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Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree preferred
Average Salary: $116,970 per year
Job Outlook: Good

A Chartered Financial Analyst is a financial manager or analyst who has been certified by the CFA Institute with the professional designation Chartered Financial Analyst. Chartered Financial Analysts are responsible for identifying good investments for their company or clients to make, as well as identifying bad investments for their company or clients to avoid.

Chartered Financial Analysts collect data, perform analyses, evaluate returns and risks on different investments, create financial models and forecasts, write reports and sometimes make presentations to executives.

They typically work at banks, investment banks, securities firms, brokerages, insurance companies or multinational corporations, and manage financial instruments and investments, such as securities, bonds, funds, stocks, companies, etc.

Education and Training Requirements

To qualify for earning the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, you must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, preferably in a field such as finance, accounting or business administration. You must have four or more years of professional financial analyst or financial manager experience. Then you must pass a series of three exams, Levels I, II and III, given by the CFA Institute. The exams cover topics such as ethics, economics, quantitative methods, corporate finance, financial reporting and analysis, equity investments, fixed-income investments, alternative investments, derivatives and portfolio management.

Even if they do not plan to change jobs, Chartered Financial Analysts should never stop learning. They should keep up to date with the latest state, federal and international finance regulations and laws.

Getting the Job

Employers view the standards imposed by the CFA Institute as a good standard for proving financial knowledge and experience. Once you have earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, you can then apply for jobs open specifically to Chartered Financial Analysts, or for mid- or senior-level financial manager or analyst jobs. In addition to the designation, employers will look for candidates with good communication skills who will be able to make professional presentations as well as explain and justify their findings and actions. California and New York employ more Chartered Financial Analysts than anywhere else in the nation.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The employment outlook for Chartered Financial Analysts is good. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts average growth for financial analysts and managers; however, employers prefer to hire Chartered Financial Analyst candidates over non-chartered candidates.

Chartered Financial Analysts can further advance in their careers by moving up to a more senior position, becoming a departmental head or becoming an independent consultant.

Working Conditions and Environment

Chartered Financial Analysts work while seated in comfortable offices; however, they tend to work long hours, often as many as 50 to 60 hours each week. They typically spend lots of time working independently in their offices on the computer. In addition, they sometimes collaborate with other analysts, request information from or provide information to other company employees, as well as attend departmental meetings.

Salary and Benefits

The average yearly salary for this position is $116,970; however, more experienced analysts can earn considerably more. At the same time, those who work for investment companies, brokerages and multinational companies tend to earn the highest salaries.

Chartered Financial Analysts receive medical and dental benefits, and sometimes vision benefits as well.

Where to Go for More Information

CFA Institute
560 Ray C. Hunt Dr.
Charlottesville, VA 22903-2981
(434) 951-5499

New York Stock Exchange
11 Wall St.
New York, NY 10005
(212) 656-3000

The New York Society of Security Analysts
1540 Broadway, Ste. 1010
New York, NY 10036
(212) 541-4530

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F St., NE
Washington, DC 20549
(202) 942-8088

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesAccounting & Finance