CFA Salary: Know Your Worth In Numbers

CFA SalaryMoney, money, money.  No matter how stressful it can be or how much we try to ignore its importance — we need it.  And not only do we need money, but often times, we need help with it.  The same goes for businesses, companies, or people dealing with the stock-market, just to name a few.  If we cannot handle it ourselves, who can we go to that we can trust?  The answer would be CFAs, or Chartered Financial Analysts.

If you clicked into this article, it is likely that you are thinking or on your way towards becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst.  As such, you are probably wondering how much money you could look to make once you become chartered.  Well, no need to look any further.  You are probably used to telling other people about their money, and now we are going to take the opportunity to fill you in on your potential financial outlook.  So sit back and let us do the computing on this one.


What is the CFA?  Let’s give you a quick overview before we jump into the numbers.  To become a Chartered Financial Analyst, you will need to obtain a certification from the CFA Institute.  To do this, you will need to pass a series of exams and complete a program that will prepare you for a career as a Chartered Financial Analyst.  So why do people want to get certified as a CFA?  Well, a good answer to that would be: salary and job security – which is no surprise, as this is why most people go to school and look to obtain professional licenses anyway.

Salary Numbers

Before we talk more about the exams the process of becoming a Certified Financial Analyst, it might be helpful to just take a look at the numbers first.  You know, just to incite you a little.

As with any other profession, your salary is going to depend on these factors: job type, years of experience, employer, company size, company sales, and total compensation (ie: bonuses or profit sharing).

We are going to give you a little overview of the type of compensation, according to, that you can look to expect from each of these categories.  Of course, you will not get any exact numbers until you apply for a specific job or obtain a job offer.

Job Type

  • Corporate Financial Analyst: around $61,210
  • Chief Financial Officer: around $145,810
  • Investment and Securities Analyst: around $73,090
  • Financial Analyst: anywhere between $40,801 – $95,414
  • Senior Financial Analyst: anywhere between $51,680 – $ 103,824
  • Vice President of Finance: around $131,700
  • Portfolio managers: anywhere between $59,492 – $162,747
  • Investment analysts: anywhere between $44,347 – $117,280
  • CFOs: anywhere between $74,922 – $239,545

As you can see, salary will differ on the job type.  These job types do not factor in years of experience, which are indicated by the range in numbers for certain job types.

Years of Experience

Here is the median salary for a Certified Financial Analyst based on years of experience.

  • Less than 1 year: $51,050
  • 1 to 4 years of experience: $63,900
  • 5 to 9 years of experience: $93,452
  • Senior CFA charter holders with 10 to 19 years of experience: $119,309
  • Senior CFA charter holders with 20 + years  of experience: $147,260

Employer Type

There are a variety of types of employment that a Certified Financial Analysts can choose to work in.  Here are some:

  • Contractors: $50,400
  • Trusts or foundations: $77,438
  • Government of Federal workers: anywhere between $76,041 and $78,467
  • Hospitals: $78,001
  • Private practices, companies, or colleges: anywhere between  $80,617 and $86,400
  • Self employed: $90,005
  • Non-profit organizations: $90,690
  • Franchises and other organizations had: $100,000 +

Company Size

  • Companies with under 10 employees: $75,756
  • Companies with 10 to 49 employees: $83,144
  • Companies with 50 to 199 employees: $85,649
  • Companies with 200 to 599 employees:  $97,579
  • Companies with 600 to 1,999 employees: $100,980
  • Companies with 2,000 to 4,999 employees: $82,571
  • Companies with 5,000 to 19,999 employees: $90,807
  • Companies with 20,000 to 499,999 employees: $101,940

Company Sales

This can be pretty self explanatory: the less number of sales that the company you work for has, the less you can expect to get paid.  Let’s take a look at the lowest and highest tiers.

  • Companies with less than $500,000 in sales: around $70,468
  • Companies with annual sales of $2 billion or more: around $104,000

Total Compensation

Keep in mind that this salary is only base pay, and does not include things such as bonuses or profits.  To give you a little idea of how this can affect your salary, in 2001, according to the CFA Institute, the average total compensation received by Certified Financial Analysts in the United States clocked in at an impressive $304,000.

The CFA Charter Examination and Its Benefits

If you are impressed with these numbers, interested in finance, and willing to devote the time and energy needed to get there: good for you!

Here is what you need:

  1. A Bachelor’s Degree
  2. At least four years of qualified work experience
  3. Passing all three sets of CFA exams (each set is six hours long)

Now, we are going to add to any of your positive CFA thoughts by providing some more reasons as to why it is beneficial to become a Certified Financial Analyst:

  • It will enhance your financial career path.
  • At around $2,500 to $8,000, the test itself is affordable; if you consider the prices of other professional licensing exams.
  • The CFA Charter is recognized worldwide, which means a lot of opportunity for you almost anywhere you go.
  • Your job security and opportunity will be increased.  It looks great on your resume!
  • As you probably can already tell, your pay scale will only go up from here.

Bring It On!

Becoming a Certified Financial Analyst is an experience that will set your groundwork for the jobs you will be up for upon completion.  The exams are not easy, and once you have passed and completed them all, you should be ready for anything!  Now that you know what you can be worth, check out Udemy’s helpful courses for all levels of CFA preparation!