What Is a Typical Salary for a Chartered Financial Analyst?

Compensation can vary depending on several factors

Financial analyst using computers

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Chartered financial analysts, sometimes called CFAs, work in a wide range of industries and various positions within those industries. They might assist other financial professionals, such as certified public accountants and accountants, or manage a company's money and financial objectives.

A chartered financial analyst's salary is based in part upon his or her experience, although the nature of the employer — the kind of company it is, its market value and size, and its sales volume — all influence how much a CFA can earn as well. Salaries cited here (as of October 2017) are based on reports from PayScale.com, which forms its estimates on responses gathered from more than 2,600 CFAs across the U.S.

Average Salaries for CFAs

CFAs earn from around $53,000 to upward of $118,000 a year on average. Unsurprisingly, those with less experience have lower reported salaries. Those with less than one year of experience earn on the lower end of the scale while those with one to four years of experience fall in the middle of the range on average. CFAs with 10 to 19 years of experience might earn more than this scale, up to about $127,000, and CFAs with 20 or more years on the job can earn in the neighborhood of $156,000 per year.

When you consider the average pay for various CFA positions, the most highly paid work as a chief financial officer earns on average about $167,000 a year. Portfolio managers earn about $101,000, senior financial analysts earn around $83,000, financial analysts earn about $62,500, and securities or investment analysts earn around $70,000. Research analysts earn about $72,000.

CFA Salaries by Industry

The kind of employer for whom a chartered financial analyst works will have an effect on how much that person earns. For example, self-employed chartered financial analysts make the most, some $170,900 on average. Those on contract also do well, pulling in about $142,400 a year.

CFAs working for foundations or trusts make an average of just around $100,000 annually, while those in private practice with a firm earn around $85,000. Those who work for federal, state or local governmental entities earn between $81,400 and $87,000 a year. Hospital-based CFAs earn around $92,600, and college or university CFA employees make around $75,000.

CFA Salaries by Company Size

A company's size also helps to determine how much the company pays its CFAs. Generally speaking, larger companies pay slightly better than smaller companies, although the differences are not extreme.

Small companies with fewer than 10 employees pay the second-lowest median incomes, about $84,500 per year, while companies with between 200 and 599 employees that were included in this survey paid CFOs the lowest incomes, around $81,500 on average. Meanwhile, companies with between 10 and 49 workers paid CFAs about $88,100, and companies with 50 to 199 workers paid their CFAs around $90,300.

The most lucrative employers for CFAs to work for were those with between 20,000 and 49,999 workers: These companies paid CFAs around $102,200. Meanwhile, larger companies paid slightly less, about $97,900.

Geographic Area

The impact of an employer's location cannot be understated. Those situated in larger metropolises tend to pay more: up to about $141,000 in New York City, $140,000 in San Francisco, and from $120,000 to slightly more than $121,000 annually in Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia.