The finance sector is full of exciting opportunities, including careers in banking, the stock market, and accounting, among other industries. In order to break into these careers, though, you’ll need the right preparation and certifications, and that means you need to have a plan.
Get started today by learning more about these three core exams commonly taken by finance professionals. By gaining a better understanding of what they cover and what roles they apply to, you just might discover what career is right for you.
Financial Risk Management
Risk is a major concern in finance careers, so much so that risk managers play a central role in many organizations. However, in order to become a financial risk manager (FRM) – a status overseen by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) – you need to demonstrate your grasp fo the issues at hand by taking a challenging two part exam.
Just how hard is it to pass the FRM exam? Considered to be one of the hardest finance certifications, past students say it typically takes between 400 and 900 hours of preparation to tackle the exam content, and only 40% of students pass the first part of the test.
Between the two parts, the FRM exam requires that applicants demonstrate an understanding of the foundations of risk management, as well as strong quantitative skills, as well as testing more specific account management issues like credit risk management. This can be a hard field to break into for those who are new to the finance industry, and may be better suited for those trying to climb the ranks.
Certified Public Accountant
Another test that’s commonly undertaken by individuals pursuing careers in finance is the certified public accountant (CPA) exam – and while this test may seem more foundational than the FRM exam, don’t be fooled. The CPA exams is made up of four sections that need to be completed within an 18-month window. One advantage of this test, though, is that students can choose what order to take the exam in, whichallows them to spend extra time studying for areas in which they feel they won’t perform as well. Depending on how the test is structured, administrators often see annual trends in testing order.
If you’ve ever considered a career as a stockbroker, you may have noticed there’s an overwhelming number of different tests that are part of brokerage qualifications – but which ones do you need? Though specific testing requirements depend on your career goals, the first test that most brokers take is the Series 7 exam. Also known the General Securities Representative Exam, the majority of brokers then build their skills and the types of securities they’re permitted to trade over time, taking additional exams. While you can certainly build a full career with just the Series 7 certification, top brokers generally hold a number of others.
Start With Certifications
Regardless of what aspect of the finance industry interests you, you’ll almost certainly need to pass qualification exams to work in the field, which is why interested individuals should pay close attention to testing requirements. The fact is, finance is a sensitive field, and a degree on its own – even an MBA – can’t demonstrate the type of precise mastery that’s necessary to participate in critical financial operations. Once you’ve earned your first certification, though, doors will begin to open.