Short-term certification courses in finance are of commendable import to commerce graduates, individuals and professionals with a keen interest in numbers and statistics. With the rising competition in the field of finance, individuals are increasingly seeking ways to distinguish themselves as truly qualified professionals in their respective fields. These short term certifications in finance are obtained through various examinations and work experience and are valued qualifications similar to any full fledged degree program in finance. They are best-suited for job-oriented professionals who don’t have the time to pursue a full-time course and these finance certifications are the best way for an individual to validate his or her skills in the eyes of peers and potential recruiters. Some of the popular short term certification courses in Finance are mentioned below along with details of the eligibility, duration and fees.
Short-term Finance Certifications: Benefits
Financial certifications such as the CFA, CFP and FRM are some of the most sought-after short term finance certificate credentials not only in India but in the global market. In fact, pursuing finance certifications after graduation is seen to be more beneficial for professionals rather than a postgraduate degree. Apart from the incessant demand and value of such financial certifications, there are a number of other benefits including:
These short-term finance certification courses are considered some of the highest qualifications in the financial domain and therefore open up a wide array of job opportunities in the global and domestic market.
Finance certifications are the most viable option for individuals and professionals who want to advance along their career path without pursuing a full-time degree program.
The return-of-investment or ROI from finance certifications is much greater than that of post graduate degrees in the domain of finance.
Finance certifications attest to an individual's skill, expertise and experience in the field earning them greater credibility and employability.
The greater/higher the short-term finance certifications held by an individual, the better the chances of greater job security and stability.
Finance certifications are a shortcut to salary increments, promotions and a wider visibility in the eyes of prospective recruiters.
Top Short-term Finance Certification Courses
Aside from chartered designations which are highly valued in India and the world (such as the CA or CPA designations), certain finance certification courses are also highly valued in the job market and also deemed advanced qualifications. Most of these short-term certification courses in finance primarily comprise of exams required for initial accreditation, following which individuals have to regularly participate in continuing professional development in order to maintain the credentials. Some of the most career-advancing certifications as well as high ROI certifications in finance which are globally available and recognized are:
CMA – Certified Management Accountant
The Certified Management Accountant certification is offered by the Institute of Management Accountants or IMA. Considered a global benchmark for financial professionals and management accountants, CMA certification provides certificate holders with a deeper knowledge of accounting and numbers. One of the most awarding short-term certification courses in finance, IMA states that it has been seen that CMA certification holders have an average annual compensation which is around 67% higher than that of non-CMA certification holders.
About the Exam: The CMA examination is conducted in 2 different parts. Each part comprises of 100 multiple choice questions as well as two 30-minute essay type questions.
Finance Certification Maintenance: The CMA certification requires 30 CPE hours to be earned and reported each year as well as an annual certification maintenance fee.
Details of Short-term Certification Courses in Finance: CMA
A Bachelor's degree or professional accounting certification
At least 2 years of work experience
4 hours (per part)
USD $250 (non refundable)
USD $415 (per part)
USD $188 (non refundable)
USD $311 (per part)
CFA – Chartered Financial Analyst
The Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA credential is offered by the CFA Institute which is the globally recognized provider of this qualification. CFA is reputed to be an attestation to an individual's deep knowledge and understanding of advanced level investment analysis as well as portfolio management skills. One of the most popular short-term certification courses in finance, CFA is considered to be one of the the best credentials for portfolio management and advanced investment and is recognized in 163 countries worldwide including India.
About the Exam: The CFA examination is divided into 3 levels. The level 1 exam is offered in both June and December whereas the level 2 and 3 exam is offered only in June.
Level I has 240 (120 per session) multiple choice items and Level II has 120 (60 per session) items. The Level III morning session has 8-12 constructed response questions and the Level
III afternoon session has 10 item set questions (6 items each).
Charter Maintenance: In order to maintain a CFA charter, the candidate must be a member of a CFA society and must earn and document at least 20 CE credit hours per year as well as submit the annual fee. At least 2 of the 20 CE credit hours must be in the field of ethics, regulations and standards.
Details of Short-term Certification Courses in Finance: CFA
Either of the following:
A bachelor's or equivalent degree or be in the final year of UG education
At least 4 years of full-time professional work experience
A combination of education and full-time work experience equaling 4 years
2 sessions (morning and afternoon) of 3 hours each for each level examination
USD $450 enrollment fee
+ individual exam registration fees (varies according to exam level and registration time)
CAIA – Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst
Another recognised short term certification course in finance is the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst certification also called CAIA and offered by the CAIA association. This is an advanced level short-term finance certification course which attests to the individual's expertise and knowledge in the domain of alternative investments.
