Professional Certifications in Finance
Chartered Financial Analyst (C.F.A.)
The C.F.A. designation is recognized internationally as a sign of integrity and professional excellence in the field of investment management. To be awarded the charter, candidates must pass a sequence of three rigorous exams, satisfy work experience requirements, and demonstrate a high level of personal and professional conduct.
NIU is proud to be a C.F.A. Recognized University. The University Recognition Program indicates that our undergraduate finance curricula is closely tied to professional practice and can help students prepare for the exams.
NIU graduates are eligible to sit for the first of the three examinations. Seniors should consider taking FINA 440, FINA 455, and FINA 460 as electives, as well as participating in the Student Managed Portfolio (FINA 445 and 446). These courses will help prepare students for a significant portion of the C.F.A. Level I Examination. The Finance Department offers C.F.A. Program Access Scholarships to help offset the first exam’s enrollment and registration fee. Scholarship applications are available in the Finance Department.
For information regarding the C.F.A. Examination, go to www.cfainstitute.org/.
Certified Treasury Professional (C.T.P.)
The C.T.P. credential, formerly the Certified Cash Manager (C.C.M.), is widely regarded by treasury and finance professionals as one of the leading credentials in the field of corporate finance and treasury operations. It demonstrates a high standard of professionalism and a commitment to performance.
NIU students who complete FINA 430 and receive approval from Instructor Norman Goldstein may sit for the C.T.P. certification exam. Successful candidates will earn the Certified Treasury Professional Associate designation (C.T.P.A.). After working full-time for a minimum of two years in finance/treasury/accounting and earning continuing education credits, they will be eligible to transition to the prestigious CTP credential. For information regarding the C.T.P. Examination, go to www.afponline.org/.
Certified Financial Planner (C.F.P.)
The Certified Financial Planner (C.F.P.) designation is a professional certification for financial planners. To earn the C.F.P. Board designation, candidates in the United States must have a bachelor's degree (or higher) from an accredited college or university offering an 18 semester credit hour (or equivalent) curriculum that covers major planning areas such as General Principles of Finance and Financial Planning; Insurance Planning; Employee Benefits Planning; Investment and Securities Planning; State and Federal Income Tax Planning; Estate Tax, Gift Tax, and Transfer Tax Planning; Asset Protection Planning; Retirement Planning; Estate Planning; and Financial planning and consulting. The C.F.P. Certification Examination is a 7-hour multiple choice exam that includes case studies, multiple mini-case problem sets and stand-alone questions. For information regarding the C.F.P. Examination, go to www.cfp.net/.
The Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC) is a self-paced course that teaches the foundations of finance, with an added focus on familiarity with the Bloomberg Terminal. BMC consists of 4 modules – Economics, Currencies, Fixed Income and Equities – woven together from Bloomberg data, news, analytics and television. The roughly 6 to 8 hours of video teaching includes 120 quiz questions and makes use of over 70 Bloomberg Terminal functions, showing how the relevant market data would be retrieved, displayed, read and interpreted on the Bloomberg Terminal. Upon completion of all four modules, students may download a certificate of completion. The course, which can be completed in one sitting or over a period of time, may be taken either (a) online for $149 USD for students and $249 USD for professionals or (b) for free on the Bloomberg Terminal in the Finance Lab* through the function BMC or by typing Bloomberg Market Concepts in the search bar at the top of the screen. For information regarding BMC, go to http://about.bloomberginstitute.com/bloomberg-market-concepts/.
The Bloomberg Essentials (BESS) Online Training program is designed to provide users with an introduction to the Bloomberg Professional Service. Whereas BMC focuses on entry-level finance and related concepts with some Terminal integration, BESS focuses on navigating the Terminal. In order to earn an Acknowledgement of Completion, users must pass (75% or better) the exams for the Core Program (4 videos: Getting Started, Excel Add-in, News and Research Functionality and Launchpad) and at least one of the Market Sector Programs (Equity Essentials, Fixed Income Essentials, FX Essentials and Commodity Essentials; 1 video each). The Core Program is a prerequisite for the Market Sector Programs. Each video takes about 30-40 minutes and each exam has around 30 questions. Retakes are not allowed. Students completing all five exams (i.e., 1 Core and 4 Market Sectors) will receive Acknowledgements in each of the four sectors. BESS may be completed for free on the Bloomberg Terminal in the Finance Lab* through the function BESS or by typing Bloomberg Essentials in the search bar at the top of the screen.
Students may add the BMC Certification of Completion and the BESS Acknowledgement(s) of Completion to their LinkedIn profile and CV.
*NIU Finance majors, minors, and certificate holders are eligible to schedule time on the department’s Bloomberg Terminal.
Microsoft Office Excel Certification
Finance majors have the opportunity to earn either a Microsoft Office Specialist Excel and/or Microsoft Office Specialist Excel Expert designation. Not only will their improved computational skills aid in assignment completion, this achievement can help our graduates differentiate themselves on the job market. According to a recent study, holding a MOS certification can earn an entry-level business employee as much as $16,000 more in annual salary than uncertified peers." For more information, please stop by the Finance Department.