Financial Advisor School and College Degree Programs

A finance bachelor's degree program lets students develop an understanding of the financial markets and the language, concepts and strategies involved in the field. An MBA in finance offers students a deeper knowledge in such areas as risk management, real estate, entrepreneurial finance and international business

Essential Information

Financial advisors assess the financial needs of companies and individuals and make recommendations on investments and estate planning. To become a financial advisor, you may want to complete a bachelor's or master's degree program. A bachelor's program in finance covers topics like finance, taxation and employee benefits. Upon completing a program, you will be able to work in fields that include banking, insurance and investment. A master's degree may lead to enhanced job prospects and potentially a management-level position. In most master's programs, you can specialize in an area that interests you, such as risk management or international business.

  • Program Levels: Bachelor's and master's
  • Prerequisites: A bachelor program requires a high school diploma or equivalent, math skills and entrance exams; a graduate program requires a bachelor's degree and MBA applicants will need to take the GMAT
  • Program Specializations: Graduate students can specialize in topics like risk management or international business

Bachelor's Degree in Finance

Pursuing a career as a financial advisor requires interpersonal, professional and financial management skills. Acceptance into a bachelor's degree program requires a high school diploma or equivalent. College placement exams are usually required, and schools may look for students who are strong in math. Those who want to begin a career as a financial advisor need to enroll in a financial advisor program that teaches conceptual, quantitative and analytical skills. Courses teach students a variety of problem-solving skills in security analysis, corporate finance, portfolio management and financial planning. The curriculum includes classes in:

  • Finance
  • Financial marketing
  • Financial statement analysis
  • Risk management and insurance
  • Taxation
  • Employee benefits and retirement planning

Master's in Business Administration (MBA) in Finance

Financial advisors with advanced degrees are used to oversee personal and business finances. Students develop strategic management skills in both the international and national financial arenas. Those enrolled in an MBA in finance program can expect every course relate to real world financial situations. The curriculum is designed to educate students in financial planning and control, financial analysis, capital budgeting and fund positioning. Courses for individuals in a financial advisor school include:

  • Portfolio management
  • Corporate financial analysis
  • Global finance
  • Financial markets

Popular Career Options

The role of a financial advisor has evolved from working with only investments to undertaking retirement planning and budgeting, monitoring real estate holdings and assessing clients' financial portfolios. Career opportunities are available in a number of different financial sectors including:

  • Banking
  • Insurance
  • Mortgage companies
  • Brokerage firms
  • Insurance
  • Investment

Continuing Education

To qualify for a CFA designation, an applicant must have a bachelor's degree and four years of work experience. Individuals must pass three examinations that cover subjects, such as accounting, portfolio management, financial markets, corporate finance, securities analysis and asset valuation. The first CFA exam is offered twice annually, while the second and third examinations are available just once a year.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,, estimated that careers for personal financial advisors may rise 27% from 2012-2022. This growth would be due to the millions of workers expected to retire in upcoming years, which will create opportunities in managing personal finances. As of 2014, the BLS reported that these workers made a median annual salary of $81,060.

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