Thousands of advisors have taken steps to broaden their knowledge of alternative investments.
   The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association-an organization focused on educating professionals about alternative investments-says that 3,800 people have earned its CAIA designation over the past four years.
   The designation is earned by passing two series of written tests given by the association.
   About half of the CAIA certificants have been financial advisors, with the rest consisting of other financial industry professionals, including hedge fund and pension fund managers.
   The number of registrants for each test has doubled from the previous period, says Justin Perras, an association spokesman.
   "More and more professionals are seeing the need to get the CAIA designation," he says.