These Are The 12 Best Financial Planning Certifications

David Luther
by David Luther
Get The Job, Rankings - 1 year ago
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In the ever-changing world of today’s financial markets, consumers and clients are only too aware that relying on a regular contribution to a 401k might not do the trick — and so they look to certified financial planners to help them clear away confusion and clarify best financial practices.

An aging and investment savvy population have caused this job market to boom, with an astonishing 30 percent growth projected over the next seven years. And as demand for experts increases, so will the certifying bodies that lay claim to industry-best training, which may make you wonder which designations will give you the best bang for your buck.

We go into more detail about each certification farther down (and what they stand for), but first, here’s a quick look at the top twelve certifications to give you an edge in the financial planning job market.

  1. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  2. Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  3. Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA)
  4. Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC)
  5. Accredited Estate Planner (AEP)
  6. Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC)
  7. Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC)
  8. Certified Fund Specialist (CFS)
  9. Certified Estate Planner (CEP)
  10. Certified Personal Finance Counselor (CPFC)
  11. Certified Financial Consultant (CFC)
  12. Certified Equity Professional (CEP)

Are you thinking about adding some of these money-making letters after your name? Read on to see which is best for you.

The CFA is one of the most respected and recognized investment management designation in the world, rivaling the value of an MBA. The CFA Program provides a strong foundation of advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management skills that will give you a career advantage. It’s more focused than many programs, and completing the program shows employers and clients you have mastered a broad range of practical portfolio management and advanced investment analysis skills.

This is a very broadly applicable certification: budgeting, retirement planning, education savings, managing your taxes and insurance coverage are all covered under the umbrella — the certification asserts that”financial planning” means much more than just investing, and ringing all the pieces of your financial life together is a challenging task. A CFP indicated that you’ve completed extensive training and experience requirements and are held to rigorous ethical standards. You’ll learn to understand the complexities of the changing financial climate and know how to make the best financial recommendations.

The CPWA certification is an advanced credential created specifically for wealth managers who work with high-net-worth clients, who have special needs, in particular a focus on the life cycle of wealth: accumulation, preservation, and distribution. Candidates who earn the certification learn to identify and analyze challenges high-net-worth individuals face, and understand how to develop specific strategies to minimize taxes, monetize and protect assets, maximize growth, and transfer wealth.

The American College offers a diverse selection of related certifications, but the one we’re focusing on here is their ChSNC, a designation that focuses on providing financial services professionals with the technical, collaborative and quantitative skills necessary to help clients with special needs through the Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC) designation. The ChSNC is the only credential on the market designed to provide special needs families with an advisor competent to address their unique concerns.

Awarded by the National Association of Estate Planners And Councils to recognized estate planning professionals who meet special requirements of education, experience, knowledge, professional reputation, and character, the AEPdesignation helps both clients and colleagues understand your belief in, and dedication to, the team concept of estate planning — you’ve got to have a credential already and some experience under your belt, but it’s well worth it.

With a bit more of a charitable nature, the AFC focuses on helping individuals understand the financial life cycle and educate clients in sound financial principles, as well as assist clients in the process of overcoming their financial indebtedness by helping clients identify and modify ineffective money management behaviors to guide clients in developing successful strategies for achieving their financial goals.

The goal of the CRPC is just what its name implies: to help you master every step of the retirement planning process and learn to create a “roadmap to retirement” for your clients. Financial advisors face an increasingly complex onslaught of retirement planning questions as aging baby boomers look for investments to meet their lifestyle needs in 10 years, 20 years, and beyond, as well as determining when they can actually retire.

This cutting-edge certification has a strong eye on the developing technological trends in mutual funds. Whether you are an accountant, advisor, banker, broker, money manager, or planner, the CFS program will equip you with the latest tools of contemporary investing, as well as sophisticated investment strategies that top financial advisors use on a daily basis for risk management, taxes, and estate planning.

The CEP certification conveys in a clearly comprehensible way to your community that you are qualified to help them understand the various options and nuances of estate planning, and as a part of a professional team, capable of developing a customized plan that fits their unique set of circumstances.

The CPFC provides professional development and training for those working with consumers in a one-on-one setting. This comprehensive program was designed to allow financial counselors to assist clients with establishing personal budgets, evaluating debt loads, setting financial goals, and developing a plan of action. Certification ensures that individuals have been trained and tested in counseling skills and the fundamentals of personal finance management.

The role of a CFC is to provide an independent, expert opinion on a proposed business plan or decision. The IFC developed the CFC to standardize practices and/or standards within the industry and advance financial consulting, and the certification comes with membership that provides recognition and opportunities for continuing development.

Santa Clara University’s CEP designation demonstrates that you are an expert in the equity compensation field — it provides the expertise required for designing, managing and administering equity compensation plans, and offers an internationally recognized designation for equity compensation professionals. Combined with its relevant industry research, professional development opportunities and extensive networking connections, the CEP is an essential resource for all equity compensation professionals.

Wrapping Up

That’s all for this one, but there’s more to see here at Zippia.

Are you a recent college grad with a Finance major on the job hunt? Find out what the ten best places are for you to find a job, or even where financial planner and financial advisor jobs near you.