When you want to advance your finance career, you have many certifications from which to choose, some of which are highlighted below. Earn one or more of these certifications, and your career in finance is sure to soar!
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
The CFA charger is essential in organizational money management and private wealth management, especially for those dealing with a more sophisticated clientele.
Earning your CFA takes a lot of time and effort, but excellent online CFA exam prep programs are available to make it easier.
A CFA needs to satisfy several ethics requirements, have a minimum of four years of relevant finance experience, and complete three tough exams in portfolio management and securities analysis.
The CFA Institute has a Council of Examiners that keeps the CFA curriculum up to date and relevant to current challenges in the finance world.
This is one of the best certifications to earn because most large financial services employers list the CFA as mandatory or highly preferred.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
Finance professionals interested in a slightly different approach to financial planning may want to become a CFP; money management is just one aspect of this program.
The CFP curriculum is multidisciplinary, and the certification covers education, asset management, insurance, employee benefit, tax, and estate planning.
To become a CFP, you need to have a college degree, complete the CFP coursework, have at least three years of related work experience, and pass a six-hour board examination.
CFP certification is often the choice for fee-based financial planners who want to have a larger-picture view of their customers’ finances.
Most CFPs are in the US, but the CFP Board Of Standards has made the certification more globally relevant by setting up the examination outside the US with the Financial Planning Standards Board.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
While this is not a certification, earning your CPA license is a significant asset in business planning, tax preparation, and financial analysis. Other than a CPA, only a lawyer or enrolled agent can represent clients in front of the IRS.
Also, CPAs often achieve notable operational roles in large corporations. Some of the top occupations in finance with a CPA include chief financial officer and chief operating officer.
CPAs are highly knowledgeable in the double-system entry of accounting, which makes them experts in financial statement analysis.
Chartered Life Underwriter/Chartered Financial Consultant (CLU/ChFC)
The CLU and ChFC are two of the oldest certifications in the financial services industry. Both are rooted in the insurance industry and are offered by The American College.
Both certifications cover material that somewhat overlaps with the CFP examination, but insurance planning is stressed more. To attain the CLU and ChFC, you need to pass eight multiple-choice exams on estate planning, taxation, and investment management.
Note that both certifications are intended mainly for securities and insurance producers to boost sales via improved knowledge on many topics.
Three years of related work experience is required to sit for both examinations.
Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC)
If your career is focused on mutual funds, you may want to earn your CMFC. To achieve this certification, you need to take a 10-week course and pass several examinations overseen by the College for Financial Planning.
The curriculum prepares you to understand the intricacies of the mutual fund field and related investment products.
Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
Professionals with their CMA are experts in management accounting and often work in corporate management accounting instead of private accounting. CMA holders use their skills in management and accounting to make critical financial business decisions for their employers.
If you decide to earn one or more of these desirable certifications, you’ll likely enjoy better career prospects and salaries for years to come.