CFP Vs. CFA: Which One Should You Go for?

Is the title confusing?

Let us clear it out.

This article will be a comparison (CFP vs CFA) between the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) professions.

We will be going through a brief on these professions, how to get these degrees/certification and how to gain professional leverage with them.

Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

What is CFP?

CFP is a financial certification requisite for those interested to enhance their financial planning careers.

Within the United States, the certificate is conferred by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and outside the United States, the same is conferred by the 25 organizations associated with the Financial Planning Standards Board.

If you already have approved CFP designations like Chartered Accountants (CA), Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Certified Public Accountants (CPA), Chartered Wealth Managers (AAFM), Chartered Financial Consultants (ChFC), Chartered Life Underwriters (CLU), Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) and attorneys, you can directly enroll for the CFP exam.

How to become a CFP?

As mentioned, if you already have the designations listed above, sit for the exam directly. If not, you need to follow certain educational, ethical and experience requirements.

Educational Requirement

Two ways are determined by the Board to complete the educational requirements:

First, you need to have a relevant Bachelor’s degree or higher in any one discipline from an accredited institution.

Once the CFP Certification Examination is cleared, you have to provide a transcript from the institution as proof of your degree.

Second, you can complete a Board sanctioned Education Program from affiliated colleges and universities.

These programs contain both the credit and non-credit certificates and these can be attempted through online instruction, classroom instruction or self-study, whichever suits you amicably.

Examination Requirement

It’s an exhaustive exam; spread over 2 days, 10 hours and zillions of multiple-choice questions, it’s not an exam to be taken lightly.

The exams happen thrice a year in March, July and November in various registered locations.

A certain fee is attached to every exam. If you’re not good at self-study, you should take professional exam preparation help.

Experience Requirement

At least 3 years (or, 6000 hours) of experience is necessary, working in the area of financial planning.

It could be about preparing financial plans, handling investments, retirement counseling, selling insurance and such.

The experience brief should be submitted with the form. There are two requirements to fulfil here:

The first requirement is that the experience should be in one or more of the six primary personal financial planning elements. These elements are:

  • Data gathering
  • Client relationship building
  • Client financial status evaluation and analysis
  • Developing a financial planning strategy
  • Implementing a financial planning strategy
  • Monitoring implementation of financial planning strategy

The second requirement measures the nature of your experience which should be one or more of the five ways.

These five ways are:

Supervision of client delivery, personal client delivery, supporting client delivery, teaching and residency programs/teaching.

You can find more details on the official website.

Once all the requirements are fulfilled, you become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).

CFP Job Description

How will the CFP certificate help your career?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2020, the median salary of a CFP is 88,890 USD.

CFP Salary in the US

With the CFP certificate, you can work with individual clients or handle them within an organization to manage their long-term and short-term financial goals.

According to PayScale 2020, the average salary of a CFP is INR 398,263.

CFP Salary in India

You can advise them on legal restrictions, financial laws, estate planning, investment planning, insurance benefits, tax planning, and other things.

As a financial planner, you need to possess a holistic understanding of the client’s business and offer complete financial solutions.

The duties would include interviewing clients, preparing financial plans, executing them and monitoring the outcomes.

Strong analytical skills and good people communication skills are crucial for this business.

Learning to use databases and excellent research skills are mandatory too.

You can work as self-employed or be employed by investment companies, insurance companies, banks, loan institutions, and other financial companies. Further, there are options like conducting workshops, financial consulting and teaching too.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

What is CFA?

CFA is a globally recognized certificate conferred by the US-based CFA Institute, formerly known as the Association for Investment Management and Research. When you clear the CFA exam, you are known as a “CFA charter holder”.

An extremely difficult exam, the exam pass percentage historically is as low as 32%. Candidates who are successful take about four attempts to clear the charter.

How to Become a CFA?

Of course, you have to clear the exam.

To become eligible, a relevant Bachelor’s degree is mandatory.

Experience-wise, 4 years of qualified experienced is taken into consideration. You can become a member of the CFA Institute and get membership from the local CFA community.

There are three exams of six hours each and you have to clear all the exams.

The first exam happens in June or December and the remaining exams happen in June only.

