What Is the CMT Association?

The CMT Association, formerly called the Market Technicians Association, is the largest and most well-known industry group for technical analysts. The group promotes education, professional development and hosts a symposium each year, at which new advances in the field often make their debut.

The CMT Association is best known for issuing the Chartered Market Technician® (CMT) designation, a rigorous certification program that demonstrates a broad knowledge of the discipline of technical analysis. Similar to the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program for fundamental analysts, the CMT involves three exams. Each covers specific areas within the field and requires hundreds of hours of study.

Those who pass all three tests become CMT Charterholders, a designation that reflects their knowledge of financial markets, price behavior, timing, and risk management.

Key Takeaways

  • The CMT Association is a global credentialing body that confers the Chartered Market Technician® (CMT) designation.
  • The CMT charter is awarded to practitioners of technical analysis worldwide who pass a rigorous self-study program.
  • The CMT Association's philosophy is grounded in behavioral economics and extends beyond classical pattern recognition techniques to include quantitative approaches to market research and rules-based trading system design and testing.

How the CMT Association Works

The CMT Association exclusively administers the CMT® Program. Individuals holding the CMT® Designation must master the many areas of expertise within technical analysis. Topics covered by the CMT examinations include price-pattern recognition at the market, sector, and individual security level, programmatic trading, statistical analysis, trading management, behavioral finance, and trading-systems testing. The program also incorporates an emphasis on ethical behavior.

The CMT Program is comprehensive and exposes students to all aspects of technical analysis. Through the program’s teachings, students learn to make emotionless decisions in the markets and to incorporate many types of analyses when designing trading systems, or simply trading individual securities.

Typically, the CMT Program takes about two-and-a-half or three years to complete, although those who already hold a CFA designation can skip the first of the three CMT tests and complete the required tests in roughly two years.

Special Considerations

In addition to the CMT Program, the CMT Association hosts opportunities for continuing education for all its members, with online webcasts, seminars, and many live events at the chapter level. For example, the CMT Association has local chapters in both New York and Boston.

The association also hosts an online Career Development Center, includes access to academic papers and research from other members, and provides networking opportunities. Additionally, the association provides continuing education opportunities through daily, monthly, and annual publications, online webcasts, and seminars.

CMT Association vs. CFA Institute

The CMT Association, though in existence for roughly 50 years, is not as well-known as the CFA Institute, which issues tests for fundamental analysts. Many more students sit for the CFA tests than the CMT tests.

However, a growing number of analysts seem to be embracing the combination of the two disciplines, and a way to bring added skills to investing and portfolio management, namely around timing, risk management, and how price behavior intersects with security valuations.