About the Exam: There are 2 levels of exams (Level 1 and Level 2) which are offered in both March and September every year. The Level 1 exam comprises of 200 multiple choice type questions. The Level 2 exam comprises of 100 multiple choice type questions in addition to 3 constructive essay-type questions.
Charter Maintenance: In order to maintain the CAIA credential, candidates must become CAIA members and pay the annual membership fee after successfully passing both the Level 1 and Level 2 exams. The annual membership fee is USD $350 while the fee for 2 years is USD $650.
Details of Short-term Certification Courses in Finance: CAIA
A bachelor's or equivalent degree
At least 1 year of qualifying work experience or 4 years of professional work experience
4 hours per level (divided into 2 sections of 2 hours each)
USD $400 enrollment fee
USD $1250 exam registration fee (per level)
USD $350 annual membership fee
CFP – Certified Financial Planner
The Certified Financial Planner certification in finance is an internationally accepted certification offered by the Financial Planning Standards Board India i.e. FPSB India. One of the
prestigious short-term certification courses in finance offered in the financial planning domain, CFP as it is commonly called is an attestation to the individual's competency in financial planning advisory services.
About the Exam: Candidates have to clear four preliminary exams before being eligible to give the advanced final exam. The first four exams comprise of multiple choice type questions and have 77 questions each. The fifth and final exam on 'Advanced Financial Planning' is based on a case study and comprises of 5 modules with a total of 15 question items.
Finance Certification Maintenance: In order to maintain CFP certification status, the finance certificate holder needs to pay an annual renewal fee of Rs. 7,080 as well as earn and document at least 15 CE points each year.
Details of Short-term Certification Courses in Finance: CFP
High school pass
Have to pass the four exams through self study or training support
At least 3 year professional experience for graduates and and 5 year work experience for non-graduates
Adherence to code of ethics and rules of professional conduct
Exam 1-4: 2 hours each
Exam 5: 4 hours
Exam 1-4: Rs. 4,130 each
Exam 5: Rs. 8,260
FRM – Financial Risk Manager
Another internationally acclaimed short term course in finance is the Financial Risk Manager certification offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals or GARP. This course is reportedly a global standard for risk management certifications. The FRM finance certification attests to an individual's proficiency in the anticipation, response and adaptation to various critical risk issues.
About the Exam: The FRM examination provided in the months of March and November and is divided into two parts. Part 1 comprises of a 100 multiple choice type questions addressing the tools of assessment for financial risk. Part 2 comprises of 80 multiple choice type questions addressing the application of the tools referred to in Part 1.
Finance Certification Maintenance: In order to maintain the FRM certification status, the finance certificate holder will need to be a GARP member and pay the annual membership fee as well as earn and document 40 credit hours of experience in financial risk management every 2 years.
Details of Short-term Certification Courses in Finance: FRM
Pass the FRM Part 2 exam within 4 years of passing Part 1 exam
At least 2 years of full-time professional work experience in financial risk management
4 hours (for each part)
USD $400 (enrollment + Part 1 exam fee)
+ individual exam fee for Part 2
FMVA – Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst
The Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA) Financial Analyst certification is offered by the Corporate Finance Institute or CFI. This short-term finance certification course is ideal to enhance an individual's hands-on expertise and skill in financial modeling as well as proficiency in financial analysis. This certification is the culmination of a rigorous course which prepares individuals for an advanced career in financial modeling and analysis.
About the Exam: The short-term certification course in finance comprises of various online tests and assignments which must be completed with at least an 80% score in order to earn the subsequent certification.
Finance Certification Maintenance: Maintenance is not required. Instead, the FMVA certification counts toward CPE credits for other finance certifications and charters.
Details of Short-term Certification Courses in Finance: FMVA
Completion of the FMVA course material with 12 courses total (9 required courses and 3 out of 6 of the elective courses)
Approx. 100 hours
CIA – Certified Internal Auditor
The Certified Internal Auditor certification in finance is offered by The Institute of Internal Auditors or IIA. Known as one of the niche short-term certification courses in finance and the only certification in internal auditing, the course adds to an individual's ability at maintaining the best practices through the implementation of knowledge, competency and skill in the administration of auditing responsibilities. A CIA finance certificate holder holds expertise in the application of international standards for internal auditing.
