test taker can plan to spend more than 750 hours of study. That is equal to studying non-stop for over a month straight. One must evaluate if they are going to be able to balance their current job, social life, and studying for the CFA examination as well.
Another consideration to CFA registration is whether it will have a large impact on one’s career. A financial advisor may not find CFA registration and designation that worthwhile. On the other hand, a financial analyst may find the designation invaluable. This is based entirely on one’s career and what they would like to achieve throughout it.
This leads to another question when considering CFA registration; is there a better or more suitable designation one should obtain. Someone wanting to enter the hedge fund industry as a position other than analyst would be better suited taking the CHP (Certified Hedge Fund Professional). One contemplating entering a career based in alternative investments may wish to pursue the CAIA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst).
One of the last things one should consider before CFA registration would be the overall cost. The CFA costs $990 per exam for early registration totaling $2970. When you add in the cost of study courses, supplemental books, and review notes you are looking at around $5000 to $6000 in overall cost. The CAIA costs $1,150 for the first exam and $750 for the second. With books and study material, you are looking at around $4,000. The CHP has a $199 entrance fee and then costs $499 for each exam (totaling $1,197). With books and study material, the total cost is a little more than $2,000. Obviously the cost of CFA registration compared to the other designations is quite significant.
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