Technical analysis is a method of predicting a stock's future price direction relying primarily on its price chart. Technical analysis has been around since Japanese rice traders developed a system that helped them predict price turning points by graphing prices based on their high, low, open and closing prices during the course of a day. Today, there are many methods used by technical analysts, and even education programs that provide certification for those who wish to obtain it.
Chartered Market Technician (CMT) Program
The Chartered Market Technician (CMT) program is a certification program provided by the Market Technicians Association (MTA), a nonprofit organization. In order to obtain CMT certification, you are required to complete three course levels totaling 400 academic hours of training. Coursework is provided online, but there is an exam for each course level which must be taken at one of the many MTA-certified exam centers stationed around the world.
Certified Financial Technician (CFTe)
Certified Financial Technician (CFTe) certification is provided by the International Federation of Technical Analysts (IFTA), which is also a nonprofit organization. CFTe certification requires the self-study completion of two separate course levels, followed by two certification examinations, which are provided in several major cities around the world. The IFTA estimates that it will take up to two years to complete course work.
Master of Financial Technical Analysis (MFTA)
The IFTA also provides Master of Financial Technical Analysis (MFTA) certification to those who have already obtained their CFTe designation. MFTA coursework takes at least one year to complete and is followed by one examination. In order to receive an MFTA certificate, you will be required to write an academic research paper.
There are no legal requirements for stock market analysts to obtain technical analysis certification. However, certification can help open doors to a career at a financial institution, such as a mutual fund or brokerage company. Certification demonstrates to prospective employers that you have a thorough knowledge of a wide range of technical analysis methods.