What’s the perfect age to earn your CFA charter?


It’s a question that’s asked multiple times per year in every CFA forum. When exactly should you embark on the time-intensive journey toward getting your CFA, and at what age are you too old or too young to earn your charter? The answer, of course, will always be subjective based on each person and their career arc. But when looking at the hard data and combing through the forums, one specific trend appears. Candidates are skewing younger…and older.

We asked the CFA Institute to put together the average age of candidates who registered for each of the three levels of the exam over the last five years. Note that Level I data combines both June and December exams (Level II and III are only offered in June). As you’ll notice, the average age of candidates who are working toward their CFA is getting younger, though maybe not quite to the degree that the current narrative would suggest. For Level I exams in 2013, the average age of test takers was 27.2. Five years later, that number fell to 26.6 – a difference of around seven months. (Though this only includes the June exam for 2018; the average age for December test takers ticked slightly higher – between 0.2 and 0.3 years – from 2013 through 2017).

For Level II, the average age at registration has dropped from 28.6 to 28.1 over the last five years. Meanwhile, the average for Level III has remained very consistent for much of the last half-decade – around 30 years of age – before dropping to 29.7 this past June. This could be due to the 47% pass rate among Level II candidates in 2017, the highest rate in a dozen years.


Looking through several CFA Analyst Forums and Reddit feeds, it’s clear that more candidates are registering at a very early age – with many taking Level I during their senior year (the earliest possible time allowed) or soon after graduation. Several colleges and universities have incorporated CFA curriculum into their own courses following an effort by the CFA Institute to ingratiate themselves with undergrad programs. In one recent forum that included around 80 responses, six people age 24 or younger said they were sitting for the Level III exam, meaning they began the process immediately out of school and likely didn’t fail the first two levels.

Beecher Tuttle – Read the full article on efinancialcareers.com

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