About the Exam: The CIA exam is divided into 3 parts. Part 1 comprises of 125 questions in Internal Auditing Basics, Part 2 comprises of 100 questions in Internal Auditing Practice and Part 3 contains 100 questions on Internal Auditing Knowledge Elements.
Finance Certification Maintenance: In order to maintain the CIA certification in finance, a candidate must earn and document 40 CPE hours annually.
Details of Short-term Certification Courses in Finance: CIA
Associate degree or higher
Character reference form signed by a CIA, CGAP, CCSA, CFSA, CRMA or the candidate's supervisor
Professional work experience in internal auditing (60 months for Associate degree holders, 24 months for Bachelor's degree holders and 12 months for Master's degree holders)
Part 1: 2.5 hours
Part 2: 2 hours
Part 3: 2 hours
Application Fee: USD $115
Part 1: USD $280
Part 2: USD $230
Part 3: USD $230
Application Fee: USD $230
Part 1: USD $395
Part 2: USD $345
Part 3: USD $345
Application Fee: USD $65
Part 1: USD $230
Part 2: USD $180
Part 3: USD $180
CIIA – Certified International Investment Analyst
The Certified International Investment Analyst qualification is offered by the Association of Certified International Investment Analysts or ACIIA. In India, the exams are administered by the Association of International Wealth Management of India or AIWMI. This finance short term certification course appraises and adds to an individual’s advanced standards of applied knowledge for working in international and domestic investment environments. This qualification is awarded as the culmination of the CIIA graduate diploma program and is a valuable asset for financial executives.
About the Exam: There are 3 different levels of exams: Foundation level, Final level and National level. The Foundation level comprises of 3 exams with a combination of multiple choice type, short essay type, calculative and discursive questions. The Final level has two exams with mini and full case studies as well as in-depth essay type questions. The National level has only a single exam. Graduates who have relevant qualifications may be exempt from the Foundation level exams and Experienced Qualified Candidates (EQCs) are required to only give the Final level examinations. The exams are available two times each year in the months of March and September.
Designation Maintenance: The candidate needs to maintain membership in a participating national/regional society for CIIA. In India, this society is AIWMI.
Details of Short-term Certification Courses in Finance: CIIA
Successfully qualify all the requisite examinations
At least 3 years of professional work experience in financial services, financial analysis or portfolio management.
For EQCs: Rs. 81,420
CM&AA – Certified Merger and Acquisition Advisor
The Certified Merger and Acquisition Advisor certification in finance is offered by the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors or AM&AA. One of the most advanced level short-term finance certification courses, CM&AA certification aims to validate an individual's excellence and maintenance of professional standards in middle market advisory, finance and transaction services.
About the Exam: The proctored online examination is conducted at the end of the CM&AA training for all candidates.
Finance Certification Maintenance: In order to maintain the CM&AA certification, the finance certificate holder must be a member of AM&AA and pay annual membership fees equivalent to USD $495. Additionally, the candidate must pay an annual CM&AA continuation fee of USD $50 and earn and report at least 12 CPE credits per year.
Details of Short-term Certification Courses in Finance: CM&AA
Any Merger & Acquisition professional or financial professional who has completed the CM&AA training
5 days (available at specified locations)
AM&AA membership fee is required to apply for the training and certification
CTP – Certified Treasury Professional
The Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) certification in finance is sponsored by the Association for Financial Professional or AFP. CTP certification is reputed to be a global symbol of excellence in the treasury profession allowing enhancement of knowledge and expertise in areas such as capital and risk management and corporate liquidity. Being a globally renowned qualification amongst short-term certification courses in finance in terms of promotional growth, according to AFP, CTP finance certificate holders are known to earn USD $3,000-$20,000 more than non certificate holders depending on their designation.
About the Exam: The CTP examination comprises 170 multiple choice type questions associated with topics from 'Essentials of Treasury Management, 5th Edition'. The exam is available in two testing windows annually: the December-January window and the June-July window.
Finance Certification Maintenance: The CTP certification is valid for 3 years after which the candidate must submit 36 CPE credits every three years in order to maintain certification status along with the recertification fee.
