There are many options to choose from when looking to improve your financial analysis skills or your resume. All over the United States (and even overseas) there are colleges, universities, and private organizations that offer a wide variety of programs to improve your skills. And while most of the offers are quite valuable, it usually wouldn’t make sense to take more than two of these programs.
The top three sources for obtaining financial analyst training and designation are universities, designation and certification programs, and training programs. If you decide to go the college or university route, you will likely pay a hefty premium in fees over a two to three year period. The good news is, you’ll get how-to, tips, group projects, and feedback. The bad news is that the process can take a few years, and unless you can get into a well-known school, few employers will recognize the name of the training provider on your resume.
Let’s move this article to types of designations other than post-secondary programs, as most people who pursue a designation usually also have a university or college education.
Key points to remember
- Financial analyst training can be acquired through universities, training programs, and specialist certification programs.
- Three of the most well-known designations are Specialist Financial Analyst, Chartered Financial Analyst, and Chartered International Financial Analyst.
- Niche areas such as hedge fund portfolio management, private wealth management or financial modeling may require specific knowledge.
Specialist Financial Analyst (FAS)
The Financial Analyst Specialist (FAS) designation program is a financial analysis designation that offers a solution at your pace. This program is completely internet-based and can be completed from anywhere in the world in as little as two to three months. This program consists of watching video instructions, strategy project, compulsory book reading, study guide, practice exams and online tests. It covers everything from basic financial concepts, such as net present value, to more complex methods of ratio analysis.
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
Another financial analysis designation that has been around for many decades is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program. This is a great program for those new to investing and wanting exposure to a broad financial base.
Applicants must pass three levels of exams covering areas such as accounting, economics, ethics, money management, and securities analysis. Obtaining the CFA designation is an exhausting process, so try to weigh the benefits it will bring to you and your career against the disadvantages of going through the process.
Although this program is relatively expensive compared to others, it is also very popular and respected.
Chartered International Financial Analyst (LIFA)
Another financial analyst designation is the Chartered International Financial Analyst (LIFA) designation, which is also investment-oriented with a strong emphasis on ethical issues in the global context. This program covers topics such as asset valuation, economics, portfolio management, and quantitative analysis. It is flexible and relatively inexpensive, but it is a new and less recognized designation compared to other programs.
Before you decide that these types of designations may not be right for you, consider this: Many of the top paying financial analysis jobs are in niche areas, such as hedge fund portfolio management, wealth management. private or financial modeling. Since general training in financial analysis may not be as useful as training specific to an industry or a job, you may want to consider taking a program tailored to the industry in which you want to work in. your career.
Examples of these types of programs are Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), Certified Hedge Fund Professional (CHP), or Certified Market Technician (CMT).
When choosing a title to pursue, it is important to first understand and have a solid understanding of the potential doors that the program will open. It is usually best for a potential candidate to have a few years of work experience in order to determine which designation best suits their career choice.
The last option is to NOT pay the tuition and train yourself. The advantage here is that you can save thousands of dollars in tuition fees. In terms of the downsides, it requires more self-discipline than a lot of people, and your resume will look more solid if you join any of the above programs.
If you want your resume to stand out, having a few letters after your name can be very helpful.
The most important thing to remember is that when you take a course at a college or university, the quality of that organization’s branding is reflected on you. If you’re taking a program at your local state university that few people will recognize or respect, you might as well take a cheaper community college program for less money. If, on the other hand, you can attend a prestigious school or take a top financial analyst designation program, you can really give your resume a boost while learning more about the industry.