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    Hello and welcome to another exciting and interesting article from Careers employer.

    In today’s comprehensive guide, we will do a deep dive into CFA programs.

    After carefully reading this in-depth article, you will be clear on the best CFA courses available and how to get the CFA designation.

    We will specifically look into the following:

    What is a CFA program
    The best CFA training schools
    The CFA program course outline

    Keep reading as we explore this important and exciting topic.

    Let’s get started!

    Introduction

    Chartered Financial Analysts (CFAs) are highly skilled and trained investment professionals who offer a broad range of investment services.

    CFAs typically work in banks, investment firms, universities, insurance companies, and pension funds.

    The primary duties of CFAs include financial planning, investment management, credit analysis, relationship management, and financial advisory services.

    Due to the specialized nature of their services, CFAs undergo rigorous post-graduate training in CFA training schools which prepare them for the CFA licensing exam.

    Today we will examine some of the best CFA training schools, comparing their features and why you should settle for each.

    What is the CFA program?

    The CFA program is a comprehensive three-part exam administered by the American CFA institute to aspiring investment management professionals.

    This important certification exam is done online in over 400 testing centers worldwide.

    CFA candidates are usually research analysts, finance, and investment professionals seeking to improve their skillset and grow in their careers.

    The CFA professional designation instills vital skills and experience for candidates to thrive in the modern investment management profession.

    After completing the comprehensive CFA exam, candidates can earn a CFA charter and acceptance into the CFA society after satisfying the CFA institute’s experience requirements.

    The CFA credential is one of the most highly sought professional credentials in the finance world due to its enormous benefits to holders.

    CFA designation holders often hold senior positions in major companies and corporations.

    Here is the typical CFA certification journey:

    • CFA application
    • CFA registration
    • Attaining the CFA degree
    • Earn the CFA charter
    • Induction into a CFA society

    Let’s discuss some of the best CFA courses in the USA that will adequately prepare you for CFA certification.

    Best CFA programs

    There are numerous CFA schools in the market.

    But which is the best one for you with guaranteed results?

    We will analyze some of the top CFA  prep programs available for you.

    Please note that there is no CFA ranking of courses, and you should choose what works for you.

    1. Kaplan Schweser

    Kaplan Schweser boasts over 30 years of experience producing top-class CFA study materials used by thousands of candidates.

    The Kaplan Shweser prep course offers three intuitive CFA packages full of helpful study materials and training tools that help you cover the program curriculum faster and more effectively.

    This course is best for people who need different learning options.

    Main features

    • Full-length mock test papers
    • 40+ hours of interactive video training
    • Five volumes of CFA training notes
    • A Quicksheet with the key terms, curriculum concepts, and formulas
    • A Question Bank with short quizzes and practice questions
    • An instructor link to contact tutors with follow up questions
    • Diagnostic course assessment to gauge your preparation level
    • Checkpoint exams to monitor progress
    • Study plan
    • Pass protection
    • Instructor Q&A paper
    • Workshop workbooks
    • Secret sauce
    • OnDemand review workshops

    Self-study package

    • Diagnostic assessment
    • Five book summary
    • Four complete mock exam
    • Three checkpoint exam
    • Study plan
    • Instructor Q&A
    • Pass protection

    Premium package

    • All features from the essential package
    • Pass protection
    • Five online workshop
    • 55 hours of on-demand videos
    • Secret sauce

    Premium Plus package

    • Everything from the premium package
    • Live online review
    • Live online classes
    Individual products
    • Question bank
    • Practise exam
    • Secret sauce
    • On-demand class
    • Live online classes
    • Mock exams

    The main difference between the Kaplan Shweser program and other CFA prep courses is the opportunity to buy individual products.

    Let’s look at the pros and cons of this training program:

    Pros

    • Five-day free trial
    • Comprehensive, in-depth study guide
    • Customizable packages
    • Different study packages

    Cons

    • No cash back option
    • Costlier than other training programs

    2. The Princeton review CFA

    The Princeton Review is a famous exam prep company known for its high-quality CFA and SAT prep courses.

    With the Princeton Review, you have an option of two test packages; the ultimate and essential (self-study course)

    The Princeton review is perfect for students who need self-study and online sessions.

    Main features

    CFA level I (1) course
    • 50+ hours of interactive video training
    • 1500+ practice questions
    • Two mock tests
    • 900 slides of study notes
    • Formula summary
    • 50 definition flashcards
    • 1-year package access
    • 100% money-back guarantee if you fail the exam
    CFA level ii(2) course
    • 60+ hours of interactive video tutorials
    • 1300 study note slides
    • Vignette multiple-choice questions( 5+ hours)
    • Formula summary
    • Money-back guarantee
    • Two mock tests
    • Limitless Q&A sessions
    Ultimate package

    The ultimate package includes all the level 1 and level 2 training, including:

    • 24 hours of live online training
    • Personal 1 on 1 Q&A session
    • Current CFA tips and tricks

    Pros

    • Money-back guarantee (7 days)
    • Affordable
    • Highly qualified trainers
    • Pass guarantee

    Cons

    • Lacks level iii(3) course

    3. Bloomberg CFA Exam Prep

    Bloomberg is a leading exam prep company that leverages machine learning to generate customized study journeys for each student.

    Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) means receiving a personalized study plan that focuses on improving your weak areas and reducing your learning time.

    Bloomberg is perfect for self-study learners and offers three study packages.

    Main features

    • AI-inspired learning experience
    • 10000+ practice questions
    • 11+ complete mock practice tests
    • Private one on one tutoring
    • Ask a tutoring model
    • Easy to understand micro lessons
    Essentials
    • 20 “ask a tutor” questions
    • Seven full mock exams
    • Program and curriculum feature
    Premium
    • Nine mock tests
    • 80 “ask a tutor” questions
    • Program and curriculum feature
    Ultimate
    • Limitless “ask a tutor” questions
    • Unlimited mock exams
    • Five personal tutoring sessions

    Pros

    • Three training packages covering all CFA levels
    • Adaptive AI sessions
    • 14-day free trial
    • Money-back guarantee
    • Private lessons

    Cons

    • More expensive than other programs
    • Money-back guarantee is conditional

    4. CFA institute learning ecosystem

    The learning ecosystem is a free online learning program from the CFA institute that delivers a fun and personalized learning experience to students.

    The comprehensive training program covers all three CFA exam levels and provides a definitive guide to CFA candidates globally.

    The CFA institute learning ecosystem maintains a high standard in CFA training.

    Main features

    • Practical study plans
    • CFA curriculum-based exam material
    • Practice questions
    • Mock tests
    • Key terms and formula flashcards
    • Interactive learning games
    • Discussion boards.

    Pros

    • It’s free
    • Different learning aids
    • Responsive digital portal

    Cons

    • Lacks instructor support
    • You need to register for the CFA exam to access this training program

    5. Wiley CFA program review

    Wiley is a professional exam review company that creates precise and actionable CFA courses to help busy students get CFA certification faster using tried and tested study materials.

    The Wiley CFA program offers four interactive and comprehensive training plans full of helpful and practical course material.

    Main features

    • 90+ video learning hours
    • 2000+ practice questions
    • Two full-length mock exams
    • Students discussion forum
    • Software to track performance
    • 25+ hours of video training (11th-hour review)
    • Highly trained teaching staff
    Self-study course
    • Interactive classes
    • 1000+ practice questions
    • 90+ formula sheets
    • E-book guide
    • Two mock test
    • Mobile app
    Gold course
    • 90+ hours of video sessions
    • OnDemand virtual lessons
    • Downloadable flashcards
    • Online mentoring
    Platinum package
    • All gold package features
    • Mock exam
    • Review study guide
    • 25+ hour review course
    11th-hour package

    All platinum package features (purchase add-on separately).

    Pros

    • Offline access to study materials
    • Access to the platform is non-expiry
    • 14-day free trial
    • Active student community

    Cons

    • No money-back guarantee
    • No instructor access

    6. Fitch learning

    Fitch learning program offers holistic CFA training with excellent student support throughout the course.

    As part of one of the leading credit rating agencies worldwide, the Filtch CFA training program features highly trained and motivated teaching staff with real-world CFA experience.

    Main features

    Online learning
    • 24/7 student support services
    • Personalized one-on-one training
    • Three comprehensive formal mentoring sessions
    • 5000+ practice questions
    • Mock exams
    • Video tutorials
    • Study plan
    • Slide with notes and tables
    • Self-study
    • Mobile app
    Virtual classroom
    • 16 online lessons
    • Four online review classes
    • Mobile app
    • Personalized study plans
    • Slides with notes and tables
    Review class
    • Four live online classes
    • Three full mock tests
    • Quizzes and practice sessions

    Pros

    • Money-back guarantee.
    • Excellent learners support
    • Interactive mobile app

    Cons

    • Long study sessions (7 hours for each class)
    • Unresponsive website
    • Expensive

    Apart from CFA prep courses, you can study at a CFA-affiliated University.

    There are currently over 400 affiliated universities spread out in four countries worldwide.

    University affiliation

    According to the CFA Institute, only universities that incorporate large portions of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) may join the University affiliation program.

    CFA syllabus overview (course structure)

    The CFA syllabus lays a strong foundation for CFA charter holders in the investment decision-making process of their professional careers.

    To satisfy the CFA requirements, students need to properly understand the core curriculum of CPA, including investment analysis, asset management, and ethical standards.

    CFA finance professionals then need to prove their understanding of the CPA curriculum by attaining the minimum pass rates in the CFA exam.

    Here is a brief overview of the CFA core curriculum topics.

    1. Ethical and professional standards

    This topic focuses on a CFAs ethical responsibility while dispensing its professional duties.

    The ethical and professional standards topic is critical in ensuring that CFA charter holders behave in a professional and dignified manner.