Details of Short-term Certification Courses in Finance: CTP
The candidate must satisfy one of the following:
At least 4 years of full time teaching experience at the collegiate level in a finance related topic
A graduate or Master's degree in business, finance or accountancy AND at least 2 years of full time teaching experience at the collegiate level in a finance related topic
At least 1 year of professional work experience in a treasury management or finance related position if the candidate holds a graduate or Master's degree in business finance or accountancy OR has had at least 2 years of full time teaching experience at the collegiate level in a finance related topic
At least 2 years of professional work experience in a treasury management or finance related position if the candidate no prior education or collegiate level teaching experience in finance
Early reg.: USD $875
Final deadline: USD $975
Early reg.: USD $1270
Final deadline: USD $1370
CIMA – Certified Investment Management Analyst
The Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) certification in finance is offered by the Investments and Wealth Institute and is a globally recognized certification in financial investment management and analysis. It is unique in the respect that it focuses on both theoretical knowledge and practical application of the same through various pedagogical methods.
About the Exam: The CIMA exam comprises 125 questions and 15 unscored pretest questions. The questions are a mix of one best response, direct questions, incomplete statement, complex multiple choice and situational set type questions.
Finance Certification Maintenance: In order to maintain CIMA certification status, the candidate must recertify every 2 years by paying the requisite fee and earning as well as reporting at least 40 CPE credits. The recertification fee for members is USD $275 and for non-members it is USD $895.
Details of Short-term Certification Courses in Finance: CIMA
Any candidate who has completed an executive education program at a registered institute and has cleared the background check as well as application approval process
Ranges from USD $5,500 - $9,000 depending on choice of educational material, education provider, membership status etc.
CFS – Certified Fund Specialist
The Certified Fund Specialist designation is offered by the Institute of Business and Finance or IBF. This certification in finance is the fourth-oldest and one of the most important and well-known financial designations in the US. The course enhances and validates an individual's understanding as well as working knowledge of the various categories of funds and investments and nuances associated with their analysis and selection.
About the Exam: The qualifying examinations for the CFS finance certification are integrated into the course material and a candidate is required to score above a minimum passing criteria in each of the exams in order to be awarded the CFS certification.
Finance Certification Maintenance: In order to maintain the CFS certification the candidate must earn and report at least 30 CPE credits every two years along with the recertification fee.
Details of Short-term Certification Courses in Finance: CFS
The candidate must complete the CFS course material and fulfill either of the following:
A bachelor's degree or higher in finance-related field
At least 2,000 hours of professional work experience in financial services
Approx. 15 weeks
(max 1 year for completion after enrollment)
Earning Potential of Short Term Finance Certifications
For most of the globally recognized finance certifications, the entry level salaries are at par with IT graduates with salaries in the range of INR 3-5 lacs per annum. Generally, a steep increment in the salary for certified professionals is seen annually for the first 5-10 years of work after which there is a slowdown. In countries such as UK, Canada or USA, the CFP certification course in finance remains one of the highest paid finance certifications with annual incomes ranging from USD $46,300 to USD USD $119,200. The CIA certification holders generally earn an average of USD $38,000 more than non certification holders; similar trends have been observed for other leading short-term certification courses in finance.
The earning potential for chartered designations in finance are seen to be slightly higher than single certifications in finance although the increment trends are similar for both types with steep increments in salary in the first 10 years of professional experience followed by stagnancy in increments if no other qualification is earned. In the USA, the highest paid for designation is the CAIA which has the potential to fetch an annual income of USD $100,000 with less than 10 years of experience.
The scope for some short-term certification courses in finance such as the CFS and CTP certifications is much greater in western countries than in India with CTP certification holders fetching average salaries above the USD $100,000 mark annually in the United States but not earning much value in the eyes of Indian recruiters.
The average ranges of annual income and highest paying positions for various finance certification holders in India can be observed below (considering that no other certification is held by the individual):
Earning Potential for Short-term Finance Certifications in India
Certification Course in Finance
Ave. Annual Income (INR)
Highest Paying Job Roles
3-20 lacs per annum
Chief Financial Officer (approx. 35 lpa), Financial Controller, Finance Manager
3-19 lacs per annum
Senior Manager Auditor, Chief Internal Auditor, Internal Auditing Manager
3-15 lacs per annum
Associate VP Financial Operations, Associate Investment Banking, Financial Consultant
2-7 lacs per annum
Financial Planner, Financial Advisor
5-25 lacs per annum
Executive Director (approx 55 lpa), VP Finance (approx 30 lpa), Senior Financial Analyst
10-35 lacs per annum
Chief Financial Officer (approx. 60 lpa), VP Finance (approx. 45 lpa), Investment Banker
3-24 lacs per annum
Associate VP Financial Operations, Account Manager, Assistant Finance Manager
6-20 lacs per annum
Associate VP Market Risk, Business Analyst, Risk Manager
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