The job market is flooded with new opportunities for finance professionals. Many of these jobs do not even require a degree in finance or commerce. However, it is always a good idea to equip yourself with some additional training and certifications because, in this competitive job market, your knowledge will only help you stay ahead of the rest.
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With the financial job market constantly evolving, there is a need for specialists who are excellent on a particular aspect of finance. While degree and diplomas follow a generalist approach to teaching, certifications offer a finer level of expertise which can be of great help when there comes a demand for a specialist. However, there is some confusion regarding the difference between a license and a certification which must be cleared before further discussion.
A license is offered by the government or any other conferring body and is the minimum requirement for conducting a particular business or starting your own practice. For instance, if you want to enter the insurance industry and sell insurances to new clients and individuals, then you must apply for a license. It is the equivalent of a government approval that allows you to conduct this business. Another popular example is that of a stockbroker.
Only a licensed stockbroker can discuss or sell stocks, bonds and derivatives and this license is earned by passing the government sponsored S7 General Securities Representative exam by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Thus, a license is the bare minimum requirement for conducting business as a financial advisor, stock broker, tax consultant and virtually every financial business. A certification, on the other hand, adds to your credibility and gives your personal brand a much-needed boost in the cut-throat competition.
These certifications will add weight to your candidature when dealing with wealthy clients. Here is a couple of such certifications that offer best value for money:
Chartered Financial Analyst
Perhaps the most common of them all, CFA is a globally recognized certification, approved by investment professionals, employers as well as investors. The CFA program offers candidates perfect balance of hands-on knowledge and theory which is needed for a fruitful career in the investment profession. The CFA certification teaches students about a number of topics such as portfolio management, accounting, and derivatives.
CFA is divided into different levels, with minimum 18 study sessions for each level. It is a self-study based program and you will have to pass at least three consecutive levels with each exam six hours long. As per the guys at CFA Institute, the average time duration taken by candidates to complete this program is four years.
In addition, CFA certification requires a minimum work experience of four years. The RoI of pursuing this difficult certification are handsome as most sound financial service employers list CFA charter as highly desirable. With a CFA, you can apply to titles such as Financial Analyst, Business Planner, Investment Banking Analyst or Consultant. This blog post at Udemy, the online course provider sums up all details about becoming a CFA, including salaries and possible titles.
Certified Financial Planner
The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, a US-based organization, offers CFP certification to those who want a more holistic view of money management and financial planning. To pursue CFP certification one must be a college graduate. To be called as a Certified Financial Planner, you will have to complete financial planning coursework and satisfy a three work experience requirement.
Although it is prominently a US concept, the global financial world recognizes CFP through Financial Planning Standards Board. It is non-profit organization that sets standards for the exam in different countries that administer it. To remain a continual part of CFP, you must pay annual fees and also constantly upgrade yourself to meet the on-going continuing education requirements.
Financial Risk Management
As per the official site, Financial Risk Management is a globally recognized standard for every professional who manages or intends to manage risk. Financial Risk Managers do just what they are trained to do- administer credit risks, market risks, liquidity risks and any other types of risks arising out of any seen, unseen market force. In order to be an accomplished Financial Risk Manager, you must pass two comprehensive exams and posses two years professional full-time experience in this field or related field such as industry research, portfolio management, and auditing.
While these are some certifications for beginning a stable and thriving career finance industry, there are some online certification courses for finance that you can pursue even while being a part of the industry. The purpose of these courses is to keep you updated on the latest trends and industry standards. In this competitive age, it helps to remain updated to stay ahead of the game.
Author: Aditya Singhal