Woman researching the CAIA charter online - Kaplan Schweser

Posted by: Kaplan Schweser
Updated: January 30, 2016

By completing the CAIA® program, you will become part of the elite global community of over 9,000 Chartered Alternative Investment Analysts in over 80 countries. Not only that, but you’ll be making a significant investment in your career. The CAIA Charter is the globally-recognized credential for professionals who manage, analyze, distribute, or regulate alternative investments such as hedge funds, venture capital, private equity, and real estate.

Below are the steps for becoming a CAIA Charterholder.

Step 1: Pass Level I and Level II of the CAIA® Exam

The CAIA exam has two levels, and you’ll need to take and pass both of them. The exam cycles are in March and September, and you’ll need to take each level in separate cycles. For example, you can take Level I in March and Level II in September, although it’s more common to take the exams over the course of a two-year period. Level I and Level II require a minimum of 200 hours of study each. There are no education prerequisites for taking these exams, but studying for each is critical. If you are in the process of earning a degree or diploma, you can still take the exam.

The topics covered by Level I and Level II of the CAIA exam are alpha and beta drivers, real estate, hedge funds, commodities, managed funds, private equity, derivatives, funds of funds, and risk management. Level I tests the application of knowledge and concepts learned in college, and Level II tests the application of knowledge and concepts after at least one year of experience.

Step 2: Meet Education or Experience Requirements

After you pass the exam, you’ll want make sure you meet one of these two requirements:

  • Obtain a bachelor’s degree or equivalent with a minimum of one year of professional experience.
  • Have a minimum of four years of professional experience without a degree.

What is professional experience? It’s considered full-time employment in a professional capacity in the regulatory, banking, financial, or related fields.

Step 3: Find Two Professional References

Part of becoming a CAIA Charterholder includes applying to be a member of the CAIA Association®. One of the requirements is that you provide two professional references. They do not have to be CAIA Charterholders. Supervisors are the preferred professional reference, but you can name other individuals who can describe and attest to your experience. It’s best to choose your references before you apply, and it’s a good idea to let them know.

Step 4: Apply for Membership in the CAIA Association®

To apply to be a member of the CAIA Association, go to their registration page and create an account. There is a fee of $350 for one year (renewable annually), or $650 for two years (renewable biannually). There are a number of benefits of being a member and pursuing your charter.

Step 5: Agree to Abide by the Terms and Conditions of the CAIA Association® Member Agreement

This document lets the CAIA Association know that you have read and agree to abide by the rules in its Candidate Policy Manual, Member Policy Manual, fee schedules, code of ethics, privacy policy, intellectual property policy, and discipline procedures. The agreement also makes you aware that all policies are subject to change. You can find all this information on the CAIA Association’s policy page.

After you agree to the terms and conditions and pay your membership fee, an email confirmation will let you know that your application has been approved.

After You Become a CAIA® Charterholder

Besides the obvious boost to your career and your standing in the investment community, being a CAIA charterholder entitles you to a number of benefits from the CAIA Association. For example, you get your custom charter, access to as many as 250 events each year, and news and updates about continuing education, research, and opportunities for building professional networks and relationships. The benefits are with you at every stage of your career.

By completing the CAIA® Program, you will become part of the global community of over 8,000 Chartered Alternative Investment Analysts in over 80 countries.
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