CFP vs. CFA: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between a cfp and a cfa?

The CFA® and CFP® designations may be familiar to you if you’re considering a career in finance. This article will contrast the CFA charter with other charters, to help you determine which is best for you. the CFP® mark in depth, examine the parallels and discrepancies, and equip you with the knowledge you need to make the best choice for your career.

CFA vs CFP – Comparing Difficulty and Content

What is a certified financial planner (CFP)?

A CFP is a financial expert who counsels clients on financial management. They assess a clients current assets and financial history. Additionally, they provide recommendations to assist clients in making wise financial choices that will enable them to achieve their long-term financial and personal goals and help their wealth grow. Some responsibilities include:

What is the difference between a CFA and a CFP?

In the financial industry, the CFA and CFP designations are both well-liked and respected credentials. The primary distinctions between a CFA and a CFP are the services they offer and the clients they serve.

A CFP offers families and individuals financial counseling and advice, which may include tax planning, investment advice, and saving tips for major life expenses like retirement and home ownership. Additionally, they assist their clients in creating their financial portfolios and achieving their specific financial objectives. They could be self-employed or employed by a financial institution that offers these services.

Typically, a CFA works for a bank or mutual fund company, two examples of financial institutions They perform financial research and analysis so they can build profitable portfolios and actively trade bonds, currencies, or commodities.

Here are some other differences between the two designations:

What is a chartered financial analyst (CFA)?

A CFA is a qualified financial expert who provides financial portfolio advice to companies and other business entities.

Their responsibilities include:

Requirements for CFPs

A combination of education, training, certification, and skill development is necessary to qualify to become a CFP. Here are some of the requirements to become a CFP:


To become a CFP, you must possess at least a bachelor’s degree in a subject like finance, economics, or business. This guarantees that you will acquire the knowledge necessary to succeed in the field. You may find financial planning-specific majors or courses at the college or university you attend to help you learn more in-depth information about the subject.

You could decide to pursue a master’s degree in a related area to improve your chances of finding employment once you graduate.


Financial planners frequently receive on-the-job training from their new employers, which could involve mentoring by a more senior employee. To be eligible to take a certification exam, you might need to complete 6,000 hours of financial planning experience or receive specific training.


CFPs must consent to yearly continuing education programs after passing the exam in order to maintain their expertise and certification status.

Requirements for CFAs

Here are some requirements for CFAs:


Most employers demand that prospective CFA candidates hold a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, or a closely related field. However, some employers may hire CFAs from different degree programs. Consider taking courses in equity investments, economics, quantitative techniques, financial reporting, and analysis if you’re interested in a career as a financial analyst.


You need to have at least four years of experience in an investment decision setting before you are qualified to sit for the CFA certification exam.


Membership in the CFA Institute is also required. The institute is the governing body that appoints CFA designations. It is estimated that each exam requires candidates to study for more than 300 hours. Additionally, you must consent annually to uphold the CFA Institute’s code of ethics.

How to choose between becoming a CFA or a CFP

Consider these steps to determine which career path is best for you if you’re interested in becoming a CFP or CFA:

1. Look at your educational achievements

You can pursue either career if you have a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field. However, if you have a degree in a unrelated field and no prior financial experience, you might want to think about returning to school or looking for a job that will allow you to gain financial management experience. CFPs typically only require general finance experience, whereas CFAs require experience in a position requiring investment decision-making.

2. Consider how much time you will spend

Both career paths will require time to earn a degree. The CFA career path, though, also calls for time spent studying, passing exams, and working in the field. Exams for certification are more difficult and demand extensive study and preparation. When compared to the CFA exam, the CFP certification has a higher pass rate, and those with prior financial planning experience might find it simpler.

3. Decide who you would prefer to work with

It’s important to choose which group you want to work with because CFPs work with clients and CFAs work with corporations. The work environments are likely to be very different. CFPs frequently collaborate closely with clients, both inside and outside of the office. When conducting research and analysis on investments, CFAs typically work alone in an office setting.

4. Explore the job opportunities

Examining job postings will help you learn more about the duties and responsibilities of each position. A CFP may also work as:

A CFA may work as:

You can assess your likelihood of landing a job and get a better sense of position availability in your area when you search for jobs that require CFA or CFP credentials. For instance, even though there may be more openings for CFPs, there will probably also be more competition.

5. Compare average pay


Should I get CFA or CFP first?

Since the CFP Board waives most of its educational requirements for CFA charterholders, taking the CFP® exam is more frequent among those who hold a CFA charter. However, obtaining the CFP® designation first has proven successful for some investment analysts with CFA charters.

Can CFP make a lot of money?

A mid-career certified financial planner with five to ten years of experience can anticipate an average income of $80,000 per year, while a CFP with more than 20 years of experience can anticipate an average income of $140,000 per year.

Is CFP respected?

The CFP designation is one of the most esteemed financial certificates available, in contrast to some certificates that are worth little more than the paper they are printed on.

Is the CFP hard to pass?

The CFP® exam is challenging. the overall pass rate in 2019 was just 62 percent. There are several things you can do if you failed the exam to improve your chances of succeeding the next time. One practical CFP® exam retake technique that is frequently disregarded is taking some time to consider why you failed.

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