What Are the Top Professional Certification Courses for Finance?

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Finance certification courses are the basis of a finance career. And if someone is exceptional in statistics and mathematics, with a good reasoning power and analytical skill, then finance is the correct career choice for them.

Finance is a huge field with many sub-divisions, and each of them requires specializing to excel at. Professional finance certification courses give a candidate an edge over others while seeking a job.

What are the advantages of professional certification courses for finance?

  • They motivate students to perform better and proceed towards a rewarding career
  • They increase the value for money of the individuals, hence recruiters look out for such individuals
  • Higher degrees of education give job security
  • Individuals with professional certification gets 15 percent more than the average remuneration

What are the top professional certification courses for finance?

  1. Chartered Financial Analyst(CFA) –

Is one of the most common and widely accepted professional certification courses in the market? In the last few years, the demand for chartered financial analysts has increased considerably. CFA is granted by the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute. To become a chartered financial analyst, an individual need to qualify the CFA exam. An individual with a CFA certification can get a job in different fields like investment banking, portfolio management, ethical practices and economics.

  • Career options –

A CFA degree helps an individual land up with a job as a financial analyst for international banks, mutual fund companies, insurance companies and consultancy firms.

  • Advantages of having a CFA degree –

A CFA degree enables an individual to become a member of the CFA institute. This institute which is a group of leading investors all over the world, gives the individual an international exposure by being associated with more than 140 CFA member societies dispersed all over the world in over 65 countries.

  • Certified Public Accountant(CPA) –

CPA is an advanced accounting certification. The reputed American Institute of Certified Public Accountants offers this certification course to professionals with or without an experience in the field of finance and accounting. Individuals with a CFA certification can also acquire a CPA certification only if they have an amazing standard of proficiency and depth of knowledge, as well as a minimum of one-year experience of practicing public accounting.

A CPA certification is the representation of the highest order of methodical competence, and exhibits accomplishment and a promise of commitment for professional in the field of accounting. CPA accredited professionals are qualified to carry out audits in the field of public accounting. To get a CPA degree, an individual need to ace four exams – auditing and attestation, accounting and reporting, business environment and concepts and regulation.

  • Career options –

With the ever-increasing number of start-up business companies, changing laws related to finance and complexities of local and international tax and regulations, the demand for CPA professionals are on the rise. CPA professionals have exceptional analytical skills and can address complex business problems. They are highly recommended in fields like tax, compliance, forensic accounting and risk management.

  • Financial Risk Manager(FRM) –

With the great recession, innumerable people are losing their jobs every day. Businesses are failing and companies are facing huge losses. To save a business or a company from being adversely affected under the conditions of recession, the demand for risk management and risk analysts are increasing. Hence, experienced professionals with financial risk management certification are in great demand in the market. FRM is widely accepted all over the world and improves an individual’s risk management skills and enables that person to solve real-life crisis situations.

  • FRM examination –

The syllabus is so vast that the FRM examination is divided in two parts and is taken twice a year – in May and November. The examination is conducted by The Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).  To become a risk analyst in the market, an individual need to clear both the parts of the examination and must have an experience of at least 2 years as a financial risk management analyst.

  • Career options –

The broad field is of a risk analyst but a FRM accredited individual can practice risk management analysis in different fields like liquidity, investment, credit market, and non-market operational risks. The various job portfolios available are that of an analyst, consultant, advisor, asset liability manager, risk control manager, credit manager for hedge funds and any financial company including banks, investment firms, insurance companies and credit rating corporations.

  • Advantages of a professional certification in financial risk management –

FRM degree has an international recognition and boosts the profile of any candidate because having a FRM degree establishes an individual’s dedication and commitment to the principles of risk management. In recent times, companies have rapidly hit the global market; this has created an opportunity for FRMs not only in financial services, but also in fields like manufacturing and information technology.

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) –

Are the most common and popular professional certification course for individuals who want to pursue a career in financial planning? The domain of CFP covers an expertise in the field of estate planning, insurance and retirement, investment, tax, benefits of employee and risk.

This unique certification is given to individuals who successfully complete the CFP examination organized by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Studies Inc. (CFP Board) in the United States of America and by the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) in countries which do not follow CFP Board. The CFP course certification is recognized by more than 25 countries worldwide.

  • CFP course and examination –

The Certified Financial Planner course structure has five main sections – insurance, investment, estate planning, tax and retirement. Insurance itself covers the domains of planning of education, ethics and modules pertaining to financial planning processes. The total course duration is of approximately 18 – 24 months, as each course takes 45 to 60 days to be completed. Previously, CFP examination was taken over the duration of 2 days. These 2 days were divided in 3 parts and in total, it took almost 10 hours to complete the CFP examination. However, lately, the format of the examination has undergone digitalization, where there are two sections of 3 hours each.

