17 FINRA License Certifications To Earn as a Finance Professional
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published January 3, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Whether you're a novice practitioner or an expert finance professional, earning a FINRA license is a viable option to help you enter the securities industry. From securities traders to research analysts, there are many specialized qualifications for you to consider. Learning about the various credentials can help you make a more informed decision about choosing the one that most closely aligns with your expertise and career goals. In this article, we review what a FINRA license is, explore a list of 17 licenses to and offer tips to help you prepare for the certification exams.
What is a FINRA license?
A FINRA license is a qualification you can earn from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to become a broker, investment representative, securities sales agent or other securities-focused financial professional. This organization oversees the requirements and distribution of all securities licensing credentials, including the administering of exams. There are many types of FINRA licenses for both representative and supervisor levels, allowing professionals to choose the license that aligns with their experience and specialized area of investment or business.
17 FINRA licenses you can earn
Here are 17 FINRA series licenses you can earn after completing the corresponding exam:
The Series 6 certification prepares entry-level finance professionals with the knowledge to sell variable annuities and mutual funds. A representative with this license can solicit, purchase and sell securities, such as:
Variable life insurance
Municipal fund securities
Local government investment pools
529 savings plans
Unit investment trusts
The exam for earning this qualification is one hour and 30 minutes long, has 50 questions and costs $75.
The Series 7 certification helps registered entry-level finance professionals develop the skills to sell company securities and options. Licensed representatives can solicit, purchase and sell a variety of securities, such as:
Public offerings and private placements of corporate securities
Money market funds
The exam for a Series 7 license is three hours and 45 minutes long, has 125 questions and costs $300.
3. Series 22 - Direct Participation Programs Limited Representative
The Series 22 certification prepares entry-level finance practitioners to sell limited partnerships. A candidate who achieves this accreditation can manage operations in various areas, such as:
Limited liability companies
Real estate leases
Oil and gas leases
Direct participation programs
The exam for earning this license is one hour and 30 minutes long, has 50 questions and costs $60.
The Series 57 license is for entry-level security traders who want to learn to execute equity, convertible or preferred debt securities. A candidate with this certification can perform a variety of trader-related activities, such as:
NASDAQ equity trading
OTC equity trading
The Series 57 exam is one hour and 45 minutes long, has 50 questions and costs $80.
The Series 79 certification prepares entry-level finance representatives to perform duties like advising clients about debt and equity security offerings through public offerings, acquisitions, private placements and mergers. A candidate who earns this certification can advise and facilitate clients about many topics, such as:
Business combination transactions
The licensing exam is two hours and 30 minutes long, has 75 questions and costs $300.
Related: How To Become an Investment Banker
6. Series 82 - Private Securities Offerings Representative
The Series 82 credential prepares finance specialists to solicit and sell private placement securities as part of a complete and primary stock offering. The exam for earning this qualification is one hour and 30 minutes long, has 50 questions and costs $60. Passing the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam is also necessary before a professional can earn this license.
7. Series 86/87 - Research Analyst
A Series 86/87 license provides candidates with the knowledge to produce electronic and written reports that assess companies, equity securities and various industry sectors. Primary functions for someone who earns this credential may include:
Data and information collection
There are two parts to the licensing exam. The Series 86 exam is four hours and 30 minutes, has 100 questions and costs $225. The Series 87 exam is one hour and 45 minutes, has 50 questions and costs $150.
The Series 99 license allows finance professionals to perform tasks like customer onboarding, funds disbursements and account transfers. The primary topics for this exam include professionalism, ethics and knowledge of the securities industry and broker-dealer operations. Licensed operations professionals can perform many activities, such as:
Securities delivery and receipt
Approval of information entitlement policies
Approval of pricing models for valuations
The exam for this license is one hour and 30 minutes, has 50 questions and costs $60.
