CFA exam cost

How Much Does CFA Exam Cost? [2024 Updated]

Passing the CFA exam is the dream of many people, however, many candidates hesitate to apply for this exam because of its hefty fees. Is CFA really expensive? In this article, we will cover information related to CFA exam costs as well as ways for you to minimize exam fees.

Updated at March 13, 2023

You can boost your financial profession in the future and get comprehensive financial understanding by earning your CFA certification – a coveted financial expert certification that every employee in the financial and investment sectors must aspire to. Nonetheless, many people are frequently concerned about the CFA exam cost. The majority of questions for beginners are addressed in the following article.

Take our free CFA level 1 mock test to ensure that you pass the exam the first time.

How Much Is A CFA Program?

There are 3 layers of CFA costs you’ll have to pay for the CFA exam:

  • One-time enrollment charge for first-timers (the new candidates of CFA Level 1 exam for example)
  • Registration expense for each CFA exam level or retake
  • Curriculum expense for CFA exam each level

CFA Enrollment Fee

This is the CFA one-time program enrollment charge of $450 once you apply for the Level 1 exam. You don’t get to pay once more for the CFA Level 2 Exam and CFA Level 3 Exam. So also, you don’t get to pass the enrollment expense for any CFA retakes either.

CFA Exam Registration Fees

This CFA enlistment expense is the same for all 3 CFA levels, but it changes depending on once you commit to the exam. It is necessary for you to apply at least 9 months before the process of attending the CFA exam date to urge the early discount.

CFA Curriculum Fee

To begin with, you should remember that the electronic adaptation of the official CFA Level 1 reading material, alluded to as the educational modules, is included in your CFA Level 1 enlistment. It implies that the cost of CFA ebooks is included in the exam charge. In other words, it is not required for you to purchase these ebooks unless you particularly need a printed CFA adaptation. In case students need to buy a hard copy lesson book (paper book), an additional 170 USD (including shipping fee).

CFA Exam Retake Fee

Similar to many other international exams, the CFA requires re-testers to pay a certain fee – which is usually not large. However, you still need to think carefully about the timing before deciding to register, because in case you want to reschedule, a fee of $250 is required.

NOTE: All expenses that appear are net of any VAT, GST (which stands for the Goods and Services Tax), or any other deals charge payable by the CFA candidate in their nation of home. Where CFA® Found is required to include deals charged at the nearby statutory rate, this will be included in the expenses that appeared amid the payment or checkout preparation process. For data around taxability related to online buys from CFA, it would be ideal if you visit the CFA Institute Tax Policy site.

How Much Does The CFA Exam Cost?

CFA exam cost

CFA Level 1 Fee

CFA Level 1 cost will vary widely, depending on when you decide to register for the exam. The CFA Level 1 certification exam fee consists of two parts: an application fee: of $450 and an exam fee of $250 for early payment or $550 for late payment. Early registration is 6 months – 4 months before the exam date and pays $900. Late registration is from 4 months – 3 months, pay $1,200. They use the ET time zone which is New York time.

CFA Level 2 Exam Fee

CFA Level 2 Expenses in the year 2024 – The CChartered Financial Analyst Institute gives total data related to enrollment and CFA level 2 expenses on its official site, which is the The early enrollment charge charged by the CFA Organized is USD 900, although the standard enlistment charge is USD 1200. In this way, the CFA Level 2 enlistment expense changes depending upon the time at which the candidate is enrolling for the exam.

Since typically the second level of the CFA course, candidates don’t get to pay the one-time enrollment charge of USD 450. According to the most up-to-date information from the CFA Institute, in 2024, the CFA Level 2 exam will be conducted 3 times in these months: May, August/September, and November.

CFA Level 3 Exam Fee

In terms of the CFA courses, Fitch provides CFA candidates with a premium offer of exactly $1,220. The exam expense is the same as that of the CFA Level 2 exam. Be that as it may, you’ll utilize these CFA exam rebates to bring down the fetched of your CFA ponder materials. Comparable to Level 2, Level 3 CFA expenses extend from $700 to nearly $3,000 for people enrolling late and getting the most expensive review package.

CFA Exam Payments

How to register for the CFA exam?

First, you need to register for the CFA exam.

  • Step 1: Open a personal account on the CFA Institute official website, then update all information
  • Step 2: Register and pay the exam fee. At the time of registration, you will need a valid passport. Exam fees can be paid by using international payment cards (credit or debit cards of payment units such as Visa, Master, JCB…) or by direct transfer to CFA Academy.

How to pay the CFA exam fee?

There are usually 3 ways to pay the CFA exam fee. Alipay/Credit/Debit card is chosen by most people because it is fast and convenient, but not everyone has a credit card. Besides, instead of borrowing someone else’s card (allowed), you can choose to pay via bank by clicking Pay By Invoice. Next, download Invoice and print it out. You take it to a branch of a large bank or a foreign bank to carry out procedures to transfer money to CFA Institute. Of course, the bank does not do this transaction much so will ask you a few more questions to understand. 5 days after payment is completed, it will be determined that the registration is successful.

Advantages of payment via bank

The cost may be slightly lower than credit cards (credit cards will incur foreign currency conversion fees of 2% to 3%). Fee includes:

  • Remittance fee: 0.15%-0.2%
  • Electricity fee: 5-10 USD

With a bill of 1450 USD as above, it will only cost you about 20 USD to the bank while losing about 30 USD or more for payment via credit card.

Refund Policy and Exam Postponement

CFA exam cost

You can request a refund of the subscription (from $700 to $1,000) depending on the subscription within 14 days from the date of registration. The entrance registration fee and exam fee will be fully refunded if the program participant changes his/her mind within 2 working days of the fee payment. Past the above deadline, refund is impossible Past the above deadline, the entrance registration fee, and exam fee will not be refunded. You are also not allowed to transfer the name to another person.

The postponement of the CFA exam to the next exam will be considered on a case-by-case basis for special circumstances such as serious illness, natural disaster, or military service… Due to unusual events such as Covid, you may have to reschedule for the next exam. However, if you are delayed 2 times in a row, there is an option to refund the money paid. CFA Institute has the sole discretion to allow or deny requests for deferral. Requests for a postponement must be submitted prior to the test date or within 10 working days of the test date at the latest.

You can withdraw your exam 5 days before the exam and forfeit the entire registration fee. The good thing is that if you reschedule your exam, you can register for the next test, not wait 60 days after you fail the exam.

CFA Scholarship

With the desire to bring opportunities to become professional financial investment analysts for CFA students around the world, CFA Institute implements many scholarship programs as follows:

CFA Program Awareness Scholarships

The Awareness Scholarship is open to influential people in the academic and financial community, such as faculty members of accredited universities or partners (Recognized Universities and CFA Program Partner Schools) as well as staff. members of the media, press agencies. If you win this scholarship, you will receive a reduced CFA program registration fee and a reduced CFA exam fee to a total of $350.

CFA Program Access Scholarship

Access scholarships are for those who cannot afford to pursue a CFA program. The scholarships are awarded on or before December 1 of each year and will be applicable for the June or December exam in the following year. If you win this scholarship, you will be free to apply for the CFA program ($450) and reduce the CFA exam fee to $250.

Women’s Scholarships

This is a new CFA Institute scholarship program specifically for women who are not eligible for the above CFA scholarship programs or who want to earn a CFA degree with the goal of supporting women around the world. improve capacity in management and investment.

There are also other scholarship programs of CFA Institute such as Regulator Scholarships, Media Scholarships… You can refer to the CFA Scholarships website.

Twice a year, young financiers enter the testing center with bags full of pencils and high-end calculators to take an exam that will determine future career success.

Is Studying and Taking the CFA Exam Just a Colossal Waste?

CFA exam cost

You may be confused about is CFA worth it? The CFA exams were created in 1963 to set the standard for proficiency in stock analysis. If you pass all three levels and become a CFA Charterholder, you are expected to have an understanding of accounting, financial reporting, derivatives, and portfolio theory. But the CFA is not a licensing exam. Those with and without the CFA certification work in investment banking, investment research, and securities.

So if CFA is not a license to practice finance, what is? Many people study hard to advance their careers, thinking that a CFA certification can help them get a promotion or find a higher-paying job.

In fact, CFA is just one of many factors that businesses consider in the hiring process. Many low-level financial employees take the CFA exam in the hope of being promoted, but often the reality is disappointing. The biggest cost of deciding to pursue a CFA certification is time, not money. The entire CFA course costs several thousand dollars. But each course requires hundreds or thousands of hours of study for each level. And that’s only if candidates pass all the tests the first time around – only 20% achieve this remarkable achievement.

Jared Dillian, the investment specialist at research firm Mauldin Economics, asserts that CFA is a huge waste of time. Finance is a profession that requires a lot of creativity. The CFA program stifles the creativity of the learners. Ideally, you should spend three years pursuing other goals.

However, the great CFA benefits that it brings to future financiers cannot be denied. However, you need to understand that the cost of taking the CFA exam is not only about money (despite the fact that the CFA exam fee is not low), but also in the effort, time, and hope that you need to trade in a few minutes. At least 3 years to conquer all 3 levels.

Therefore, it is extremely important that you understand the value of CFA to yourself, understand your capabilities, and understand what you need to trade to get this prestigious certificate. Above all, you need to understand that money alone is not enough to win CFA, you need to make more and more efforts. Take the test smartly.

Many applicants who wish to arm themselves with professional knowledge and global credentials in the finance industry choose the CFA. Yet, the road to studying for and passing the test is not straight forward, and the CFA exam cost should also be a major worry. So get ready for the ideal start to your financial analyst job.