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What does a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) do?

A chartered financial analyst (CFA) helps businesses and individuals make educated decisions on how to best invest their money. They are financial analysts that have successfully completed the CFA Program from the CFA Institute, a rigorous program that requires hundreds of hours of study and the mastering of several different areas, including accounting, economics, asset valuation, portfolio management, securities analysis, corporate finance and financial markets. After earning certification through the CFA Institute, a chartered financial analyst has obtained licensing through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

chartered financial analyst

Most financial analysts receive their certification through the course of their career. Employers do not typically expect you to have this distinction as a new hire.

Different Kinds of Chartered Financial Analysts

There are several different kinds of financial analysts, including investments analysts, securities analysts and ratings analysts. Chartered financial analysts are divided into two groups: those who conduct business on the “buy” side and those who work on the “sell” side.

  • “Buy” Side
    Chartered financial analysts that work on the buy side are responsible for helping institutional investors. The analyst helps the business determine their needs and assists them in developing investment strategies.
  • “Sell” Side
    Chartered financial analysts that work on the sell side helps companies price and sell their products.

What Education or Training Do I Need To Become A Chartered Financial Analyst?

If you are pursuing an entry level financial analyst career, a bachelor’s degree in a field such as accounting, economics, finance, business administration or statistics is required. In order to become a chartered financial analyst, you must complete the CFA Program from the CFA Institute. This entails a 3 part, 18 hour exam. In addition to this, many employers prefer to hire an individual that has completed a master’s degree in a business-related field.

What does a Credit Analyst do?

Credit analysts analyze financial statements and data for individuals and businesses in a variety of fields. Their goal is to ascertain the risk involved in extending loans and lending money. In sum, they analyze the creditworthiness of businesses and individuals.

credit analyst

Educational requirements for credit analysts

With a focus primarily in economics and mathematics, the field requires a strong background in both. Most jobs require at least a Bachelor’s degree in business, finance in combination with relevant experience. Many universities and colleges offer degrees and certifications in the business field, and there are a multitude of online degree programs, from certificates in project management and accounting to a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration or Accounting. However, the most competitive jobs will prefer you to obtain a Master in Business Administration, Accounting, or Finance, and you can obtain these both online and on campus from a plethora of universities.

Highest employment for credit analysts

There are a multitude of industries one can work in as a credit analyst, since all businesses and individuals need advise regarding their financials. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries with the highest levels of employment of credit analysts were the Depository Credit Intermediation, Nondepository Credit Intermediation, Management of Companies and Enterprises, and Automobile Dealers. However, there are a plethora of other industries in need of the services of a credit analyst.

What does a Criminal Investigator do?

Criminal investigators and detectives typically specialize in one area of crime such as homicide, bank robbery, or fraud. Working as an investigator requires knowledge of jurisdictional law, law enforcement policies and procedures, interpersonal skills, verbal and written communication skills, and problem solving and analytical skills. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that law enforcement professionals frequently experience dangerous situations and stressful working conditions. As a criminal investigator, you may work at violent crime scenes and encounter severely injured or deceased crime victims.

Still want to work as a criminal investigator?

These professionals are assigned crimes by their agencies and usually work each case from start to finish. Observing crime scenes, interviewing witnesses, victims, and persons connected with the crime scene or suspects is all part of the job. You may also be involved in researching suspects, reviewing statements provided by witnesses, coordinating with colleagues for investigating crimes and developing case files. Unlike the pristine designer clothes worn by TV criminal investigators, you can expect to get “down and dirty” on the job. Criminal investigators work long hours and several days in a row, when working a crime.

Criminal investigator jobs: where they are and what they pay

The BLS reports that the highest number of detective and criminal investigator jobs were found in local government agencies followed by the executive branch of the federal government and state agencies. The highest paying investigator jobs are rare. The top paying employers are the U.S. Postal Service and federal executive branch.

criminal investigator

Criminal investigator education requirements

Members of local police departments can generally progress through the ranks to become detectives, but state and federal positions generally require a bachelor’s degree in administrative justice, criminal justice, law enforcement or related field. As law enforcement officers, criminal justice officers also receive job training through a law enforcement training academy and ongoing on-the-job training.

College coursework includes police science, state and local law, constitutional law and civil rights, investigative techniques and law enforcement technology. Military service and training may substitute for some types of law enforcement training. Criminal investigator positions hired through state and local law enforcement agencies typically require passing a competitive written civil service examination. Reading, language comprehension, quantitative and analytical skills are necessary for passing such exams.

Earning a degree in criminal justice or a related field can help current law enforcement officers fast-track their careers toward a criminal investigator position.