Skipping Level I of CAIA exam because of the Stackable Credential Pilot

Posted by: Kaplan Schweser
Published: August 27, 2019

The CAIA® Stackable Credential Pilot Program allows eligible candidates with the CFA® charter to bypass Level I of the rigorous two-part Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) exam. Launched by CAIA Association in 2018 and renewed in 2019, the goal is to enable qualified candidates to “stack” their CFA charter knowledge and credentials and move directly to Level II of the CAIA exam. This article explains why CAIA Association is piloting this program, how it works, and who is eligible.

Why the CAIA® Stackable Credential Pilot Program?

Using knowledge gained from earning one financial credential to help earn another isn’t new. For example, a CFA charterholder is exempt from many of the education requirements for earning the CFP® mark. But, CAIA Association is taking it a step farther with this pilot program by exempting qualified CFA charterholders from Level I of the CAIA exam.

In a March 2018 CAIA Association press release, William J. Kelly, CEO of CAIA Association, said, “‘Stacking’ is a concept we have been closely following in the worlds of both professional credentialing and academia; rolling out a cutting-edge stacking program like this with an excellent collaborator like CFA Institute is something we’re very excited to be able to do.” He added, “Asset owners are clearly moving to a multi-asset, multi-service model, requiring today’s professional to be more rounded. Credentialing organizations must continue to evolve to meet these changing needs.”

Are you thinking about earning the CAIA charter? Read this ebook before you sit for the exam.

How Does the CAIA® Stackable Credential Pilot Program Work?

The current phase of the pilot program is evaluating whether the CFA exams and work experience have enabled CFA charterholders to acquire the knowledge covered in the CAIA Level I curriculum. CAIA Association is studying the results of the program over a period of 2 to 8 exam cycles with the goal of understanding the best ways to meet increasing alternative investment education needs, especially for those who have already acquired some of that knowledge.

Up to 500 CFA charterholder candidates are allowed to participate in each exam period. If you are interested, you can apply online. If you meet the eligibility requirements and CAIA Association has space for you, you’ll be approved for the program, and you may register for the Level II exam. If your application is denied, you can apply again for another exam cycle. If the program becomes fully enrolled prior to your application, there is also a waiting list. You can find more information about that list here.

If you’re accepted and you pass Level II of the exam, you then apply for and join CAIA Association, thereby earning the CAIA designation. (Find everything you need to know about earning the CAIA designation here.) You’ll have all the same benefits as those who earned the credential by taking both levels of the exam.

Are You Eligible for the CAIA® Stackable Credential Pilot Program?

The eligibility requirements for the program are:

  • No existing CAIA exam history
  • Being a CFA charterholder in good standing
  • A CFA digital badge, verifiable by CAIA Association
  • Applying and registering for the program during CAIA’s exam registration periods.

It’s important to note that pilot program participants are not eligible for the CAIA Gateway Scholarship or any other CAIA scholarship program. CAIA Academic Partner faculty who are CFA charterholders should contact CAIA Association for more information regarding their program eligibility.

Want to Learn More?

You can get all the details about the program on CAIA Association’s web page for the program. If you’re accepted in the program, consider increasing your odds of passing with a Level II study preparation package. Or, if you’re interested in earning the CAIA designation the traditional way, our CAIA Level I packages can help you get started.

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