Monday, July 1, 2013

Young Professionals Corner: Credential Overload?

Editor's note: This is the latest in a series of guest posts from young VSCPA members dealing with topics of interest to young professionals. If you'd like to write or have a topic you'd like a future blogger to cover, please email VSCPA Academic & Career Development Coordinator Tracey Zink.

By David Peters, CPA Insurance Agency

CLU, CFP, PFS, CTP, CPCU…..  In the financial services world, it seems like there is a credential for just about everything.  However, is earning those extra few letters behind your name really worth it?  Before you break out those study books, here are some pros and cons of earning another credential:
Can Jump Start Your Career – If you are fresh out of school, your resume probably doesn’t look that different from any of your peers.  An extra credential can help set you apart.  More letters behind your name is a great remedy for a plateauing career as well.

New Networking Opportunities – Once you have earned your credential, you will probably have the opportunity to meet with other people who also have that designation.  Professional societies often have luncheons, volunteer opportunities, and other functions, where you can meet other people in your field.

Credential May Not Be Recognized – While there are many credentials out there in the world, very few are actually recognized by the public – especially if they are industry specific.  For example, how many people outside the insurance industry know that ARM means Associate in Risk Management, instead of just being the word for the appendage coming from your shoulder?
Your Credential Can Be Expensive – Once you have your credential, you may have to join the membership society (costs money).  Every year, you may have to renew your credential (MORE money).  You may have to take CPE too (STILL MORE MONEY).   Whoever would have thought that those extra few letters could be so expensive?

In short, you just want to make sure that what you put into those extra letters is worth what you get out of them.  If it is, another credential can put you at the top of your industry.
David Peters is the Head of Legal, Admin, Finance, and MIS at in Glen Allen and a Ph.D. student at The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pa.  His areas of expertise include insurance accounting, tax, and financial planning.  He is a VSCPA member, and, yes, he is a CPCU.

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