If you are employed in the financial services sector and are ready to take a step up the career ladder, finance certifications are a great way to get there. Pursuing financial certifications yields increased technical expertise and credentials that increase your value to current employers and potential ones, opening doors for new career opportunities. Those credentials can also increase the level of confidence clients have in your knowledge, skill and integrity as a finance professional. Last, but not least, finance professionals who hold these credentials typically earn more than those who do not, so a finance certification increases your income potential. Here, we'll outline some of the more popular finance certifications available for career advancement.
Certified Financial Planner Certification (CFP)
This certification is granted exclusively by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board), CFP certification is recognized as the highest standard of personal financial planning. A multidisciplinary credential, CFP certification verifies a holder's expertise in insurance, asset management employee benefit, tax, education and estate planning. The route to a CFP certification includes holding a bachelor's degree in any discipline, completing CFP coursework – typically via a CFP-Registered program – and passing an exam administered by the CFP Board.
Series 6 Certification
This is a securities certification administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Also known as the limited-investment securities license, the series 6 qualifies holders to sell investment company and variable contract products. To receive this FINRA certification, candidates must pass the Series 6 exam. To be eligible to sit for the exam, candidates must be sponsored by a financial company who is a member of FINRA, a Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) or an exchange.
Series 7 Certification
Another FINRA certification, the Series 7 is also known as the General Securities Representative (GS) license. This finance certification qualifies holders to trade in most major types of individual securities, with the exception of real estate, commodities futures and life insurance. This credential is achieved by passing the FINRA-administered Series 7 exam.
Series 24 Certification
The Series 24 certification, also known as the General Securities Principal (GP), is a FINRA certification that verifies that a holder has the knowledge and skills to perform critical functions related to the supervisory management of a general securities broker-dealer. To be eligible to sit for the Series 24 exam, candidates must first pass one of the following exams: Series 7, 17, 37, 38, 57, 62, 79 or 82.
Series 66 Certification
Earning this securities certification requires a passing grade on the Series 66 exam. This exam, also known as the Uniform Combined State Law Examination, is the equivalent of both the series 63 and 65 exams. Series 63 certification qualifies holders as security agents, while series 65 qualifies holders as investment advisor representatives. Series 66 certification conveys all of these qualifications, eliminating the need to pursue the 63 and 65 financial certifications. Candidates must already hold a Series 7 certification in order to be eligible to sit for the Series 66 exam.
These are just a few examples of the many financial certifications that can help you climb the career ladder. Whether you are an entry-level employee or a seasoned finance professional, pursuing the right certifications can work to your advantage, providing you with the credentials you need to distinguish yourself from the competition and rise through the ranks to fulfill your career ambitions.
A CFP or FINRA certification is a key to beginning a career in finance. Through the Continuing Education department at Bryant & Stratton College you can take the first steps towards a career in this field.