Membership Requirements

Note to Applicants:

Per CFA Institute policy, members must apply for the highest level of membership for which they qualify.

You may apply for Affiliate membership to CFA Institute and CFA Chicago if you are a Candidate and/or you do NOT intend to become a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Note to active Level II and Level III Candidates: You may apply for either a Regular or Affiliate Membership (i.e., membership with both CFA Institute and CFA Chicago) OR you may apply for our local only Candidate Membership. For more details on Candidate Membership, please visit our Candidate Services section.






Provide three Professional References*
Provide one CFA Chicago Charterholder Sponsor AND one Supervisor Sponsor*
Sign and submit the Member's Agreement and the Professional Conduct Statement.
Adhere to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct
Complete any additional application procedures or requirements established by CFA Institute
Charterholders - Passed Levels I, II and III of the CFA Exam Non-Charterholders - Passed Level I of the CFA Exam - OR - Passed the CFA Institute Self-Administered Standards of Professional Practice Examination (see note below)
Hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution - OR - have equivalent education and work experience
Four years of acceptable work experience as defined by CFA Institute**
For Charterholders - Have met the requirements to be awarded and to maintain the use of the CFA Charter and adhere to any new standards that may be required
You must be a Level II or Level III candidate, or a Level I candidate enrolled for an upcoming exam      
CFA program activity in the previous 5 years***      

If you are no longer engaged in active practice on a salary or fee basis, visit the Retired Status page for more information about this membership category.

* Three professional references are required for Regular and Affiliate membership unless you have a reference from a CFA Society Chicago member. In that case, only two professional references are required. Your references can be from anyone of your choosing. Supervisor references are preferred but not required. Students only need one (1) sponsor -- a Professor OR a CFA Charterholder. Note: In order to waive the supervisor sponsor requirement, you must e-mail CFA Institute at explaining why you are not submitting a supervisor sponsor.

** For a detailed description and definition of these requirements, please visit

Note to ALL Applicants regarding Work Experience Section in Membership Application:

Affiliate Members: While work experience is not required, you must still provide some information in this section regarding your current status (i.e., a sentence explaining whether you are a student, currently unemployed, etc.) in order to avoid any delays in processing your application.

Regular Members: You must provide a detailed work experience narrative.

*** Note to Candidate Members: Level II and Level III Candidates you do not need to be enrolled for the next exam to be eligible for a Candidate Membership. You must simply have an active candidate number. Level I Candidates you must be enrolled for the next Exam and show proof of enrollment to be eligible for CFA Chicago Candidate membership.


Note regarding the Self-Administered Standards of Practice (Ethics) Exam

The self-administered Ethics Exam for members and non-members tests ethical awareness. This online self-test consists of multiple-choice questions based on information contained in the Standards of Practice Handbook.

Who Should Take the Exam?

  • Individuals who have not passed Level I of the CFA Program who are required to take the Ethics Exam:
    • By a member society, for application
    • To be eligible for regular membership (along with four years of acceptable professional work experience in the investment decision-making process)

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