It’s like if you fail the second or the third exam, you have to wait for an entire year to take the exam again.

All three exams check your knowledge for financial analysis and a sense of ethics.

The first exam tests the financial concepts basically; the second exam tests financial analysis skills and intensive accounting procedures while the third exam tests portfolio management skills and decision-making potential.

Lastly, it is of utmost importance that you, the charter holder, maintain the norms and regulations recommended by the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

CFA Job Description and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2020, the median salary of a CFA is 85,660 USD.

CFA Salary in the US

According to PayScale 2020, the average salary of a CFA is INR 677,971.

CFA Salary in India

Once you get the charter, you can begin working for institutional investors as a financial analyst.

You can work in the capacity of a Money Manager, Financial Advisor, Portfolio Manager, Financial Risk Analyst, Securities Trader, Investment Banker, Sales Professional, Investment Firm Manager, Chief Investment Officer, and Chief Executive Officer.

There is a lot of scope for CFA charter holders. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 23% increase in jobs for Financial Analysts, a 15% increase for Commodities Agents and a 9% increase for Financial Managers between 2010 and 2019. Of course, you need to have a CFA charter to get these positions.

CFP vs CFA

Here is a chart highlighting the differences.

CFP Vs CFA

Takeaway

Any of the courses have the potential to give shape to your career. Choose any of these carefully, understand what direction will they give to your career and should you be pursuing them. If you have any doubts, ask below.

CFP Vs. CFA: Which One Should You Go for? 1
CFP Vs. CFA: Which One Should You Go for? 2

96 thoughts on “CFP Vs. CFA: Which One Should You Go for?”

  1. Hi sir, i am B.Com graduate and i have a 2 year experience in Accounting Field, but i want to build my career in Finance and so now i am confuse between CFP/CWM which is better for me
    ( Specially for Jobs in India).
    Long Term Goal-Boost my Professional Career, want to Become Financial Independent First Myself then Others).

    Reply
    • Hi Amar,

      I suggest you read the article again, word-by-word and you will surely get the answer.

      If you want detailed, personalized, unique career guidance, then please Email me for a detailed career coaching session.

      Reply
  2. Hi Avadhut
    I have about 19 years experience with MBA Finance, Does it help in me doing a CWM or CFP. I love helping people solve their financial problems and coming up with strategies to manage finance.

    Reply
    • Hi AK,

      You said:

      I love helping people solve their financial problems and coming up with strategies to manage finance.

      Then why do you need CWM/CFP? Unless you want to shift your career, you don’t need such certifications. MBA is enough. 🙂

      Reply
  3. I have 4 year experience in banking and NBFC 3 years in Business Loan and 1year in bank CASA department account opening. I want to know which course will be suitable for me as i am looking for good certification course for CV as i have no certificate in Financial sector

    Reply
    • Hi Shashi,

      You need to give some time and attention to decide your career interest. Based on that I can suggest you a course.

      Email me for a detailed career coaching session.

      Reply
  4. hii sir
    m an engineering graduate and want to start my career in stock market and investment management as my long term goal is to start my own investment management and advisory firm and want to know about all ins and out of this business so sir i want you to help me to choose the right way. Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Hi Krishan,

      Go for CFP. Work in a financial advisory firm for 3 years and then you can start your own firm.

      Reply
  5. I completed my MBA (marketing) then I worked with ICICI securities for 1yr now I am working with Mutual Fund AMC.
    I want to do extra certification so can you guide me?
    What I have to do cwm,cfa,cfp???

    Reply
    • Hi Hemant,

      What’s your career goal? Why do you want to do extra certifications?

      Reply
  6. Hello Sir
    I have 4 yrs of experience in BPO sector (Finance and Accounts)field, will this exp count for CFP and CFA course.

    Reply
    • Hi Ajay,

      Please email CFA and CFP Officials for this.

      Reply
  7. I wanted to get into a asset management, portfolio mangers, Money management firms and wanted to work as buy side analyst.Kindly advice me the more apt course for me.

