What Does Being CSC Certified Mean? (Benefits and Careers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 1, 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.

Due to its importance, the government heavily regulates the financial sector, especially the marketing and sales of securities and assets. The Canadian Securities Course (CSC) is one of the basic requirements for people looking to sell and offer consultations on mutual funds and other securities. Understanding how to be CSC certified can help you take the necessary steps toward becoming a financial professional. In this article, we discuss what it means to hold a CSC certification, outline how to earn one, identify its benefits, and highlight careers you can consider with a CSC certification.

What does it mean to be CSC certified?

Being CSC certified means you have completed the Canadian Securities Course exam and fulfilled other requirements to earn the professional designation. The Canadian Securities Institute is responsible for administering the CSC and exam. The CSC gives individuals extensive training on the Canadian securities market and knowledge relevant to trading exchange-traded funds (ETFs), stocks, mutual funds, and other fixed-income assets. Completing the CSC and passing the exam grants you the authority to work as an investment representative for a registered securities broker.

Related: How to Become an Equity Trader (With Steps and Salary)

How to obtain a CSC certification

Here's an overview of the steps to obtain a CSC certification:

1. Complete your tertiary education

While there are no educational prerequisites to taking and completing the CSC, it requires some work experience to earn your certification. As a result, it's important you complete the tertiary education necessary to get a relevant job in the financial industry. You can opt for a bachelor's degree in accounting, economics, or another related course. This allows you access to careers such as a financial planner, actuary, or investment banker. You can also choose a diploma if you have limited resources and time to spare. Finally, your tertiary education may help you prepare for the CSC.

2. Get a job

After completing your tertiary education, you can apply for a job. This is important for attaining the work experience requirements for your certification. Ensure you get a job within the financial industry and with an employer who can attest to your experience. You can start by searching for available roles in your area to get a job. Similarly, you can inform your personal and professional connections that you're looking for a job. Craft a well-written resume and cover letter highlighting your most impressive qualifications. Similarly, prepare for your interview and other assessment procedures.

3. Enrol for the CSC

You can enrol for the CSC from anywhere in the world at any time. Once you enrol, you may begin your studies immediately. You can either enrol through the CSI's website or obtain the form and send it via fax. Expect to pay processing fees if submitting via fax and other taxes that may apply. When enrolling, ensure you use your legal name on all official documents.

Related: Guide: How to Become a Stockbroker

4. Complete the CSC exam

After completing the course, you can take the exam as the first step to becoming a licensed and registered securities representative. The exam consists of these two parts:

Exam 1

The first exam comprises 100 multiple-choice questions. It requires a score of 60% to pass, and you can retake it a maximum of three times. Here's an overview of the subjects this exam covers and their percentage of the total exam score:

  • The Canadian investment marketplace—15%

  • The economy—13%

  • Features and types of fixed-income securities—12%

  • Pricing and trading of fixed-income securities—11%

  • Common and preferred shares—13%

  • Derivatives—10%

  • Equity transactions—10%

  • Financing and listing securities—8%

  • Corporations and their financial statements—8%

Exam 2

The second exam also consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. The exam lasts two hours and requires a score of 60% to pass. You can retake the exam a maximum of three times. Here's an overview of the subjects the exam covers and their percentage of the total exam score:

  • Investment analysis—18%

  • Mutual funds—14%

  • Alternative investments, other managed and structured products—16%

  • Canadian taxation—6%

  • Exchange-traded funds—10%

  • Working with the institutional client—10%

  • Portfolio analysis—18%

  • Fee-based accounts and working with the retail client—8%

Benefits of obtaining the CSC certificate

Here's an overview of some of the benefits of obtaining a CSC certification:

Preparing you for licensing

Completing the CSC and earning the certification is the first step to becoming a licensed investment representative. It also fulfills some of the requirements to obtain a licence from the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). This certification also satisfies various provincial regulatory bodies and the Mutual Funds Dealer Association requirements.

Developing relevant skills

The CSC provides extensive training on various assets, the Canadian securities market, and various relevant regulations. This can help you develop the financial knowledge and skills to apply in your career. This can also aid your career advancement and give you access to various professional opportunities.

Demonstrating commitment

Completing the CSC is a great way to show commitment to starting a career in the financial industry. This can aid you when applying for jobs and other professional opportunities, such as seminars and scholarships. By enrolling in the course, you can meet other like-minded professionals and grow your network.

Preparing you for other certifications

Completing the CSC is the first step in obtaining various designations, such as Personal Financial Planner (PFP) and the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM). Similarly, you can leverage the certificate to complete other courses under the Canadian Securities Institute. Obtaining these designations can aid your career advancement and make you an impressive candidate for various positions.

Related: 16 Examples of the Best Certifications for Your Career

Improving your qualifications

You can include the CSC certification on your resume after earning it. This demonstrates competence to potential employers and can boost your job applications. It can also qualify you for a promotion or a career change, depending on your interests.

Careers to consider with a CSC certification

Here are some careers to consider after obtaining a CSC certification:

1. Financial planner

National average salary: $58,775 per year

Primary duties: A financial planner is a qualified and licensed financial or investment professional who advises clients to help them reach their financial and investment goals. Their services include providing investment advice, planning retirements, managing wealth, and processing tax and insurance. Their duties also include holding consultation plans with clients, developing individual financial plans, establishing relationships with new clients, and staying up to date with relevant finance, tax, and insurance regulations. Obtaining a CSC certification enables them to recommend and sell financial products as a financial planner, which can help you increase your earnings.

Related: What Does a Financial Adviser Do? (And How to Become One)

2. Investment adviser

National average salary: $63,945 per year

Primary duties: Investment advisers help individuals and organizations with their investment decisions. They advise their clients which assets to invest in and when and how much to invest. Their typical duties include educating clients on relevant assets and securities, creating an investment profile for each client, analyzing various securities, making forecasts, and keeping records. Obtaining the CSC certification provides them with insight into the financial market, which can help them make more accurate forecasts and provide their clients with better advice.

3. Portfolio manager

National average salary: $79,294 per year

Primary duties: A portfolio manager is a financial and investment professional who manages their clients' investments. Their duties include holding consultation sessions with clients, monitoring their investment accounts, providing consistent and detailed reports on investment performance, and monitoring relevant market trends. Most employers and clients require portfolio managers to have a bachelor's degree in finance, business, accounting, or in another related field. Obtaining the CSC certification can enhance their career as a portfolio manager as it helps them understand various securities. They can leverage this knowledge to make better investment decisions and properly manage their clients' accounts.

4. Investment representative

National average salary: $60,612 per year

Primary duties: Investment professionals recommend and market financial products and services to customers. They typically work at banks, investment firms, or credit unions. They specialize in selling financial products to customers through various means, including cold calls, in-person sales pitches, and other sales leads. They require a CSC certification for authorization to recommend and sell securities and other financial products. Obtaining the CSC improves their knowledge of financial markets, which can aid them in making forecasts, recommending investment strategies to clients, and creating reports.

5. Chief financial officer

National average salary: $128,507 per year

Primary duties: A chief financial officer (CFO) is the highest-ranking financial officer in an organization. They're responsible for coordinating, supervising, and designing all activities to maintain an organization's financial well-being. The CFO is an executive team member and participates in decision-making and business strategy. They're also responsible for financing its goals and making informed forecasts about its finances. In addition, the CFO is primarily responsible for dealing with various financial regulatory entities. While professionals don't require a CSC certification to become a CFO, knowledge of financial markets and securities can boost their career.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

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