Top Professional Designations in Finance

The financial sector is a broad one and quite knit with a lot of checks and balances, as well as tons of methodologies. Hence, it is only just right that there are professional designations in place for professionals at different stages of their careers, beginner or expert. These professional designations do not only serve as acknowledgement that a finance person knows what they’re doing, it also sets them up for growth in the finance sector.

Here are some of the major professional designations in finance.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

This is a financial designation that has grown to be a top choice for both employers and employees in the finance sector. The certification is issued by the CFA Institute. While it is often regarded as very tough to obtain, it is also a very premium professional designation and upgrades finance professionals who have it by a mile. To be a Chartered Financial Analyst, candidates must have had three years of university or college course and must have learned the rudiments of certain finance subjects like financial accounting, financial/investment analysis, etc. Professionals with CFA certifications often work as financial analysts or portfolio managers for institutions like banks and insurance companies amongst others.

Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

For financial planners, the CFP certification is the most acquired designation and is recognized internationally. This professional designation serves as evidence for an individual’s expertise in the area financial planning for estate, investment, insurance, retirement, tax, and education. The CFP is administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards in the USA and by Financial Planning Standards Board outside the USA.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

The CPA certification is a valuable designation that validates a professional’s prowess in the area of tax, risk management, accounting (forensic), compliance, audit, etc. it is also the oldest financial certification in the United States and hence, its prestige. The designation can mostly be acquired by individuals who have received undergraduate education and a degree from a university. The additional requirements for CPA often change with states.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

This is a professional designation for internal auditors. The Certified Internal Auditor certification is the only internationally recognized certification for internal auditors and is administered by the Institute 0f Internal Auditors (IIA).

Financial Risk Management (FRM)

Risk managers in the finance sector would find the FRM certification very rewarding for their careers in risk management. The professional designation establishes risk managers as experts in different areas such as market risk, credit risk, liquidity risk, etc. the FRM certification requires that candidates have at least an experience of two years working in the financial sector. As a result, the career possibilities of certified financial risk management are robust and includes financial analyst, portfolio analyst, portfolio management, and financial advisor.


These are just some of the many professional designations in finance. However, they are considered top of the chart for  any professional in the industry and like many designations, they offer ample career boosts or those who possess them.