    The topic carries a 10-20% weight across the three CPA exams.

    2. Quantitative Methods

    This topic focuses on financial analysis, descriptive statistics, and probability theory in the investment industry.

    Quantitative methods help a CFA make data-backed decisions with the least negative impact on the investor.

    This exam’s weight ranges between 8-12% across the three CFA tests.

    3. Economics

    The economics topic covers market structures, macroeconomic concepts, business cycles, and supply and demand concepts.

    Economic training helps CFAs understand the market environment and how to make profitable investments.

    The economics topic is weighted between 5-12% across the three CFA exam levels.

    4. Financial statement analysis

    This topic covers financial reporting procedures focusing on financial reporting disclosures standards and how to carry out a financial statement analysis.

    The financial statement analysis weighs between 10 -17% across levels 1 and 2 of the CFA exam.

    5. Corporate finance/corporate issuers

    This topic focuses on corporate governance, providing an in-depth introduction, overview, and framework on this matter.

    The topic also covers stakeholder management and the environmental and social impacts of investing.

    This topic weighs between 10-12% in levels 1 and 2 of the CFA exam.

    6. Equity investments

    This topic focuses on using equity valuation models on industries, equity securities, and companies.

    Additionally, the topic will look into the characteristics of indexes, security markets, and equity investments

    Across three exam levels, the topic carries a weight of between 10-15%.

    7. Fixed income

    The fixed income topic will cover:

    • Principles of credit analysis
    • Asset security
    • Credit analysis
    • Yield calculation
    • Fixed-income description
    • Bond returns

    Fixed income is weighted between 10-20% across the three exam levels.

    8. Derivatives

    The topic on derivatives will focus on arbitrage, valuation concepts, the derivative market, and the basic understanding of the derivative concept.

    This topic carries a 5-10% weight across all three exam levels.

    9. Alternative investments

    Alternative investments explore hedge funds, real estate, private equity, infrastructure, and commodities.

    The topics weight is between 5-10% across all the CFA exams.

    10. Portfolio management and wealth planning

    This topic will cover everything to do with portfolio and risk management, including return and risk management, capital asset pricing, portfolio planning, and wealth management.

    The topic carries between 5-40% weight across all levels of the CFA exam.

    Let’s switch gears and consider what to look out for in a CFA training program.

    Getting a CFA certification is an often long and challenging process due to the stringent certification requirements from the CFA Institute.

    To increase your chances of passing the CFA exam, enroll in a CFA college.

    Qualities of an excellent CFA prep course

    Numerous CFA training institutions offer a broad range of services to help potential CFAs ace the certification exam.

    Here are the top factors to consider before making your final choice:

    1. Class size

    The class size is an essential consideration for any learner, especially when tackling a challenging course like CFA.

    Large class size may cause you not to actively participate in the lesson due to fear or intimidation, affecting your performance in the final exam.

    Consider enrolling in a midsize class that will allow you to grow a relationship with your classmates and lecturers.

    2. Experienced lecturers

    Is your lecturer a certified CFA charter holder with real-world CFA experience?

    If not, you should reconsider your choice of the training institution.

    A lecturer who is a charter holder will be better placed to explain how to pass the CFA certification exam compared to one who isn’t.

    Being a material expert in certain CFA fields will allow your lecturer to explain complex concepts using common real-world examples.

    3. A practical study plan

    The CFA course material is quite extensive and requires a lot of time to cover.

    A prep school without a properly organized study plan will rush students, fail to cover the entire syllabus, or entirely skip portions of the CFA curriculum.

    Check out the study plans of the different prep schools and confirm if they have allocated enough time for group discussion, mock exams, homework, and other class exercises.

    A good CFA program will ideally adopt the CFA institute’s study plan or develop one that factors the CFA course size and student requirements.

    4. Enough teaching staff

    The CFA exam tests topics from different finance and investments that no single lecturer can master.

    To give their students the best teaching assistance possible, a good CFA training school should have different lecturers who are material experts in different fields.

    Having different lecturers also allows students to experience different teaching styles and, methods which is always a good thing when learning something new.

    5. A good track record

    What is the school’s average CFA pass rate?

    Is it registered by the government and licensed to offer training services?

    What is the school’s relationship with other CFA training institutions?

    Does the school feature in the approved CFA course providers list from the CFA website?

    All these questions are essential in determining the suitability of a  CFA training institution.

    Conclusion

    Gaining enrollment into the CFA program and earning the CFA license is every investment professional’s dream.

    Not only does the CFA pathway open better career opportunities, but the professional development you gain from the CFA designation makes you more effective and productive.

    We hope that our well-researched writeup will act as a definitive guide on how to get a CFA.

    Please keep scrolling for detailed answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions from our readers.

    Good luck on your CFA chartership journey.

    FAQs

    References

    CFAinstitute.org

    Investopedia

    Udemy

    Shwesser.com

    Thebalancecareers

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