The Series 4 certification gives high-level finance practitioners the knowledge to perform various tasks related to regulatory compliance over trading, underwriting and market-making. A candidate with this license can also advertise and handle products like:
Foreign currency options
Options on government
Interest rate options
The Series 4 exam is three hours and 25 minutes, has 125 questions and costs $105 dollars.
The Series 9/10 license allows high-level finance professionals to approve customer accounts and train sales supervisory personnel. A professional with this license can also perform activities related to topics such as:
Corporate securities sales
Certificates and repos of accrual on government securities
The Series 9/10 exam for earning this qualification has two parts. The Series 9 exam is one hour and 30 minutes long, has 55 questions and costs $130. The Series 10 exam is four hours long, has 145 questions and costs $175.
11. Series 14 - Compliance Officer
The Series 14 accreditation is for finance professionals and prepares them with the skills to perform as compliance officers. A candidate who earns this certification can expect to become more knowledgeable on a diverse range of topics, such as:
Customer and employee accounts
Markets and operations
Credit regulation and capital requirements
The exam for earning this qualification is 3 hours long, has 110 questions and costs $350.
12. Series 16 - Supervisory Analysts
The Series 16 credential gives finance practitioners the competencies to work as supervisory analysts. Licensed analysts can examine and manage many items, such as:
Price target changes
Research reports on equity securities and debts
Commentaries about market, political and economic conditions
Statistical summaries on the financial data of multiple companies
The exam for earning this qualification has two parts. Part one is one hour and 30 minutes long, has 50 questions and costs $240. Part two is two hours long, has 50 questions and costs $245.
13. Series 23 - General Securities Principal - Sales Supervisor
The Series 23 license prepares finance specialists to work as a sales supervisor and management broker-dealer based on general securities. A professional with this certification can perform various activities, such as:
Retail and institutional customer supervising
Investment researching and bank supervising
The exam for a Series 23 license is two hours and 30 minutes long, has 100 questions and costs $105.
The Series 24 accreditation is for finance professionals who want to supervise and manage broker-dealer general securities. A general securities principal can supervise a variety of activities, such as:
Market making and trading activities
Investment research and banking
Institutional and retail customer-focused activities
General broker-dealer activities
Broker-deal registration activities
Private securities offerings
The exam for earning this qualification is three hours and 45 minutes long, has 150 questions and costs $175.
Related: 12 High-Paying Jobs in Finance
The Series 26 credential provides finance practitioners with the competencies to supervise and manage organizations registered under the 1940 Investment Company Act. Licensed professionals can perform several functions, such as:
Managing personnel activities
Overseeing of sales practices
Supervising associated people
Managing compliance and broker-dealer business processing
Managing closed-end funds
Managing variable life insurance
Handling variable annuities
Overseeing mutual funds
The Series 27 certification is for finance specialists who want to fulfill the rules, responsibilities, recording and expectations of a broker-dealer. A candidate with this license can perform activities related to a variety of topics, such as:
Back office operations
Cash and funding management
Books and records preservation
The Series 27 exam is three hours and 45 minutes long, has 145 questions and costs $175.
Related: 11 Careers in Corporate Finance
17. Series 28 - Introducing Broker/Dealer Financial and Operations Principal
The Series 28 license prepares financial professionals to perform the duties of a broker-dealer and record keeper. A candidate with this certification can fulfill tasks related to:
Maintenance and preparation of records and books
Back office operations
Financial responsibility and rules compliance
Management of net capital
Customer protection management
The exam for earning this qualification is two hours long, has 95 questions and costs $150.
Related: 10 Popular Finance Jobs and Salaries
Tips for taking FINRA licensing exams
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a FINRA licensing exam:
Review the requirements and enrollment procedures for each exam you want to take to ensure you meet all the prerequisites.
Complete your exam within 120 from the day of enrollment.
Schedule your exam far enough in advance so you can give yourself at least 80 hours to study.
Determine the content you're least familiar with and focus on studying that material the most.
Develop a study plan.
Find online resources that can help you prepare.
Locate your testing center and review their regulations so you know what to expect on your examination day.
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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