Certified Private Equity Associate (CPEA)

The Overview

CPEA prepares graduating finance, accounting and business students best for quick, impressive starts to their careers in the exciting private equity industry, laying a foundation for a faster growth as a bonus.

The CPEA credential efficiently tops-up your current degree in finance, accounting or investment management for smoothing your entry in the private equity industry. Among the most esteemed global PE qualifications around, the CPEA ratifies and stamps best your potential and promise of handling even the most complex of roles in the PE space. The rigorous USPEC IFIS standards underlying the CPEA certification govern and control CPEA exam content, policies and credentialing mechanism to ensure that individuals qualifying the CPEA program are indeed, most thorough in their knowledge and skills and fit to hit the ground running for achieving extraordinary results for their organizations. You can register for CPEA anywhere you may be in the world, and take your certification exam right in your city. We cover 7500 locations today, serving CPEA exams in state-of-the-art Pearson test centers across more than 170 countries.

Certified Private Equity Associate


Pre-registrations are currently open for the spanking new CPEA version marked to the updated USPEC IFIS Ver 0016-1.3 launching September 28, 2017.

Pre-Register Now
CPEA Exam Fee: $ 550 USD

Just Why is the CPEA a Blockbuster Credential

CPEA stands tall as an industry-focused qualification primarily because it has been developed after extensive research and consultations with more than three dozen experienced and accomplished PE experts including chief investment officers, principal partners, fund managers and investment principals. Remember, the same people who eventually hire talents for their PE firms.

For another, the comprehensive and insightful USPEC IFIS standards framework ensures every CPEA certified professional has been proven profession-ready because she has qualified CPEA exams that cover even the more advanced managerial and decision aspects of private equity business and functions.

Register Online

Register 24X7. Online.

The moment you decide you have to look at a bigger, swankier Private Equity career, just storm right into the CPEA segment on the USPEC website, anytime of the day – or better still – even in the night! Pick a coffee. Just click Apply. And within minutes, you’ll be done – registered for what is the world’s most powerful qualification the young and the bubbly Private Equity professionals can earn today! Everything happens smooth: you apply; you complete your CPEA registration; schedule your CPEA exam and pay-up for it using your credit card, and receive a couple of email notes from us – all before you finish your coffee! In the meanwhile, your smart and meaty CPEA learning resources kit has been pushed on its way to you.

World’s Best Learning Resources on Private Equity

Unlike other certification bodies, USPEC neither provides any special exam preparation material, nor asks individuals registered for CPEA Certification to purchase any such text or kits from any external organization. Instead, USPEC focuses on empowering the registrants with text and learning resources that help them build and expand their knowledge of Private Equity. USPEC, hence, does provide the CPEA Resource Box complimentary to every CPEA registrant, containing printed and electronic resources with complete information on the CPEA Certification as well as the latest on USPEC standards and Private Equity theory and practice. The Resource Box includes the USPEC flagship publication – Private Equity- The USPEC Handbook for Practitioners– the world’s first and the only standards-aligned and the most authoritative text on the science and art of Private Equity ever. It’s a book for life for all Investment and Private Equity professionals, and also the most important reading reference for preparing for CPEA Certification exams. Besides this, a copy each of the renowned The FIS Body of Knowledge; and The USPEC PE Studyware also sit inside the CPEA Resource Box. Once you receive CPEA Resource Box, you are set for commencing your journey to becoming a Private Equity professional ready for the most very best of global employers. Start your preparation for your CPEA exam, which you can take in a Pearson VUE test center near you – and we’ve got these centers almost anywhere you may be.

Learning Resources

The Candidacy Tracks

CPEA Track

The following table summarizes the specifics of what it takes to become a CPEA. Following is the convenient track covering Finance and Private Equity professionals from diverse backgrounds and experience to earn a CPEA!
  • Minimum Qualification Required
    Students or Holders of a Graduate/ Master's Degree or Diploma qualification in Business/ Finance/ Management/ Accounting/ Economics or in any other discipline related to capital markets, finance, investments or accounting.

  • Minimum Work Experience
    Experience not Mandatory; basic understanding about entrepreneurship, funding, banking, corporate finance, investments, capital markets, accounting and business is desirable

Getting the CPEA - A Preview of the Journey

There are eight distinct stages of your journey toward becoming a CPEA. Here's what these stages look like. Of course, we've just tried to take you through a quick tour, so many of the details may be missing. You may Contact Us for more information.

The CPEA Journey

  • 1CHECK +

    Check if you fit the CPEA candidacy requirements.


    Once you have finished applying, please wait for our acknowledgement response email with instructions for the next course of actions regarding assessments etc. Simultaneously, we also initiate the process for assessing your candidacy and to arrive at a prima-facie or a provisional decision about your fit for the CPEA Credential.


    Check your emails on the The Strategy Institute-registered mailbox for a communication from Pearson VUE. These emails contain your Authorization-To-Test (ATT) and Web Account details, which will help you to create your Web Account. Click Here, if you have your Pearson Web Account login information and the ATT details, and want to schedule your exam now.

