5 Ways Dual-Designations Can Improve Your Career in Finance

The American College of Financial Services
June 23, 2020

Let’s cut to the chase: getting a designation can help you become a trusted and successful financial professional. But not all financial designation education programs are equal. You need best-in-class designations taught by an established leader in the field.

Want to stand out from the thousands of others who have those top designations? Go one better: pursue a dual-designation education.

It’s an efficient and affordable way to transform your career, and The American College of Financial Services offers a number of options. Here's how some of our dual-designation programs can help:

  • When you successfully complete the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PROFESSIONAL™ (CFP®) Certification Education coursework, you’re just one course away from getting your Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation; or, better yet, enroll in the ChFC® program from the start, and after completing your first seven courses, you’re qualified to sit for the CFP® exam. Then, you can finish earning your ChFC® while you wait for the results.

  • When you successfully complete the Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) program, you’re three courses away from completing the CFP® Certification Education and four courses away from the ChFC®.

  • Add three courses to your CFP® or ChFC® coursework and you can earn your CLU®.

Just as you wouldn’t quit a marathon at mile 25, it doesn’t make sense to stop a few courses short of adding a valuable credential to your professional profile. Here’s a rundown of the five top ways a dual-designation education can set you apart and transform your career.


1. Actions speak louder than words


When you go the extra mile, you let current and prospective clients know without a doubt that you’re committed to the profession. It’s one thing to say it; it’s another thing to prove it.

Financial professionals who show the willingness, persistence, and ability to supplement what’s covered in a single designation with additional coursework will be sought after by clients and employers alike.


2. Expanding your knowledge base = Expanding your client base


Pursuing a dual-designation strategy is about more than adding a few extra letters after your name on LinkedIn. It’s about adding the insights and skills to help the people whose life savings and financial well-being have been placed in your care.

For example, the ChFC®’s “Contemporary Applications in Financial Planning” provides professionals who have their CFP® certification with a range of modern, specialized techniques—including behavioral finance strategies—that aren’t covered in the CFP® requirements. And make no mistake: clients need and want the practicality and applied knowledge you can offer in these situations.


3. Get up to speed or get left behind


The best designations aren’t one-and-done. They include annual recertification requirements to ensure you remain current with the latest trends in the field. From compliance with professional ethical standards to continuing education programs, your designation represents more than what you learned a few years ago. It’s about what you learn today, next year, and throughout your career.

As the saying goes, if you’re standing still, you’re going backward. Recertification ensures that designee-holders stay on the move, and with two designations (or more), you’ll be moving twice as fast.


4. In a complex and changing world, specialization matters


If the times tell us anything, it’s that finance is complex. A bull market can transform into a bear market in a matter of weeks. When the unexpected happens, the more you know, the better off you—and your clients—will be.

Whichever dual-designation education pathway you follow, you’ll gain specialized skills beyond what’s covered in a single designation. Whether that’s addressing modern retirement income portfolios with the ChFC® or adding life insurance insights with the CLU®, your added knowledge will pay off for your clients and for yourself.


5. Bull or bear, you’ve got to be prepared


If there’s one thing you can count on in your chosen profession, it’s that there will be ups and downs. Whether you’re riding the bull or wrangling the bear, you’ll need to be the calm, steady voice of reason to your clients. And the more prepared and knowledgeable you are, the stronger and more reassuring your voice will be.

In the end, it all comes down to numbers. According to the CFP Board, there are more than 87,000 CFP® professionals in the United States: that’s an impressive club to be a member of. By doubling down and adding a second designation, your credentials—and your skill set—can be even more impressive.

The choice is yours.