CFA Full Form, Course Duration, Eligibility & Free Details: Can You Do CFA After 12th?

Last updated on July 14th, 2024 at 03:35 pm

cfa full form

CFA full form stands for Chartered financial analyst(CFA), a globally recognised investment finance qualification from the United States. It is the world’s largest investment professional qualification with around 2.35 lac charter holders world wide in more than 185 countries.

It is one of the most prestigious investment specialisations in the world. If you ask me why I pursued it? Then the answer would be knowledge, and that’s the truth. So, Let’s start discussing whether you should pursue this or not.

CFA Full form,CFA LEVEL 1 fees & CFA course full details

CFA Course Fees in India:chartered financial analyst course fees

In this section, I will discuss the various updated changes in fees for attempts, which will happen in 2022.

CFA level 1 Fees in Indian Currency for the Year 2022

CFA level one registration is available for four exams in a year with the exam fee structure below for the years 2022 and 2023.

Since many students in India want to get a feel of what the fees in Indian rupees look like, we created a converted table of this information.

For the Year 2022  Early RegistrationFees in USDFees in INRCFA Registration Fee$450 ₹ 33,750     Exam fee$700 ₹ 52500            Total$1,150 ₹ 86,250Late Registration  CFA Registration Fee$450 ₹ 33,750Exam fee$1,000 ₹  75,000Total$1,450 ₹ 108750

Jobs After CFA Video

  • USD/INR rate assumed at INR 75

CFA LEVEL 1 Fees India for Year 2023

CFA fees as published by the CFA institute, are due to increase from February 2023 exams.

For the Year 2022  Early RegistrationFees in USDFees in INRTime Enrollment fee$450 ₹ 33,750     Exam fee$900 ₹ 67500           Total$1350 ₹ 101250Late Registration  Time Enrollment fee$450 ₹ 33,750Exam fee$1200 ₹  90000Total$1650 ₹ 123750

Jobs After CFA Video

*The new fees will be applicable for the CFA exam from Feb 2023.

*The exam fee increases by $200 irrespective of the time of registration

CFA Total Fees In India

So in summary if I were to calculate the total cost of cfa in india then following would be the brief calculation. I will also give the conversion for cfa fees in Indian rupees to conclude the cfa fee structure in India.

CFA LEVEL 1 exam

Let me consider the present year 2024 and we are planning for feb 2025 level 1 exam window. Now we know there are two parts to the CFA Exam fees in India;

CFA Exam cost in india
  • Exam registration fees which is around $640
  • One time registration fees which is $350

So now the total cfa cost in India for level 1 would be $990, provided that we are completing the registrations before 9th July 2024.

Now let me convert this in INR. As on 22nd June 2024, the USD to INR rate is 83.56 Rupees for one dollar. So the cfa fees in rupees is 83.56 x 990= Rs 82754.4.

Now after this I am going to assume that at least at level 1 you will opt for some kind of preparation. On an average cfa training cost should be INR 40,000 per level. So now the CFA total cost in India would be Rs 82754 + Rs 40000= Rs 122724( CFA fees in Inr)

CFA eligibility criteria in india

The CFA program has no domain-specific eligibility; anyone from any background, whether science, engineering, commerce, or maths, can apply. 

However, the eligibility is based on your stage of education or work experience.Hence the CFA eligibility in India basically boils down to being in the final year of graduation.

For Under Graduates

  • Bachelor’s Degree or Final year of any graduation.
  • Your final graduation exam dates should be 11 months away.

For Non-Graduates

Even if you don’t have any formal graduation, then you can still apply for the CFA level one exam. The minimum work experience criteria are calculated as follows;

  • 4000 hrs of professional work experience, which needs to be acquired in a minimum of 3 or above years.
  • The experience doesn’t have to be investment-related.
  • Internships or article ships do not qualify as work experience.

Registration Process for CFA

If you want to register for the CFA exams, then you need first to visit:

  1. Create an account with the CFA institute
  2. Hold a Valid International passport
  3. Select and add your education details
  4. Toggle your attempt at the CFA exam
  5. Pay the fees using a credit card

There is no alternate document to a passport which is accepted.

Hence if you are planning to register for the exam, it is essential to apply for a passport at least three months in advance.

Also, note that the CFA exam is conducted in English

CFA Course Full Form

CFA which stands for chartered financial analyst is a globally recognised three-level exam, clearing which a person can apply for a charter. The three exam levels and needs to be given in the sequential order of levels one, two and three.

Also, for the person to qualify as a charter holder, the candidate has to prove a minimum of four years of experience in investments. CFA institute was officially formed in 1947 as a non-profit organisation initially called the ‘ National Federation of Financial analysts societies’. So basically, the qualification took birth from societies formed for analysts in the U.S.

Chartered financial analyst course

  • 1947: investment societies of Boston, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia formed the National Federation of Financial analysts
  • 1959:NFAS board changes the name to ‘ Institute of Financial analysts
  • 1961: NFAS changed the name back to ‘Financial analysts Federation.’
  • 1962: Charted Financial Analyst designation was officially formed with its first code of conduct.
  • 1963:The first 283 candidates gave the exam, and 268 charters were awarded

It’s also popularly known in India as the U.S- CFA because there used to be a CFA program also offered by ICFAI, which is now closed. Globally there are around 200,000 CFA charterholders, making CFA one of the most prestigious qualifications to pursue. My observation of CFA growth from the year 2012 has been astonishing. India ranks 3rd in the number of new candidates every year.

I have never come across a qualification which is researched and so relevant for the industry, even today in 2022. It’s not me being biased about CFA but look at the linear growth of CFA qualification below. While the Americas have been more or less stable, however, the growth is pumped from Asia.

So, don’t you get surprised by the popularity alone because the CFA program does command recruitment respect in India?

Is CFA for you?

Any person who wishes to make a career in Investment banking, Fund Management and core finance.

  • Who: If you are interested in developing expertise in investment analysis and management.
  • Alternate to MBA: Looking for a cost-effective qualification with the same edge.
  • Competitive Advantage: As a CFA candidate, you stand out based on knowledge
  • Global Recognition: Recognised in more than 200 countries

You need to clearly understand that CFA is an investment management focussed qualification, not a general management qualification.

Corporate Finance and Equity Investments

The CFA program’s curriculum includes significant coverage of corporate finance and equity investments. These subjects are integral to understanding the broader scope of financial analysis and investment management. Corporate finance focuses on the financial activities related to running a corporation, with an emphasis on maximizing shareholder value through long-term and short-term financial planning and the implementation of various strategies. Equity investments, on the other hand, involve the buying and holding of shares of stock on a stock market by individuals and firms in anticipation of income from dividends and capital gains as the value of the stock rises. Mastery of these areas provides CFA candidates with critical insights into financial decision-making and investment strategies, making them highly valuable in the finance industry.

CFA average salary

There are tons of opportunities for candidates after CFA overall. I am sharing representative salaries considering that you are a fresher when starting your level 1 preparation.

I have compiled a brief video in case you would like to watch it. Having said that, even with Level 1, if you already possess some relevant experience in equity research,wealth management or financial services then level 2 salaries can also apply. What I want you to understand here is that, although the start is small, eventually, you are at comparable salaries without losing many years.

CFA subjects

Below is a depiction of the CFA syllabus for all levels and the CFA level I syllabus. The major 10 subjects which remain same for all the three levels;

  • Ethical and professional standards, quants, Corporate finance, economics, fixed income, portfolio management and wealth planning. Then you have subjects related to financial markets include equity, derivatives, alternative investment.

CFA Weightage

Notice how the CFA syllabus progresses, with the content gradually moving you into portfolio management in level three, unlike programs like CFP. You might ask then why CFA level one itself gets you the job. Because the CFA level one syallbus has all the essential subjects, including financial reporting and analysis, Quants & economics.

Exam and Testing Pattern

In this section, I will discuss the exam pattern design of CFA exams in detail. More or less, what you need to understand is the difference between level 2 and level 3.

Source: CFA institute

Level 1

The exam duration is of a total of 4 hrs, with an optional 15-minute break in each session.

The CFA exam is now in CBT Format (Computer Based Exams), which means that the format is entirely Online in an examination centre.

CFA Exam has different exam formats for every level, which we will discuss below

Level 1- MCQ 180 Questions with three options

Example of Format

The MCQ format is categorized into two formats

  • Sentence completion: These are used to test your direct understanding of the curriculum

Sample Question Pattern

An analyst suspects that a company’s US GAAP financial statements may require adjustments because the company uses take-or-pay contracts.

The most likely effect of the appropriate adjustments would be to increase the companies:

  1. Return on assets.
  2. Debt-to-equity ratio.
  3. Interest coverage ratio.
  • Regular Question

An analyst suspects that a company’s US GAAP financial statements may require adjustments because the company uses take-or-pay contracts.

Which of the following is most likely to increase due to the appropriate adjustments to the company’s financial statements?

  1. Return on assets
  2. Debt-to-equity ratio
  3. Interest coverage ratio


The level 2 exam duration is 4 hrs in total, with an optional 15 minutes break. Also, the level 2 exams are conducted in the computer-based exam format.

  • Level 2 – Item Set -88 Questions
  • Item set means case study, on which questions are asked.
  • There are 88 such vignette-based questions.
  • You must remember that the questions might follow a random structure.


Level 3- Item set & Essay

The exam has two sessions: 4 Hrs in total

  • First, session-Essay based – constructive response.
  • Second session session-8–11 vignette-based – 44 questions in total

CFA exam schedule 2021 & 2022

This is how the CFA exams are conducted during any given year.