  • Advantages of a professional course on certified financial planning –

Covering all domains and aspects of financial planning, a CFP certification provides an individual with better job prospects than his/her contemporaries without the professional certification.

  • Financial Modeling Certification –

If an individual is stuck in his job and is in look out for better opportunities and promotions, then the course to opt for is Financial Modeling Certification. Professionals from all domains like investment bankers, fund managers in real estate firms, finance manager, consultants, lawyers and accountants are eligible for enrolling themselves under the financial modeling certification professional course.

  • Expertise of financial modeling –

Financial modeling is a basic and widely accepted certification course. It gives an edge to financial experts by enabling them to develop effective models. These models can be used for a variety of purposes including representation of financial accounts, evaluation and analysis of investment and insurance schemes and thereby help in taking decisions to overcome crucial business problems.

  • Course –

The professional certification course on financial modeling is based on modeling of valuation, merger and acquisition, modeling of project finance, macros, advanced functions and dash boarding and charting techniques.

  • Career options –

Professionals with a certification in financial modeling can pursue career in both corporate and finance banking. These professionals are responsible for taking care of investment banking, equity research, corporate and project finance, business and financial analysis, mergers and acquisitions and credit rating.

  • Certified Credit Professional (CCP) –

The Credit Institute of Canada (CIC) grants this certification to credit management professionals to validate their training, knowledge and abilities.

  • Course structure and examination –

The Certified Credit Professional (CCP) course is designed in a manner that it can enable a credit professional to excel at all spheres of credit management. The course structure is divided into eight modules and each module has an examination at the end of the term.

The maximum time limit given to an individual to complete the certification course is not more than seven years; however, with hard work and dedication, the course can be completed within two to three years. But the professional certification course for credit professionals has an eligibility criterion. Professionals with a minimum of five years of experience in the field can only apply for this certification course.

  • Career options –

While the obvious options for a certified credit professional to get a job as a credit analyst, claims manager or credit risk manager, they can also get job prospects to handle the credit department of multiple sectors and is not just restricted to banks.

  • Advantages of pursuing certifies credit professional course –

Getting a professional certification on credit, not only gives an individual to become a part of the Credit Institute of Canada (CIC), but also lets them take part in professional development courses and trainings organized by CIC time and again.

What are the upcoming professional certification courses in finance?

While the above six are the most opted for professional certification courses in the financial industry, but the list doesn’t end here. There are some other common finance certificate programs too which are getting more recognition with each day.

  • Certified Management Accountant –

The Institute of Management Accountants offers a certification course on management accountancy which is internationally recognized. This professional course is useful for professionals wanting to pursue a career in the fields of budgeting, financial analysis and strategic assessment.

  • Chartered Global Management Accountant(CGMA) –

The Institute of Chartered Public Accountants (ICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) together conducts the professional certification course of CGMA. A CGMA credited professional is an expert in the field of research and tool in the global network. CGMA is the international alternative for CPA.

  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) –

The Information Systems Audit and Control Association which is responsible for dealing with security, information systems control and auditing, confers the CISA certification to professionals.

  • Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) –

The only certification course accepted for internal auditors worldwide is the Certified Internal Auditor course. This course enables a professional to deal with control of risk pertaining to information technology.

While having a regular bachelors and master’s degree in finance is enough to fetch you a job, but if you wish to grow and become successful in your professional life, it is always advisable to undergo professional training. This is true for professionals in all fields.

However, a professional certification course in finance opens doors of opportunities for individuals. These professional courses are meant to focus on an aspect and turn you into an expert of the same field. This gives financial professionals an authority about their knowledge and experience over their contemporaries without such a professional certification. These degrees are lucrative to the recruiters and the number of job openings increase drastically.

The best part about any certification course in the field of finance is that these are not regular courses. These are specially designed courses which an individual can enroll for even when continuing with his/her existing job. These courses are mostly part-time, thereby enabling individuals to dedicate their time and effort to their workplace too. Recently, these professional certification courses are also made available online.

So, an individual has access to all materials always and can study depending on his/her schedule. The examinations can also be written online, thereby making the process simpler and faster.

These courses are also recommended by higher authorities at workplaces because these courses will help them specialize in their field and deliver better work.

So, as a gesture of support, workplaces not only encourage professionals to enroll for professional certification courses, but also support them financially to pursue these courses.

Author Bio

Maja Kazazic is a well know professional in the field of business and management. After graduating from Harvard Business School with a MBA degree, he pursued her career in the top international firms and made a reputation for herself. He has now decided to train students and motivate them to follow her journey. He conducts online classes to guide students to make their way through school and land in their dream job.