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You've become a CFA Charterholder. Congratulations. Just don't expect to become rich.

How much will you earn with a CFA Charter?

You may receive fewer of these than you'd expected

Today is CFA Level III results day. The pass rate was 53%, lower than the 54% from last year, but higher than the 49% from 2013. 

As anyone with any knowledge of the CFA Institute will know, simply passing the CFA Level III exam does not make you a CFA Charterholder. For that, you'll also need four years' of qualified work experience, a paid-up subscription of the CFA Institute, and to be a 'regular member of a CFA Society.'

Is it all worth it? The CFA Institute is pretty cagey about pay levels for Charterholders. The CFA Institute of Seattle ran a pay survey in 2011 which found the average member (not charterholder specifically) was earning $175k. The CFA Institute itself ran a pay survey 10 years ago - in 2005 - which found the median annual salary for charterholders was $180k. That should have risen, but maybe it hasn't.

There are currently 93 US and UK-based jobs advertised on eFinancialCareers which require a CFA Charter and provide data on the amounts they'll pay. This is how those jobs are distributed in the UK:

In other words, 54% of UK-based finance jobs requiring a CFA Charter pay between less than $125k (£80k). Only 14% of the UK jobs advertised to CFA Charterholders pay more than $234k (£150k).

Of course, CFA Charterholders may earn a lot more than this once they're actually in jobs, and our sample size is very small relative to the 120,000 CFA Charterholders kicking around globally, but job advertisements at least seem to suggest that a CFA Charterholder won't make you rich. Indeed, when we look the distribution of CFA Charter jobs by pay in the UK and US and take a mid-point average within the salary ranges, it looks like the average salary for jobs open to CFA Charterholders is around $118k (£76k).

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
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  • Jo
    John Galt
    19 July 2017

    Please change the graph label from '0-62' to '0-52'. It is most likely mislabeled. If it is labeled correctly, the graph is highly highly misleading. This is because two groups overlap.

  • Ad
    Adnan Khan
    13 August 2015

    I am ACCA affiliate and audit trainee in Deloitte Yousuf Adil Chartered Accontants, a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu limited. My question is the experience of audit firm is counted for CFA experience or not because i am going to Start CFA .

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