    Reply
  8. Sir, I am CMA qualified, but I want to study more and learn more, and I feel to add some best educational qualifications, so plz advice me and suggest me best qualifications in the field of finance, cost and financial accounting, taxations etc. Please suggest me best which which will give shape to my CMA and put me on to

    Reply
    • Hi Rameshwar,

      Your question requires a detailed discussion.

      Step 1: I suggest you become our Email Member.
      Step 2: Email me for a detailed career coaching session.

      Reply
  9. Hello sir, I have Pursuing Ca Ipcc along with BCOM. I am finding a bit difficult for my myself to complete Ca course. Also I belongs to a middle class family. So I can’t afford to pay 70-80k for CFA or other. Now, I am willing to pursue another job oriented course. I have heard about CFP course. What is its toughness level compared to Ca Ipcc level? Also will I get good job with CFP? Or should I pursue another course? Please suggest me

    Reply
    • Hi Yash,

      Your question requires a detailed discussion.

      Step 1: I suggest you become our Email Member.
      Step 2: Email me for a detailed career coaching session.

      Reply
  10. Hello sir, I have completed my graduation last year and now m pursuing CWM. Am I going to get any job as I have no working experience or masters degree???

    Reply
    • Hi Isha,

      What’s your career goal?

      Your question requires a detailed discussion.

      Step 1: I suggest you become our Email Member.
      Step 2: Email me for a detailed career coaching session.

      Reply
  11. Dear Sir,

    Kindly advice me which will be the best CFP OR CWM. I am already working in stock market.

    Reply
    • Dear Sanjay,

      Please check the section: “Difference between CWM, CFP and CFA” in the above article and you will get the answer.

      Reply
  12. I’m a Computer Science graduate , Pursuing MBA, interested in taking finance as specialization. I have 1.5 years of work ex in IT Industry. I want to pursue CFP. Can you please throw some light on how useful will it be to pursue CFP ? As i don’t have relevant work ex of 3 years in finance industry

    Reply
    • Dear Vaidehi,

      What’s your career goal? Is it Personal Finance or Corporate Finance, Equity Research, Financial Modeling?

      Reply
      • Sir,

        As I’m a computer science graduate , I’m exploring different options and kind of open to learn things in finance.

        Reply
          • Sure Sir, Had sent a pm on linkedIn
            Thanku

          • sir
            need some suggestions regarding CFP.
            I c
            have completed exam1 and exam 2

          • Hi Siddhant,

            Your question requires a detailed discussion.

            Step 1: I suggest you become our Email Member.
            Step 2: Email me for a detailed career coaching session.

  13. Hello
    I am a Finance student and I work now as an intern at one of the big 4 accounting company
    I am a consultant trainee and I don’t want to work in banks
    I want to work in big companies and governments agencies
    what is the best certificate for me? and what is the best certificate that will raise my salary ??

    Reply
    • Dear Sara,

      Which profile in Big Companies are you looking for?

      Reply
  14. Kindly guide which program is suitable for me as I have done MBA in Marketing and Finance with 5.5 years of experience in banking as Relationship Manager ,managing portfolio of loans performing financial analysis of proposals.

    As I am available online, so kindly also tell that online programs are having equally importance in Building a career In same line.
    How much time program will take to complete.

    Reply
    • Dear Sachin,

      Please be specific about your career goal and requirements. I can help you select a right course.

      Reply
  15. Hi ,
    Thank you for the wonderful insights on all the three.
    I have experience of 8yrs in Financial Sector both in Banking & Broking House.
    I have an interest to pursue CFP , will this be the right decision ?currently im working as a wealth manager in one of the banks.

    Reply
    • Dear Reetu,

      Please go for CFP if you are open to working in Business Development and Client Relations for first 1-2 years before moving to actual Financial Planning.

      Reply
  16. i have BPO ex of 5+ years, now planning to do CFP/CWM if CFP i have to wait to pass,then another 3 years experience to get the CFP tag,what in the case of CWM?Can you please advise
    Now in HSBC as cust service exec with 5lac package. Can I do one of these courses?what package will I get and I want to go in hedge funds?My age is 30
    Need your advise

    Reply
  17. Hello,

    I have cleared CA IPCC and 3 Years of articleship in CA Firm. I am Looking Career in Banking and willing to move abroad to take job. Which Course would you recommend ?.
    Thank You in advance 🙂

    Reply
    • Basically I am looking for Job Oriented Course. Please guide me through the same.

