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CFA Institute offers investment industry educational programs that are recognized and respected around the world. See which one best fits your career goals.​ See the below chart for the comparison, or try the career​ quiz​.​​


 Program Comparison

CFA® Program CIPM® Program CFA Institute Investment Foundations™
Who is it for? P​ortfolio and wealth managers, investment and research analysts, professionals involved in the investment decision-making process, and finance students who want to work in the investment management profession​. Portfolio managers, investment consultants, financial advisors, sales & client service professionals, and other investment professionals involved in selecting portfolio managers, evaluating portfolio performance, or communicating with clients. ​Anyone who works with or supports investment decision-makers in the investment management profession.
How long does it take? Approximately 4 years to complete 3 exams (Level I, II, and III). ​A minimum of one year. ​Up to 6 mont​hs to prepare for 1 exam.
Are there prerequisites? Yes, you must have ONE of the following:
  • Bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree (or be in the final year of bachelor’s degree program)
  • 4 years of professional work experience
  • A combination of professional work and university experience that totals at least 4 years​
​No No​
How do I earn the designation/certificate? ​​Successfully pass the 3 exams
  • Have 4 years of professional work experience in the investment decision-making process (accrued before, during, or after passing the exams)
  • Join CFA Institute as a regular member
  • Successfully pass the two exams ​(Principles & Expert)
  • Have two years of specific professional experience in investment performance-related activities of four years in the investment​ decision making process.
  • Join the CIPM Association
Successfully ​pa​ss the exam.