Professional Certifications

We offer several certifications in finance that will demonstrate your professional excellence and enhance your degree.

The chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation is recognized internationally as a sign of integrity and professional excellence in the field of investment management. To be awarded the charter, you 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 CFA Recognized University. The University Recognition Program indicates that our undergraduate finance curricula is closely tied to professional practice and can help you 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. They should also consider participating in the Student Managed Portfolio (FINA 445 and 446). These courses will help prepare you for a significant portion of the CFA Level I Examination. Course waivers for full CFA charterholders will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The finance department offers CFA Program Access Scholarships to help offset the first exam’s enrollment and registration fee. Scholarship applications are available in the department office.

The CTP credential, formerly the certified cash manager (CCM), 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 CTP certification exam. Successful candidates will earn the certified treasury professional associate designation (CTPA) After working full time for a minimum of two years in finance/treasury/accounting and earning continuing education credits, you will be eligible to transition to the prestigious CTP credential.

The certified financial planner (CFP) designation is a professional certification for financial planners. To earn the CFP 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 CFP certification examination is a seven-hour multiple-choice exam that includes case studies, multiple mini-case problem sets and stand-alone questions.

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 four modules – economics, currencies, fixed income and equities – woven together from Bloomberg data, news, analytics and television. The roughly six to eight 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, you 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:

  • online for $149 for students and $249 for professionals or
  • 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.

Get more information about Bloomberg Market Concepts.

Students may add the BMC Certification 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.

Finance majors have the opportunity to earn a Microsoft Office Specialist Excel and/or Microsoft Office Specialist Excel Expert designation. Not only will your improved computational skills aid in assignment completion, this achievement can also help you differentiate yourself in the job market. According to a recent study, holding an 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 Department of Finance.

The Department of Finance is a proud academic partner of DataCamp. Through interactive R and Python courses, you'll learn about topics in data science, statistics and machine learning.

Department Resources