      Reply
    • Dear Pratibha,

      CFA/ CFP are internationally recognized certifications and you can move abroad after gaining relevant experience post-certification.

      Reply
  18. Hi,
    Currently working as Branch Manager in a bank. Want to move from retail branch banking to other verticals i.e as an analyst or so..
    Pls suggest the best course that I need to do.

    Reply
  19. I am working with an AMC.
    I want to grow ,so plan for doing some financial courses but i am quite confused for CWM/CFP and CFA.
    Will you please guide me.
    What can be a better option?

    Reply
    • Dear Raghavendra,

      If you want to grow in Asset Management field, then go for CWM/ CFP.

      Reply
    • Hi avadhut, read your article it’s intensely useful. Thank you. I am looking for a course where I will get a good salary and recognition. I can work at international level too. Please guide. Currently I am working with an investment advisory with 4 years experience in broking

      Reply
  20. Hi

    I did Mcom and I have 7 years of experience in finance company as a relationship manager.I want to know which course is in more demand , easy to complete and more worthable i.e. CFP / CFA or CWP.

    Reply
    • Dear Komal,

      I suggest you read this post once again to get your answers.

      Reply
  21. hii….sir i am compliting Bcom information for other courses like CFA courses details

    Reply
  22. Hi I am Tony
    In cwm,cfp which one including problem subjects,and accounting subjects because these two makes me difficult.Theory is not a problem for me.

    Reply
    • Dear Tony,

      Please check their curriculum and decide for yourself. Both are good certifications.

      Reply
  23. what will be AN average package for cfp?
    FOR A FRESHER.

    Reply
  24. Does CWM has any recognition in India ? I see CFP and CFA are only popular and widely accepted by industry in India

    Reply
  25. hai,
    i am very interested in CFA but i can’t bare that much examination fee.show me a way. i am a banker.

    Reply
  26. Hi
    I m confused between CFP and CWM, I which one is more valuable and broadly recognise by industry.

    Reply
    • Dear Pratik,

      CFP is more recognized.

      Reply
  27. Hi sir I have completed my graduation in B.com but I am confused in these three course will help me to make career growth please let me know??

    Reply
    • Dear Anita,

      Please read the article again and you will know.

      Reply
  28. Sir
    I am a CA final student. My interest is in the field of Finance. I am looking for that type of career in Finance in which i would be able to go really deep into the stock market and learn what are the technicalities, specifications, strategies a finance professional does in order to make in ivestment in any Equity, Mutual Funds, Derivatives, Options, Currency Market etc.

    For example, a Fund Manager in a Mutual Fund company makes analysis of Stock Market to know why a particular investment to be made? What points he consider in order to earn handsome returns.. i want to learn that sir.

    Please help me in this regard.

    Thank You
    Ketan Parekh

    Reply
  29. Hello I’m CA inter.so which course will be easy and beneficial for my career.

    Reply
    • Dear Lakshmi,

      What’s your career goal?

      Reply
      • Hello, I m in CA inter.. And now, I m vy interesting investments fields.. Like Planner or Portfolio manager etc.. What you have just better for CWM or CFP.

        Reply
  30. Hi
    Whether after completing chartered wealth manager course whether jobs are available or the course is in demand which gives secured career.

    Reply
    • Dear Divya,

      Yes, jobs are available in Banks.

      Reply
    • Dear Divya,

      Yes, jobs are available in Banks.

      Reply
  31. Which course is more better for nw cwm or cfp if u want to make your carrer in finance then??

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Your question requires a detailed discussion.

      Step 1: I suggest you become our Email Member.
      Step 2: Email me for a detailed career coaching session.

      Reply
  32. Hi,

    I am sachin & I am working for the Mutual fund company,which course do you suggest

    Reply
    • Hi Sachin,

      Your question requires a detailed discussion.

      Step 1: I suggest you become our Email Member.
      Step 2: Email me for a detailed career coaching session.

