Get Credentialed.
Get Hired

Learn about the CFP®, CPA® and CFA® credentials and the newly revised FINRA SIE exam.

You are almost finished with your degree and you want to increase your chances of getting hired in today’s competitive job market. Start working towards obtaining one of these top credentials and prove to prospective employers that you are serious about your career and have the appropriate training to successfully perform your job responsibilities.

Want to get a head start in working in the securities industry? Complete the new FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam as this is the 1st step towards obtaining proper licensure to work in the securities industry. Passing this exam and then the subsequent Series 7, Series 63 and other FINRA exams is required.

The good news is that you can begin your pursuit of these credentials and the SIE exam while you are still in school. See below for important information and additional details regarding the CFP®, CPA® and CFA® credentials and the newly revised FINRA SIE, Series 7 and Series 63 exams.

Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA)

The Chartered Financial Analyst® is the most popular designation among college finance majors. There are currently over 164,000 CFA charterholders around the world. The charter gives a strong foundation in advanced investment analysis and portfolio management skills. Typical job titles include:

  • Portfolio Manager
  • Research Analyst
  • Chief Level Executive
  • Consultant
  • Risk Manager

CFA charterholders typically work in the practice types of Equities, Fixed Income, Private Equity, Derivatives, and/or Real Estate.

What you need to know:

  • CFA charterholder average salary is $300,000; median salary is $180,000
  • The most highly respected designation in the investment management profession
  • Considered a graduate level credential
  • Accepted and welcomed by markets and employers globally

Certified Financial Planner® (CFP)

The Certified Financial Planner® is the 2nd most popular certification among college finance majors. The CFP Exam measures your ability to integrate and apply a broad range of financial planning knowledge for real-life scenarios.

The CFP exam covers these main topics: Professional Conduct and Regulation, Financial Planning Principles, Education Planning, Risk and Insurance, Investment Planning, Tax Planning, Retirement Savings and Income, and Estate Planning.

What you need to know:

  • CFP average salary is US$ 66,000
  • Employment opportunities for CFPs is expected to grow 15% over the next few years
  • Gold standard of personal financial planning
  • Designation sought after by consumers looking for financial advisors

Certified Public Accountant® (CPA)

The Certified Public Accountant is the most popular certification among college accounting majors. The CPA is slightly different than the other certifications because CPAs are licensed by the states in which they conduct business.

The CPA exam covers these main topics: Auditing and Attestation, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Regulation.

What you need to know:

  • First year CPA average salary is US$ 66,000 with those in Tax Consulting and Financial Analysis making the most; with 20 years of experience the average salary is $152,000
  • Highly recognized credential by employers and their clients
  • CPAs work in organizations of all types, sizes, and industries
  • 430,000+ CPAs awarded in 130+ countries

The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam

The Securities Industry Essentials Exam is a new exam (launched Oct 1, 2018) for individuals wanting a career in the securities industry. This is introductory-level exam and represents the first step towards the Series 7 and other licensing required to trade securities.

The SIE Exam covers these main topics: Knowledge of Capital Markets, Understanding Products and Their Risks, Understanding Trading, Customer Accounts and Prohibited Activities, and Overview of the Regulatory Framework.

What you need to know:

  • Students considering a career in the financial securities industry are strongly encouraged to take the exam while still in school
  • Must pass the SIE exam before pursuing the 2nd level of exams
  • A passing score is 70% and you have 1 hour 45 minutes to complete the exam
  • A candidate has 4 years after passing the SIE exam to join a firm that can sponsor them for the 2nd level of exams
  • Must pass the 2nd qualification exam(s) appropriate for the type of business in which the individual will engage

The Series 7 Exam

The Series 7 Exam, along with the Series 6 and Series 63, is one of the essential exams you will be required to pass if you wish to work in the securities industry. This exam covers the essentials of buying and selling securities and you will be required to take and pass this exam before you can legally start trading securities (even if you get hired).

Since this is an absolute cornerstone of working in the securities industry, candidates who have already prepared themselves to pass the Series 7 are highly desirable candidates after graduation.

What you need to know:

  • This is the 2nd level exam this is required for a candidate to pass to start trading in the securities industry
  • Must be sponsored by a member firm to take the exam
  • Assesses competency of entry-level professional to act as a general securities representative

The Series 63 Exam

The Series 63 Exam, along with the Series 6 and Series 7, is one of the essential exams for anyone who wants to work in the securities industry. The Series 63 has an emphasis to provide a basis for state securities administrators to determine an applicant’s knowledge and understanding of state law and regulations.

What you need to know:

  • Designed to qualify candidates as securities agents and covers the principles of state securities regulation
  • Considered the state law test for broker-dealer representatives
  • Most states require an individual to have passed the Series 63, along with the Series 7, to be a registered representative for a broker-dealer.