The New York-based CFA Institute announced on Tuesday that almost 16,000 individuals are closer to attaining the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation now that they have passed the third and final examination required to become a CFA.

More than half (54%) of the 28,884 individuals throughout the world who took the Level III CFA exam in June were successful. In addition to passing three levels of examination, candidates will be declared CFAs once they have worked for four years in the investment industry, have signed a commitment to abide by the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct and become a member of the institute.

“Congratulations to the successful candidates who have demonstrated their commitment to the highest standard of professional knowledge and ethics,” says Paul Smith, president and CEO of CFA Institute, in a statement. “At CFA Institute, we aspire to develop future investment management professionals for the global financial markets. These candidates have taken the first step to earn the CFA designation and to join us in our pursuit to build professionalism, market integrity and a more trustworthy industry that puts clients’ interests above their own interests.”

More than 137,000 candidates sat for all three levels of the exam, with 11,136 coming from Canada. The passing rate for the combined three exams on a global basis was 46%.

The CFA Institute also saw a bump in the level of interest in the CFA designation, with the number of new candidates in the 2016 exam cycle growing by 15%.

Successful candidates study approximately 1,000 hours on average to master 8,500 pages of curriculum, which includes a focus on ethical and professional standards; financial reporting and analysis; corporate finance; economics; quantitative methods; equity, fixed-income and alternative investments; derivatives; portfolio management; and wealth planning, according to the CFA Institute’s announcement.