The CFA Program is Evolving: Here’s What You Need to Know

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If you are planning to take the CFA exams in 2024 or beyond, you may have heard that the CFA Institute has announced some significant enhancements to the program. These changes are designed to meet the needs of candidates and employers in the evolving investment profession. In this blog post, we will summarize the main changes and explain what they mean for you.

Practical Skills Modules

One of the most exciting additions to the CFA Program is the introduction of practical skills modules at each level. These are self-contained, digital modules that teach you how to apply what you learn in the program to real-world scenarios. The modules cover topics such as financial modeling, analyst skills, Python programming, data science, and artificial intelligence. You will have access to these modules when you enroll in the program and register for an exam.

The practical skills modules are not graded as part of the exam, but you will need to complete at least one module for each of Levels I and II. The modules will help you develop your hands-on skills and prepare you for your future career as an investment professional. You can learn more about the practical skills modules here.

Specialized Pathways at Level III

Another major change to the CFA Program is the introduction of specialized pathways at Level III. Starting from 2025, you will be able to choose one of three job-role focused pathways: Portfolio Management, Private Wealth, or Private Markets. The three pathways will have a common core of curriculum at Level III, supplemented by specialized content for each pathway. All three pathways will lead to the same credential: the CFA charter.

The specialized pathways will allow you to tailor your learning to your career goals and interests. You will be able to demonstrate your expertise and differentiation in a specific area of investment management. You can learn more about the Level III specializations here.

Digital Badges for Level I and Level II

The CFA Institute also announced a new digital badging strategy that will recognize your achievements along the way. When you pass your Level I and Level II exams, you will receive a digital badge that you can use on your resume, LinkedIn profile, or other online platforms. The digital badge will signal your commitment and progress to employers and peers. You can learn more about the digital badges here.

Curriculum Changes (Level I)

The CFA Institute also made some modifications to the curriculum, especially for Level I candidates. The curriculum will have a sharper focus on what is practically relevant for investment professionals, while providing optional reference readings for candidates who wish to review or reference the basics. The overall study time is expected to be more aligned with the 300 hours recommendation.

The curriculum changes will also reflect the latest developments and trends in the investment profession, such as ESG investing, fintech, behavioral finance, and alternative investments. You can learn more about the curriculum changes here.

PrepNuggets will be updating its Level I Premium Membership materials for free to reflect the changes to the Level I curriculum. You can expect the full update by the end of 2023.

Practice Pack

Finally, the CFA Institute introduced a new suite of additional prep materials for Level I candidates, called the Practice Pack. The Practice Pack includes extra practice questions and mock exams from the authors of the CFA Program. You can purchase the Practice Pack when you enroll in the program and register for an exam.

The Practice Pack will help you test your knowledge and skills and identify your strengths and weaknesses. You can use it as a supplement to your study plan and boost your confidence before taking the exam. You can learn more about the Practice Pack here.

Conclusion

The CFA Program is evolving to meet the needs of candidates and employers in the changing investment profession. The enhancements include practical skills modules, specialized pathways at Level III, digital badges for Level I and Level II, curriculum changes, and a Practice Pack for Level I candidates.

These changes will make the CFA Program more relevant, flexible, and rewarding for you as a candidate. They will also help you stand out from the crowd and prepare you for a successful career as an investment professional.

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