      Reply
  33. I have been working in broking industiry about 8 years as stock analysts,now would like to grow my career more in financial industry as complete financial advisor all aspects of finance …. Can U seggest me between CWM or CFA or anything else I should do …..

    Reply
    • Hi Leena,

      Your question requires a detailed discussion.

      Step 1: I suggest you become our Email Member.
      Step 2: Email me for a detailed career coaching session.

      Reply
  34. Hello,
    I am pursuing CFA and will give my level 2 exam this june.
    What are my options of independent work in this field? I want to learn the skills required for trading and use them for investment advice and portfolio management.
    I plan to obtain relevant experience in the field first. Kindly give me some options keeping in mind that I want to eventually be an entrepreneur and I am willing to work as hard as it demands.
    I am still deciding which area of the market is suitable for me
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Vritika,

      Your question requires a detailed discussion.

      Step 1: I suggest you become our Email Member.
      Step 2: Email me for a detailed career coaching session.

      Reply
  35. Hello,

    I am from mumbai graduated and pursuing my mba from pune..
    i have done some courses from BSE & Welingkar apart from my graduation.
    And am very much interested in the course of CFP but confused between CFP/CWM as i have gone through the article above.
    is it necessary to do CFP/CWM in USA??
    Note# I dont have any experience..!!

    Reply
    • Hi Ameen,

      Yes, majority companies in US/ UK prefer CFPs.

      Reply
  36. Hello Mr. Avadhut

    I am presently working as real estate professional for past 3 years+ and now i am thinking to peruse some course in finance for the following reasons –

    1. I want to give a 360 degree solution to my client for there financial investment (i am only limited towards real estate, which leads to loosing a grip over a client once a transaction has been done) .
    2.It will give an extra edge to my professional career .
    3. I may also plan to go abroad and work there as.

    Dear Sir, please guide me to which certification will go better with my situation. Looking forward for your reply
    Regards
    Himanshu

    Reply
    • Hi Himanshu,

      Your question requires a detailed discussion.

      Step 1: I suggest you become our Email Member.
      Step 2: Email me for a detailed career coaching session.

      Reply
  37. Hi , dear sir , i have done MBA in marketing , and also we have 1.6 years in financial services , but now further i am cunfused in cfp , cwm and financial modeling , which one is valuable .

    Reply
    • Dear Narendra,

      Why do you want to join a course? What’s your long-term career goal?

      Reply
  38. I want to know about the value of cwm course and job profile after cwm

    Reply
    • Dear Charu,

      It seems you haven’t read the article carefully. Please read it word-by-word and you will get answers to your questions. The value lies in a candidate and not in any course.

      Reply
  39. what is job oppurtunity for cfp in india does the course has more job oppurtunities in abroad than india

    Reply
    • Job opportunity will be in financial planning. India and abroad.

      Reply
  40. do we need accounting skills to clear cfp as I am not very good in accounting

    Reply
    • Dear R.Vinoth,

      Basic accounting skills are enough to clear CFP, as the course is more about financial plans and communication.

      Reply
  41. Hello sir,
    I have completed my MBA(finance) in 2014 and presently working with a credit rating company as a financial analyst. Recently I have generated interest towards financial planning. In future I want to set my own financial planning firm. But I am having no work experience in financial planning. Should I go for CFP?

    Reply
    • Hi Biswadeep,

      Please complete your CFP. Work for 3-5 years in a financial planning firm. Then, you can start your own practice.

      Reply
  42. I have been working for an Investment bank for past 8 yrs in their Technology wing supporting their trading applications due to which i have decent domain knowledge. Have accomplished org-wide certifications in Capital markets, Business Analysis, Risk and compliance etc. So I want to use all this financial knowledge and make a career shift from IT to Finance. So which of the above course am i eligible for and should opt for if i’m looking for a drastic change i.e. international opportunities and an excellent salary.

    Reply
  43. I had just completed my graduation with aggregate 53 %
    so what post graduation course should I pursue mba in finance or master of finance and control (mfc)
    but I have no option of going out of jodhpur (rajasthan) for mba

    Reply
    • Hi Divya,

      Join a program which gives you practical skills.

      Reply

Leave a Comment