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The TOP Financial Advisor Designations

The TOP Financial Advisor Designation takes a look at the most popular certifications financial advisors are earning in their fields. Also, takes into account the most valued certifications as indicated by the industry. 

CFP

Offered By:

CFP Board

Pre-Requisites:

3 years of Financial Service, Bachelors Degree

Education Requirements:

Complete educational program approved by CFP board CPA, ChFC®, CLU®, CFA, Ph.D. in business or economics, DBA, or JD

Exam Details:

Mulitple Choice, 170, Testing Site (Prometric)

Time to Complete:

~1-2 years

Cost:

$4,000-$7,000 USD

Continuing Education:

30 hours every two years

Website:

CFP Website

CFA

Offered By:

CFA Institute®

Pre-requisites:

4 years of approved work experience or Bachelors Degree

Education Requirements:

Sequential Passing: Level I, Level II, and Level III

Examination Details:

Level I: Multiple Choice, 240, Testing Center Level II: Multiple Choice, 120, Testing Center Level III: Essay + Multiple Choice, 360 minute, Testing Center

Time to Complete:

~4 years

Estimated Cost:

$3500-$5000

Continuing Education:

N/A

Website:

CFA Institute

ChFC

Offered By:

The American College

Pre-requisites:

3 years of full time, relevant work experience

Education Requirements:

9 College Level Courses (HS 300, HS 311, HS 321, HS 326, HS 328, HS 330, HS 333, HS 314, HS 319)

Examination Details:

Multiple Choice, 50 Questions, Testing Center (9 exams taken sequentially at the end of each course)

Time to Complete:

~2-3 Years

Estimated Cost:

$5,130

Continuing Education:

30 hours every two years

Website:

ChFC Website

CIMA

Offered By:

IMCA®

Pre-requisites:

3 years of financial service work experience and pass background check

Education Requirements:

Pass pre-qualification exam and complete online or in-person executive education program with a top 20 business school,

Examination Details:

Multiple Choice, 100 Questions, Testing Center

Time to Complete:

250 hours

Estimated Cost:

$8,500

Continuing Education:

40 hours, including two ethics hours, required every two years.

Website:

CIMA Website

CPA

Offered By:

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Pre-requisites:

2 years of public accounting with most states, Bachelors of Business Administration degree in Accounting or Finance

Education Requirements:

Examination Details:

280 Multiple Choice + 28 Case Study Response + 3 Written, Testing Center

Time to Complete:

~2-3 Years

Estimated Cost:

$3,000

Continuing Education:

120 hours every three years
Website:
CPA Website

CFA

Offered By:

CFA Institute®

Pre-requisites:

4 years of approved work experience or Bachelors Degree

Education Requirements:

Sequential Passing: Level I, Level II, and Level III

Examination Details:

Level I: Multiple Choice, 240, Testing Center Level II: Multiple Choice, 120, Testing Center Level III: Essay + Multiple Choice, 360 minute, Testing Center

Time to Complete:

~4 years

Estimated Cost:

$3500-$5000

Continuing Education:

N/A

Website:

CFA Institute

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