FMVA vs CFA- The Major Differences

FMVA vs CFA- The Major Differences

FMVA and CFA, the two financial analyst certification programs, are completely two different programs. However, both belong to the financial field, there are various major differences between these two. 

You must know the disparity between these two and choose the program according to your career preference. So, let’s start the battle FMVA vs CFA, the major differences.

FMVA vs CFA- The Main Differences

The major differences between these two are in the following factors:

  • Number of Levels:

FMVA certification program has only 1 level. While CFA has a total of 3 levels to clear in the program.

  • Major Skills One Will Learn:

The FMVA program stresses Financial Modeling and Valuation as its major skills while CFA teaches Portfolio Management, and Investing as its major skills.

  • Duration of both Certification Courses

The hours you will need to spend for FMVA are 100. For CFA, a duration of 600 hours is sufficient.

  • The percentage you need to clear the certification program

The passing rate for clearing FMVA is at least 70%. 

For CFA, you need to score percentages according to the passing rate of levels that is different. 

The passing rate at different levels:

  • Level 1 Passing Rate- 20%
  • Level 2 Passing Rate- 40%
  • Level 3 Passing Rate- 51%

In this percentage factor, you should notice that for passing the FMVA exam, you have to be completely perfect in the syllabus and practicals you have learned. Then only you can achieve this high percentage and clear the exam.

On the other hand, the CFA exam can be cracked in the percentages mentioned above. But requiring a low percentage to pass the exam doesn’t mean that the CFA exam is easy to clear. CFA is very difficult and only 1 out 3 can pass the exam.

The Pattern of Examinations

FMVA conducts guaranteed online examinations. CFA conducts face-to-face examinations but from 2021 because of pandemics, the exam has become computer-based. 

The Structure of the Exam:

  • FMVA:

There will be only 1 exam after the completion of the course by CFI’s FMVA. The question paper has 3 case studies which are the most difficult part of the exam. It has additional multiple-choice questions and some other questions.

  • CFA: 

CFA conducts three examinations. It has 3 levels to clear. The level 1 exam is of 4 hours consisting of all multiple-choice questions.

Level 2 consists of 50 descriptive questions and it is 4 hours. Level 3 is of 3 hours and contains a total of 13 questions.

Method of Testing or the Types of Questions Asked in the examination In a Nutshell 

FMVA tests the students on the questions based on application. How is the concept applicable in the real world? In a nutshell, it stresses practical knowledge.

On the other hand, CFA evaluates the memorization power of theoretical concepts and it does not point up much about real-world knowledge.

But when you go for a professional job then you will have to apply your concepts in the field. In this case, the knowledge provided by FMVA works more than that of CFA.

  • Time required to complete the certification program

FMVA will be completed in less than one year. While CFA will take three to five years to get completed as it has 3 levels to clear and FMVA has only 1 level to clear.

  • Work Experience is required to enroll

The work experience required to enroll in the CFA certification program is 3 to 5 years. But to enroll for FMVA, there is no requirement for such work experience.

  • Fee Structures of Certifications

The fee for the FMVA program is $497. The fee structure of CFA is $4,000 to $5,000.

Who Should Enroll?


FMVA program is for those:

  • individuals who are currently working in the corporate finance field. 
  • The individuals who are enthusiastic about banking job roles
  • The fresher Finance Students


CFA is mainly for those:

  • who want to do further research work in the financial field or looking for the same job roles
  • For individuals who have been in this field for several years
  • For the advisory related roles

In the next topic of FMVA vs CFA, we will discuss Career Opportunities.

FMVA vs CFA- Career Opportunities:


FMVA certification mainly benefits those who are in the field of:

  • Investment Banking
  • Financial Service
  • Analysts
  • Corporate Finance


CFA mainly benefits those who add in the field of:

  • Portfolio Management
  • Equity Research
  • Investment Adviser
  • Fixed Income
  • Research-related fields

FMVA vs CFA- Syllabus

  • FMVA:

FMVA syllabus is into modules. It has a total of 29 courses of which 14 of them are compulsory. It has 120+ downloadable templates. 

At first, you will have to choose 7 optional courses in which you will learn all the fundamentals. Then you will have to learn 11 main courses related to financial modeling and valuation.

And then there will be 11 courses on advanced topics in which you will have to choose 3 courses.

  • CFA:

The CFA syllabus is not as engaging and divided into such subparts as FMVA. Instead, it is a long-form descriptive syllabus that one might find boring to learn.

But the plus point is that if you thoroughly understand the CFA syllabus, then you will not require to learn from any other study material. The CFA syllabus is enough to crack all three levels of the exam.

FMVA vs CFA- Teachers

  • FMVA:

The teachers at FMVA are quite engaging. You can ask the teacher frankly about the doubts that arrive in between learning. The teachers are professional experts in the financial field. You can trust them when it comes to learning.

  • CFA:

You might be surprised to hear that, but there are no teachers at CFA. You will have to go through the study material on your own. And that’s why CFA admits only professional individuals so that one can easily understand the core concepts.

Special Features of FMVA:

  • It is favorable for Beginners
  • It can be finished in just 6 months
  • It emphasized practical knowledge rather than theoretical knowledge
  • The courses are  into several modules that make it quite engaging and interesting for students to learn
  • After enrolling in FMVA, you will get access to all 4 courses at the same time
  • You can give your exam anywhere and anytime as per your schedule. There is no fixed date and time for exams
  • FMVA provides a 30-day free trial. You can choose in these 30 days if you want to continue further studies or not
  • The courses provided contain quality information and quality study material globally recognized
  • The skills you will learn are far more valuable and useful than one can use in the field
  • Instructors are quite engaging and helpful 
  • The fee structure of FMVA certification is quite low instead of the fact that they provide excellent skills and study material
  • Passing the FMVA exam is easier than the CFA exam
  • You will learn some amazing and valuable skills such as Macabacus Excel Plugin, Pitchbook Data, etc.

Special Features of CFA:

  • It is brought in only for proficient individuals in the financial field
  • You will get a deep knowledge of the syllabus and concepts of CFA
  • It has a structured curriculum
  • There are wide applications for this certification program
  • The certificate given is recognized and adds much value to your resume. Consider it the highest significant certificate of finance experts because of its exam difficulty level
  • The career opportunities are better for CFA than that for FMVA
  • CFA is not for corporate finance individuals
  • The study material of CFA is enough for clearing all three level exams

Disadvantages of FMVA Certification:

The disadvantages of enrolling in the course include:

  • The study and examination hours are flexible. You can schedule it according to your convenience
  • There are exclusive career opportunities and are not as many as in CFA
  • The Certification is uncommon for corporate finance individuals or freshers in financial fields and mostly benefits analysts

Disadvantages of CFA Certification:

The disadvantages of enrolling in CFA Certification include:

  • The Fee structure is very high 
  • The completion time of the course is too long that is about 4 years
  • There will be on-site examinations on a fixed date and fixed schedule and you will have to be available at that time
  • The study material provided is boring and long-form. One might lose interest in learning
  • Prior experience the n financial field suited for enrolling
  • Not applicable for corporate finance individuals
  • There are instructors for teaching. You will have to depend on yourself for learning and understanding
  • The whole course is theory-based and there is almost no practical knowledge.
  • The difficulty level of the exam is tough. You will have to clear ale three exams to get a certificate


Hence these were all the major differences and a clear battle, FMVA vs CFA. Both have them. But no one is inferior to others. 

You should enroll in the FMVA program if you are a beginner in the financial field. 

And if you are an experienced individual then you should surely opt for CFA. It does add value to your CV.

Both certification courses are worth taking. You can choose according to your needs and preferences.

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