CFA levelsFebMayAugNovLevel 1YesYesYesYesLevel 2YesNoYesYesLevel 3NoYesYesNo

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Exam Centers in India

CFA Online CBT Exams are now availble in the below-mentioned cities, which is a significant increase compared to the physical paper testing pattern.

  1. Ahmedabad
  2. Bangalore
  3. Bhopal
  4. Kolkata
  5. Chennai
  6. Hyderabad
  7. Indore
  8. Jaipur
  9. Lucknow
  10. Mumbai
  11. New Delhi
  12. Pune

source: CFA institute Exam centres

Pass Rates

Pass rates across levels

  • level 1 pass rate: 36% ( Pre covid)
  • CFA Level 2 pass rate:46%
  • level 3 Pass rate: 54%

The pass rates have drastically gone down during covid. This usually happens when the gross registration goes down too. Hence the current pass rate of 27% at Level 1 is not indicative of the exam becoming difficult.

The minimum passing score at CFA is not decided based on a pre-decided pass % target. The MPS get decides to post the exam after volunteers attempt the exam. Each volunteer attempts the exam and gives a rating (the probable average candidate score) for each question. Once that’s done, numerous such attempts are compiled, and the MPS gets released. This is the same reason why the CFA institute stresses that candidates should spend 300 hours at least for preparation. Check the historical pass rates of CFA

Relevance of CFA in India

CFA is as relevant in India as it is in the global arena because most of the investment management companies in India are based out of the U.S.Moreover, the top fund managers in India and also analysts hold the CFA designation, making the CFA program a popular recruitment anchor.

Market regulators like SEBI have been proactively working to promote the CFA designation. Most of the job descriptions will mention CFA as their preferred education requirement.

The future of CFA Designation

The future of CFA designation will depend on how the investment industry is shaped. Let’s try to answer: “Will Investment Management business requires managers, more so will they still need knowledge?”

The lead for this answer is: TechnologyUse of Technology: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and numerous big business honchos have heavily invested in technology. Platform-Based Research: Research on investment opportunities has rapidly changed from a plain vanilla offering to a research on-demand service. Sophisticated Research Models: Companies like BNY Mellon and MSCI offer risk management services to U.S clients. Job description: Technology-Based Investment Manager at MarcellusThe conclusion here is that CFA gives the candidate the knowledge base, which can’t be done away with even with technology.

Preparation Tips

The process is simple, and I will break this down into some easy-to-follow parts:

  • Start Early: Meaning decide your decision to pursue CFA at least nine months before the exam attempt.
  • Tuition provider: Shortlist several tuition providers and decide which one of them gives you the following
  • Practice: You need to practice a lot, and there has to be a plan for the same.
  • Summary Notes: You don’t need books; CFA institute provides its own curriculum, which is great and reliable for the long term.
  • Trained Trainers: You don’t want to learn CFA from an experienced trainer who hasn’t taught before.
  • Study Plan: Invest your time in planning your preparation; this exam is more on planning.

CFA Material- Free Ebook

Download a free copy of the CFA ebook and check if CFA is for you

CFA Course Duration

On an average it takes around 6 months to complete preparation for each level of CFA Exam. So considering the level one exam is conducted in

  • February:
  • May
  • August
  • November

You start level 1 in February then you can give level 2 in August and then level 3 in Feb or May. so on an average the fastest possible way of preparing for the cfa charter would be around 1.5 Years.


Go for it! Hopefully, you now understand why it’s called the Golden Standard. Send me your queries and questions.Always happy to assist, inspire & mentor everyone.


  • What is the cfa full form in commerce field?

CFA Exam full form is chartered financial analyst, is one of the oldest and most prestigious qualifications in investment finance.

  • Can I do CFA after 12th?

No, CFA LEVEL 1 can be attempted when your graduation is 24 months away from the date of registration. Although CFA institute never restricts anyone from giving the exam, but there are chances that your membership gets cancelled once you become the cfa charter holder.

  • What are the work experience requirement for CFA charter?

The work experience requirement for gaining the CFA designation is that once you finish the three levels of the program. Then you need to submit minimum 4 years of experience in the field of finance. Which should be recommended by two more existing CFA charter holders.

  • What are the new changes in CFA Program in the year 2023?

The CFA Institute introduced the Practical skills module. These are self contained courses of 10 to 15 hours which needs to be completed after the exam but before the results are declared.

  • What are the new pathways for CFA LEVEL iii for 2025 ?

• Starting with the 2025 exams, specialized pathways for private wealth and private markets will be introduced, in addition to the traditional portfolio management path.

• Each pathway will have a common core, but will focus on skills relevant to specific areas of interest in the industry.

• The rigor and exam difficulty will remain consistent across all pathways 

d qualification, not a general management qualification.