CFA vs CFP – What’s Right for You?

CFA® vs CFP – What’s right for you? There are many finance certifications available these days. These certifications help students get through the hurdles of knowing specifically one particular topic. However, most students do get confused about what to pick and what to let go of as on the surface, everything looks pretty similar.

In this article, we will simply outline about CFP and CFA® so that after going through these, you’ve an idea about what to pick and what not to. This article is especially for students who are evaluating between CFA® and CFP and don’t have much idea about what to choose from the two.

Are you appearing for CFA Level 1 exam – Do have a look at this awesome 70+ hours of CFA level 1 Prep Course

The article will flow in this order:

  1. CFA® vs CFP Infographics
  2. What is Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA® )?
  3. What is Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?
  4. Why pursue CFA® ?
  5. Why pursue CFP?

Without much ado, let’s get started.

CFA® vs CFP Infographics

Reading time : 90 seconds

Lets understand the difference between these two streams with the help of this CFA® vs CFP Infographics.


cfa vs cfp infographics

What is the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA® ) charter?

The CFA® Program focuses on investment management. The top employers of charterholders include the most respected financial corporations in the world, e.g., JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS, and Wells Fargo, to name a few.

Many of these are investment banking firms, but the CFA® Program focuses on the knowledge and skills most relevant to the global investment management profession from the standpoint of a practitioner.

Investment professionals who hold the CFA® designation (or CFA® charter) meet rigorous educational, work experience, and ethical conduct requirements.

Only those who complete three graduate-level examinations, four years of work experience, and annual membership renewal (including an ethics and code of professional conduct attestation) are permitted to use the CFA® designation. Complementary codes and standards (such as the Global Investment Performance Standards and Asset Manager Code) help enhance this professional distinction. Do checkout the CFA Exam dates and schedules for further information.

What is Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?

  • Once you become a CFP, you will be a trusted advisor for people who need help in financial planning. You will not only be able to help them in their personal finances, you will also help them save taxes and create personal savings.
  • It’s a great career option as people are looking for experts who have authority in budgeting, retirement planning, insurance coverage planning and taxation. Financial corporations are looking for experts like CFP everywhere, but very few certifications can offer the benefits which only CFP can.
  • There are many financial planners in the market, but very few can trust them on the grounds of ethical responsibility. But CFPs are different as CFP board takes particular care to train the students with rigorous and strict ethical standards.

Why pursue the CFA® designation?

The differentiating benefits of earning the CFA® designation include:

  • Real-world expertise
  • Career recognition
  • Ethical grounding
  • Global community
  • Employer demand

The sheer demand for the CFA® charter speaks to the difference it makes.

More than 160,000 CFA® exam registrations were processed for the June 2015 exams (35% in the Americas, 22% in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, and 43% in Asia Pacific).

For more information, refer to- CFA® Program

Why pursue CFP?

Pursuing CFP has many benefits –

  • If you don’t need to incur much cost for being a CFP professional. It’s within the range of US $400 and will be valid for 1 year.
  • CFP allows you to help a lot of people along with getting a career which will only increase in potential over time. Thus, organizations are only looking for CFPs when they want to recruit someone as a financial planner or financial advisor.
  • CFP takes care of your education, examination, training and ethical standards. Even if you are a novice, you can learn everything only from this one course.

If you wish to evaluate other financial certifications, you can also checkout –


CFA® vs CFP,whatever your end choice may be, let it be an informed one. This decision is for your career and hence keep in mind all these pros and cons in mind. I hope i could help in whatever little i could. All the very best :-)

What next?

If you learned something new or enjoyed the post, please leave a comment below. Let me know what you think. Many thanks and take care. Happy Learning!


    • By Dheeraj Vaidya on

      Hello Baelish,
      Strictly between the two, CFP is much easier exam to pass. However, your choice of finance career should depend on what you want to take within Finance – Do you want to move in Corporate finance, Investment Banking etc, then choose CFA, however, if you like Financial Planning (real estate, tax etc) then go for CFP.


  1. By Young k on

    I have completed my CPA exam and wondering if I should enroll for the CFP examination. I am 28 years old and don’t want to miss anything. Will this help me in resume building?


    • By Dheeraj Vaidya on

      Hi Young,

      Given that you already have an accounting background, not sure why you want to take the CFP examination. Do you have keen interest in Financial Planning (real estate, tax planning etc). In addition, you should not the experience requirements as well. Please have a look at this URL. You will have to move into financial planning role within 2-3 years of passing the examination as you are expected to complete the 3 years of client service or 2 years of apprenticeship within 5 years.



  2. By Larry Yervandi on

    I am an engineer with 5 years of experience. I want to learn finance and change my career to be financial planner (CFP). Do you it is practical for me think about it now ?


    • By Dheeraj Vaidya on

      Hi Larry,

      Ofcourse it is practical. If you have keen interest in finance, you can appear for the CFP exam. CFP leads to a job in financial advisory who are nothing but sales guys. You can also look at financial planning for retirement planning, real estate, tax planning among others.



  3. By Phillip Abraham on

    I think CFP is making more sense to me with a combination of ACCA P4 i can have a good stand of the whole thing.Thanks Dheeraj


    • By Dheeraj on


      If you wish to make a career in Investment Management (portfolio management) then I think it makes sense. Both the certifications cover Portfolio managemetn pretty exhaustively and will provide you with in-depth knowledge on the same.



  4. By Amandeep Dhaka on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I am studying actuarial science and working as an analyst, I am wondering which one among CFA andd CFP is better for me and which one is paid more ?

    Warm Regards,



    • By Dheeraj on

      Hi Amandeep,

      I am not sure why you are looking for either of the two degrees – CFA or CFP. I believe there are advanced degrees in Actuaries that you can take to boost your career growth and interests.



  5. By BABU on

    I am very much interested in the CFA but the fees are very high. In this regard, is there any chance to get scholarship backed by the CFA. Please advise me


  6. By Mohammad on

    I think the CFP will be better because faster , low cost and easy more than CFP.
    You can use CFP to be your door for CFP.


    • By Dheeraj on

      Hi Mohammad,

      It depends on what is your ultimate objective. If you have keen interest in portfolio management and want to connect with investors and advise them, then CFP makes lot of sense. However, if your primary objective is to get into investment Banking, I think CFA makes more sense.



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