Greetings and welcome to the ultimate guide on CFA costs!

In this article, Career Employer breaks down the CFA certificate costs involved.

You can expect detailed information on the following topics:

CFA Study resources/materials
Other Potential CFA costs
Discounts and offers to reduce the total CFA certification cost

Are you looking to build on your bachelor’s degree by doing the CFA level I exam?

Reading this guide will give you the total cost to be incurred for the professional exam.

Introduction to CFA Cost

The investment profession is highly competitive, so anyone aspiring or practicing in the field should strive to acquire knowledge and skills to excel.

The CFA program is styled out to assist you in gaining significant expertise in investment analysis that will take your career journey to the next level.

The CFA is a test that examines rudimentary investment tools, valuation of assets, wealth planning, and portfolio management.

As mentioned in other installments of these series, the CFA program is mainly taken by those with business, accounting, economics, and finance work experience.

You are only eligible to sit for the exam once you have paid the CFA application fee, together with any other possible costs; be it a retake or rescheduling.

That said, let’s dive in!

CFA enrollment and registration fees for Levels I, II & III

In this section, we will break down the various CFA pricing options that you can sign up for your CFA exam.

From our analysis and research, the CFA registration fee doesn’t fluctuate with the different levels.

The CFA course fees mainly consider the timing of the D-day; so the earlier one pays the CFA program cost the cheaper the cost.  

One-time program enrollment fee

There is a one-time enrollment fee of USD$450 that is issued ( this is only paid once after you register for level I).

A registration fee (for every level or retake) of $USD700- $1000 is paid. The price is dependent on the exam date you pick.

Early Registration fee

Candidates who register for the CFA registration or application fee will pay around USD 700.

Standard Registration fee

Candidates will also be needed to pay a standard registration fee of USD 1,000.

Rescheduling fee

There is a fee from the CFA Institute of 250 USD, which you will need to pay if you change your CFA exam date.

CFA Study materials

There are two ways to study for the different levels of the CFA exam.

The first one is using standard-issue study materials from the CFA curriculum as your leading source for learning:

Physical CFA curriculum books

After registering at a CFA institute, you automatically get an e-book of the curriculum by default.

If your preference is to get a hard copy, you might need to issue out some $299 and some additional shipping fees depending on the level.

It doesn’t stop there; the prices escalate further if you are not from the USA; there is a probability that you will be charged import duty and customs fees upon delivery.

Third-party study materials

The CFA program is sufficient in the provided curriculum though some candidates may spend a bit more by engaging with third-party study materials to save on time.

The cost is dependent on the kind of package and prep provider you select for each CFA exam level.

CFA Institute’s annual subscriptions and dues

Ideally, the membership year runs from 1 July to 30 June, with an annual membership fee of $275 regardless of the time you pay.

Those who are retired CFA members pay a yearly fee of US$100.

The membership fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Other potential CFA costs

Some CFA candidates may need to travel some distance to the test center despite having over 400 test locations worldwide for the new computer-based testing (CBT) that began in 2021.

An additional cost of accommodation arrangements for the overnight stay needs to be considered for all three levels.

The retake fees are another high cost to consider, and the associated study materials cost if one uses a prep provider.

Every exam retake for the registration fee and material study sections costs $1000 for the mandatory standard registration fees and $750- $1500 if you need to buy the latest study materials and practice questions.  

Lastly, the CFA exams charge a standard of $250 as a rescheduling fee which is only applicable if you want to change the original exam appointment time.

However, it is essential to note that the payment has been slushed to $25 due to the ongoing pandemic.

Unfortunately, the cost of failure with CFA exams is very high in Monterey, but we have some tips to help you save some coins below.

How to reduce CFA exam costs: Discounts, Offers, Tips, and free resources

  • The first way to save your money is to aim for early registration if you can. This automatically saves you $300 off the standard registration fee of $1000 for CFA levels I, II, and III. We encourage candidates to register early enough to study and increase their pass rate
  • Try and get company sponsorship for your CFA  exam. As tricky as it may sound, those who work in corporate finance backgrounds should give it a shot seeking sponsorship from their firms and may get the entire CFA costs for free. It can be done with the right kind of asking and showing the value it brings to you as a candidate and company
  • Aside from asking your employer, you may also consider applying for scholarships. There are many scholarships at the CFA Institute. Have a look, and if eligible, apply
  • Incorporate free resources and guides that CFA charter-holders have created to assist you when carrying out exams. There are tons of them on the internet that will aid you when doing a CFA exam prep. Also, looking for a CFA charter holder who has gone through the entire CFA designation will help you choose how best to tackle it before deciding to take it up
  • Lastly, check out the offers page for study material sales and discounts. Third-party study materials are a big-time save and excellent for complementary study during exam preparation up to level III


Whether you are looking to be a chartered financial analyst or changing careers, the CFA program is the key to helping you stand out and merge the top in achieving professional goals.

Charterholders on CFA earn the right to use CFA credentials after application, acceptance, and completion of the entire program.

The accredited charter-holders can work in senior and executive positions in risk management, asset management, and investment management areas.  

We hope this helps give potential CFA charter holders an idea of the entire cost for the CFA as a whole program to assist in budgeting for the course and excelling in all three levels.

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