Equivalent work experience in lieu of a degree?

I posted this on the CFA reddit forum and am posting it here again for more viewpoints.

I work as a technical business analyst, working on trading, pricing, and risk systems. I’ve reached something of a plateau in my career, and would like to investigate moving more towards consultancy on the product side of things.

I’m 33 and work for a large asset management firm, and before that was at a global macro hedge fund for 12 years. I’m no quant, but I have a decent understanding of FI, FX,and Equity Derivs, a working knowledge of key concepts such as tvm, yield curve construction, discounting, greeks, options pricing, convexity, duration etc. I recently passed the APRM (I know, this is extremely basic compared to the CFA, but it got me thinking about certifications), and have been toying with the idea of studying for the CFA. However, I don’t have a degree…and by that, I don’t mean that I didnt finish it, I mean that I never attended uni at all. I started working for an outsourcing company at 18 as an ‘IT Guy’ where I happened to be placed at Deutsche Bank, and moved into my current career through constant exposure to the trading floor and an interest in finance, but basically my formal education stopped at 17. Is it possible for me to get the CFA Charter? The website doesn’t make it explicitly clear, and I’m not sure if my career would qualify as relevant work experience in lieu of a degree. I dont really want to embark on a multi year challenge if I cant have those 3 letters at the end of my name at the end of it! Does the CFA institue offer any kind of evlauation before you start? I took the online quiz and it says that my work experience is likely to qualify, but I’d rather know for sure.

You need 4 years professional work experience absent an undergraduate degree, which is subjective. Write the institute and ask.

Thanks, just emailed them. I’ll see what they say. I really wouldnt want to go through this and pass the exams, only to be told that I dont qualify.

Just to clarify - the ‘in lieu of a degree’ is only to allow you to register - the work experience requirement to obtain the charter is very different from the work experience in lieu of an undergraduate dedree that permits you to write the exams.

Check this out,


Scroll down a bit and click the “Take the Work Experience Self-Assesment”.

It will ask you a few questions regarding your current occupation to determine whether you work experience qualifies you.