Average Salary of a CFA

Average Salary of a CFA?

Average Salary of a CFA?

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a globally recognized designation for investment professionals. It is one of the most respected and sought-after certifications in finance. The CFA program equips holders with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in finance.

A joint inquiry is the expected salary upon program completion for individuals obtaining the CFA designation. To provide a more comprehensive understanding, we will delve into the average salaries of those who have received the CFA designation and examine the various factors that play a role in determining their earnings.

What is a CFA?

Before diving into the salary details, it’s essential to understand what a CFA is. The CFA designation is a rigorous program that covers topics such as ethics, economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, equity investments, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments, and portfolio management. The program is divided into three levels; candidates must pass all three levels to become a CFA charter holder.

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program is widely recognized as a prestigious credential within the finance industry. Achieving this designation not only signifies a high level of expertise in investment management but also demonstrates a commitment to ethical standards and professional conduct.

The CFA program offers a comprehensive curriculum that covers a wide range of topics, including financial analysis, economics, ethics, and portfolio management. Graduates of the program are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in various finance-related roles, from investment management to corporate finance. With its global recognition and rigorous standards, the CFA program is a valuable asset for anyone looking to advance their career in finance.

How much does a CFA make?

According to the CFA Institute, the median total compensation for CFA charter holders is approximately USD 180,000. However, this number can vary depending on several factors.

The average salary for a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) varies based on location, industry, years of experience, etc. Here are some overall average salary ranges for CFAs:

• Entry level: $70,000 to $85,000

• Mid-career: $130,000 to $170,000

• Senior level: $180,000 to $250,000

• Director level: $250,000 and up

Some of the highest-paying industries for CFAs are:

• Investment banking – Average salary $150,000 to $250,000

• Hedge funds – Average salary $150,000 to $500,000

• Private Equity – Average salary of $150,000 to $350,000

• Asset management – Average salary $120,000 to $200,000

The CFA charter is a highly respected designation in the finance field. Obtaining the CFA can help improve your career prospects, credibility, and earning potential. However, salary also depends on factors specific to your career, experience, and negotiation skills.

Salary by Job Title

The salary of a CFA can vary depending on their job title. Here are some of the most common job titles for CFAs and their corresponding salaries:

  • Portfolio Manager: $100,000 – $250,000+
  • Research Analyst: $80,000 – $200,000+
  • Financial Analyst: $60,000 – $120,000+
  • Risk Manager: $80,000 – $200,000+
  • Investment Banker: $100,000 – $300,000+

Salary by Experience

The amount of experience a CFA has can also impact their salary. Here are some approximate salary ranges based on experience:

  • Entry-level (0-3 years): $60,000 – $100,000+
  • Mid-level (4-7 years): $100,000 – $200,000+
  • Senior-level (8+ years): $200,000 – $500,000+

Salary by Industry

The industry in which a CFA works can also impact their salary. Here are some approximate salary ranges based on industry:

  • Asset Management: $100,000 – $300,000+
  • Investment Banking: $100,000 – $400,000+
  • Hedge Funds: $150,000 – $500,000+
  • Private Equity: $150,000 – $500,000+

Average Salary of a CFA in the USA

Factors that Affect CFA Salaries

Several factors can affect the salary of a CFA. Here are some of the most important ones:


Location is one of the most significant factors that affect CFA salaries. For example, a CFA working in New York City will generally earn more than a CFA working in a smaller city or town. This is due to the higher cost of living in larger cities and the increased demand for finance professionals.


Higher levels of education can also impact CFA salaries. For example, CFAs with MBA degrees earn more than those without.


CFAs with additional certifications, such as the FRM (Financial Risk Manager) or CAIA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst), tend to earn more than those without them.

Company Size

The size of the company a CFA works for can also impact their salary. CFAs working for larger companies earn more than those working for smaller ones.

Specific skills or qualifications to help negotiate a higher salary as a CFA?

Yes, there are a few skills and qualifications that can help you negotiate a higher salary as a CFA:

  1. Advanced technical skills – Expertise in specific areas like quantitative analysisalternative investments, portfolio management, etc., can increase your value and negotiating power. Employers are willing to pay more for in-demand skills.
  2. Experience – Several years of relevant experience in finance, investing, or wealth management helps demonstrate your value and expertise. More experience typically translates to higher negotiating power.
  3. Network and contacts – The more people you know in the industry, especially at higher levels, the more choices you have for potential employers. This gives you more leverage in salary negotiations.
  4. Advanced degree – An MBA, Master’s in Finance, or related graduate degree can boost your salary, especially at more senior levels. It shows ambition, vision, and enhancement of your base knowledge.
  5. Proven track record – Demonstrating a track record of high performance, successful investments, profitable deals, etc., shows that you can generate significant value for your employer. This is a major factor in negotiating a higher salary.
  6. In-demand niche – Specializing in an in-demand area within finance, like quant analysis, fintech, sustainable investing, etc., can make you more valuable and difficult to replace. Employers may pay a premium for these hard-to-find skillsets.
  7. Competitor offers – Having an actual job offer or competing offer from another employer gives you concrete leverage in salary negotiations with your current employer. They will be motivated to counter or match the competing offer.

These are some of the primary skills, qualifications, and factors that can help CFAs negotiate a higher salary. The key is to clearly articulate and demonstrate the value you bring to the table.


What is the difference between a CFA and an MBA?

While a CFA and an MBA are highly respected in the finance industry, they are different credentials. A CFA is a professional designation for investment professionals, while an MBA is a graduate degree in business administration.

Is the CFA worth the investment?

The CFA is worth the investment for those serious about pursuing a career in finance. The program is highly respected in the industry and can open doors to lucrative job opportunities. However, it is essential to note that the program is rigorous and requires significant time and effort.

Can you become a CFA without a finance degree?

Yes, you can become a CFA without a finance degree. However, you must have a certain level of financial knowledge and pass all three levels of the CFA program.

How long does it take to become a CFA?

The CFA program typically takes 2-5 years to complete, depending on how quickly you pass each level. Candidates can take each class once a year, and the pass rate is typically around 40-50%.

Is the CFA exam difficult?

Yes, the CFA exam is notoriously difficult. The pass rate for each level is typically around 40-50%, and the material covered is extensive. However, with dedication and hard work, passing all three levels and obtaining the designation is possible.

Thank you for reading this article on the average salary of a CFA. While the pay can vary depending on several factors, obtaining the CFA designation can lead to exciting and rewarding career opportunities in the finance industry.


In wrapping up, it is worth noting that numerous factors influence the compensation for a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA). These factors may include the job position, years of experience, industry, location, level of education, certifications obtained, and the company’s size. It is essential to acknowledge that the median total compensation for CFA charter holders is estimated at around USD 180,000. However, it is worth noting that this figure may vary significantly based on the variables mentioned above. Hence, it is vital for individuals aspiring to become CFAs to consider these factors when determining their salary expectations.


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