  • 7CPEA EXAM +

    You get 225 days from the date of registration and successful payment to prepare for and complete your online CPEA exams, which you can take in a Pearson Test Center nearest to you. The books included in the CPEA Resource Box should help you brace up nicely for your CPEA Certification exam. Please read more about CPEA exams in the dedicated section on the subject.

  • 2APPLY +

    If you meet the CPEA candidacy criteria, please fill out the online application form for the CPEA program from your myUSPEC available on www.uspec.org. Click here to create your myUSPEC.


    An internal check is conducted to validate your credentials against the prescribed candidacy prerequisites for earning the CPEA.


    Post your payment confirmation, one unit of the CPEA Resource Box containing reading and learning material is shipped to the address you have registered with us.

  • 8AWARD +

    If you qualify the CPEA exam and meet other conditions laid down by the Private Equity Certifications Board (PECB), you are recommended for the award of the CPEA Credential and the CPEA Digital Badge is immediately issued to you. You can expect the shipment of the physical pack of credential to reach you within three to four weeks of the date of the award.

digital badge

The Digitally Badged CPEA

CPEA Credential is digitally badged by CredBadge to acknowledge your interest earned in finance, accounting, and business while studying, ensuring that you are profession-ready. Thereon, the employers worldwide can easily perceive your CPEA emblazoned profile.

CPEA Credential Upgrade to SPEA

Upgrade is mandatory to keep your certification live and current. When you upgrade, you show your continuing competence and commitment to the profession. If you fulfill the candidacy norms of SPEA, USPEC will send reminder emails for upgrading your credential, or you can log into myUSPEC Account and register for CPEA upgrade to SPEA. In order to receive email reminders from USPEC, please make sure to keep your email address current.

Upgrading your CPEA Credential to SPEA Credential

  • Step 1 - Apply for upgrade by logging into myUSPEC account on uspec.org by updating changes in your application form if any
  • Step 2 - Pay your CPEA upgrade fee online.
  • Step 3 - You will receive the ATT (Authorization to Test) and Web Account login details on your registered email from Pearson VUE within 48 hours, which will help you to schedule your exam.
  • Step 4 - Receive one unit of the SPEA Private Equity Studyware containing reading and learning material to the address you have registered with us.
  • Step 5 – Post your successful assessment, you will get your SPEA Credential certificate & a new digital badge.

CPEA Credential Upgrade Policy – 2017

  • Life of the Credential (in years from the date of award) +

    The CPEA Credential is valid for 3 years. The CPEA Credential is not renewable, and can only be upgraded to SPEA. Credential-holders will be required to upgrade their CPEA Credential to SPEA – as applicable or permissible – to remain certified.

  • Standard Credential Upgrade Policy +

    An CPEA Credential can be upgraded* to SPEA, subject to fulfilment of the candidacy norms by the credential-holder, and upon successful completion of the prescribed online SPEA assessment as per the latest IFIS Body of Knowledge in the nearby Pearson test center.

    *Two months before the expiry of the credential validity of award of CPEA. Please note that after upgrade to SPEA, your CPEA Credential will expire. Refer to the fee schedule, CPEAU-1 for upgrade to SPEA.

  • Standard Credential Upgrade Window +

    The CPEA Credential Upgrade Window will open 60 days before the expiry of the credential and ends after 60 days from the date of expiry of the CPEA credential.

  • Standard Credential Upgrade Deadline +

    Before the expiry of the credential validity, e.g.; if the credential, was awarded on April 1, 2014, the Standard Upgrade Deadline will be March 31, 2017 i.e. 3 years after the award of the credential.

  • Credential Upgrade Convenience Period +

    A CPEA Credential can be upgraded to SPEA, within maximum 60 days from the date it expires, by paying the prescribed fee (Refer to the fee schedule, CPEAU-2). If upgrade formalities are not completed within this period, the upgrade to SPEA option will be withdrawn, in this case the CPEA Credential will expire.

  • Validity of a Upgraded Credential +

    The SPEA Credential’s validity will start 1 day after the expiry of the previously awarded credential i.e. CPEA. e.g.; if the CPEA Credential is expiring on March 31, 2017, the SPEA credential validity will start from April 1, 2017 irrespective of the actual date of upgrade for the next 3 years only.


Schedule Code Upgrade Categories Fees Deadline
CPEAU-1 STANDARD UPGRADE TO SPEA USD 350 60 days before the expiry of the credential validity of award of CPEA.
CPEAU-2 UPGRADE DURING THE CONVENIENCE PERIOD USD 400 60 days after the expiry of the credential validity of award of CPEA.

The CPEA Credential Case

CPEA Credential encloses in an élite fashionable box, for the reason that the elegant credential pack ought to simply be another sound inspiration for you to work a bit harder to succeed in the USPEC Certification exam enthusiastically. Placed neatly inside the folder-box, The CPEA Credential is accompanied by a lapel pin, which you can wear on your favorite shirt/ coat pockets, and flaunt your CPEA Certification. Moreover, there is a booklet for Code of Ethics by USPEC, which is a quintessence for epoch.

Credential Case


Pre-registrations are currently open for the spanking new CPEA version marked to the updated USPEC IFIS Body of Knowledge Ver 11-1.3 launching September 28, 2017.

Pre-Register Now