Degrees & Certifications

CFP, CFA, CPA, CAIA, CLU. These are just some of the acronyms in the alphabet soup of financial certifications. Here we break down what they are and how to attain them.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What’s the difference between a CFA and CPA?

    A chartered financial analyst (CFA) analyzes corporate financials to make investment recommendations to clients. CFAs are often hired by investment managers, but they are also qualified to advise on financial planning and wealth management. A certified public accountant (CPA) produces and audits the financial reports being analyzed by CFAs. CPAs can also assist with tax reporting and business structure.

  • How much do accountants make?

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $77,250 in 2021. Though wages vary across the country. In Washington, D.C., the median annual wage is $110,240 compared to about $66,000 in Mississippi and Nevada.

  • Do I need a license to sell stocks?

    Yes. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which oversees securities licensing requirements, administers exams to determine a broker’s eligibility to sell securities. The Series 6 license allows holders to sell “packaged” investments like mutual funds. The Series 7 license is a more general securities license that authorizes holders to sell any security except real estate, life insurance, and commodities futures. To sell commodities futures, you must hold a Series 3 license. Some brokers may also require licenses issued by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).

  • What is an actuary?

    Actuaries estimate risk, often for insurance companies and banks. An actuary uses statistical models to determine the level of risk involved in a certain investment and, thus, helps establish the terms of deals.

Key Terms

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Degrees & Certifications