There are a variety of different designations and certifications financial professionals can pursue to boost their careers. The Chartered Financial Analyst designation is one of the most coveted due to its worldwide recognition and prestige. However, preparing for the exams requires a substantial investment of time and effort, so it is a good idea to consider the benefits before committing.

7 Reasons To Earn the CFA Charter

1. Career Opportunities

The CFA exams are tough. Less than half of the candidates who attempt the Level I exam will ultimately pass the CFA level 3 exam and receive their designation. However, the effort may be worth it, because being able to put the CFA charter on your resume can increase your access to career opportunities. Hiring managers know how much time and effort it takes to obtain this designation and having done so says something about both your level of expertise and your willingness to see a difficult project through to completion. Possessing the charter also attests to your analytical ability and code of ethics.

Additionally, going through the process of obtaining the charter will increase your skills and knowledge in the areas of ethics, asset management, and investment analysis. Many investing institutions and insurance firms prefer hiring CFA charterholders to MBAs. The top employers of CFAs include some of the best-known firms in the industry, such as JP Morgan Chase, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Merrill Lynch, Ernst & Young, and Morgan Stanley.

2. Career Advancement

A CFA charter can not only help you get started in a career but advance in one. As a CFA Institute member, you will have access to a global network of more than 135,000 investment professionals. The networking opportunities you gain can be a significant asset when it comes to finding and obtaining opportunities to advance. The CFA coursework also helps prepare you for upper-level jobs, such as risk manager, portfolio manager, or research analyst. About seven percent of CFA charterholders move on to become chief-level executives.

3. Real-World Expertise

Obtaining the CFA designation is an opportunity to increase your analytical skills and expertise in economics, financial reporting, quantitative methods, portfolio management, and investments analysis. Broadening your knowledge and skills in these areas isn't just valuable for passing the CFA exams. It can also help you in your career.

4. Cost-Effective Designation

Obtaining an MBA can cost more than $100,000. By comparison, pursuing your CFA charter usually costs between $2,400 and $12,000, depending on which study materials you buy and when you register. Additionally, you can pursue the CFA designation while working a full-time job.

5. Global Recognition

The CFA charter is recognized by universities, regulators, and certification programs in more than 30 countries and territories. This provides you with greater flexibility to pursue job opportunities around the world.

6. Increased Compensation

According to research, CFA candidates increased their compensation by 6% after passing the Level I exam, 23% after passing Level II, and 39% after passing Level 3. If boosting your income is one of your career goals, the CFA designation may be a worthwhile investment.

7. Prestige

The CFA designation is the most prestigious destination in the finance and investment industries. The CFA has its greatest value for people working in pension funds, portfolio management, private banking, and hedge funds. However, it can also be worthwhile for non-finance professionals, such as auditors, lawyers, accountants, and senior managers who work closely with financial professionals and wish to broaden their knowledge base.

Obtaining the CFA designation is not an easy path, but for many finance professionals, the benefits make the investment of time and money worth it. If you hope to ascend to the upper ranks in your finance career, a CFA charter may help you achieve your goal.

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