No one gets ahead in their career by standing still or waiting for things to happen. If you are ready to take the next step in your financial services career, you likely are thinking about education. Check out the internet and you will see so many options: certified financial planner courses, investment training, the Canadian Securities Course, insurance courses such as fundamentals in insurance or the LLQP, ethics courses and so much more. The list is nearly endless. So, the big question is how do you choose what to enroll in and what to ignore?
The answer is simple to understand, though it requires a bit of leg work. The course you take should be based on the next steps you want to see in your career. Do you want to become a financial planner? Taking education that leads to the CFP course (Certified Financial Planner Course) is a good choice. Looking to enhance the products you can offer clients and move off the teller line into more of an advisor role? Taking the CSC Course (Canadian Securities Course) may be the way to go. If you are looking to a career that includes insurance products, perhaps working towards the Life Licence Qualification Program (LLQP) would be a good option.
Here are a few tips to help guide your education choices:
1. Talk to people in the industry
There are a number of people who have gone before you in similar career paths. If you know where you want to end up (you want to be a CFP for example) you can seek out those who have successfully completed their CFP course and find out what their journey looked like. Where did they start? What worked for them?
You’re going to want to learn about the pitfalls they encountered as well as the things that worked well. While some of these interactions will be one-offs, others may lead to informal mentoring situations where you can continue to ask questions as you progress through your education and your career. You’ll want to respect your mentor’s time and be grateful for the advice they give you while considering how it fits into your personal path and goals.
2. Reach out to educational institutions
Education institutions with financial services programs are an excellent resource. Look for those who offer more than one financial program. For example. Ashton College has the Canadian Securities Course, a Certified Financial Planner Course and the LLQP. Contacting the school and finding out what they offer as well as who teaches it can be helpful in guiding your educational decisions. Look up the courses, find out what they include and consider how well they complement your career aspirations and future plans.
You will also want to look up the instructor biographies to learn about their experiences and what makes them a good choice for delivering your education. It is important that you have a strong fit in both content and instruction.
3. Find out what your employer will pay for
If your current employer has a reimbursement program for your education, you will want to seriously consider what is included and get to know any limitations. If you are on the teller desk, it is unlikely that your employer will foot the bill for a full Certified Financial Planner course. However, they may consider a Canadian Securities Course. Talk to your human resources team to find out what education options are included in your current position and continue to move forward until you reach the point where taking the CFP course is an option for you.
There are a lot of courses in the financial services arena and it can be overwhelming considering your options. Talk to others, research schools and see what your employer will pay for before making your decision.