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Financial Analysts

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing 

Financial analysts can earn the title chartered financial analyst (CFA). The CFA charter is recognized around the world as a standard in the finance industry. Many employers expect job seekers to be CFA charterholders. While certification is not required, it is recommended. The CFA program, which is administered by the CFA Institute, consists of three levels of examinations. These rigorous exams deal with such topics as economics, financial statement analysis, corporate finance, and portfolio management. The CFA Institute states that a candidate may need to spend up to six months to prepare for each level. The CFA Institute reports that the average candidate takes four years to earn the CFA charter. Candidates who do not successfully complete all three levels within seven years must reregister. Before taking the exams, you must already have a bachelor’s degree (or four years of professional experience) and have four years' of work experience. The Association for Financial Professionals, Chartered Alternate Investment Analyst Association, Investment Adviser Association, and Global Academy of Finance and Management also offer certification.

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