Financial Planning Career Information and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a financial planner. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

Financial planners assist others in planning their personal or business-related finances. In order to be successful, financial planners need knowledge of economics, statistics and business which can be gained through completion of a bachelor's or master's degree.

Essential Information

Financial planners advise individuals or businesses on their financial futures. Job responsibilities include managing accounts, developing relationships and monitoring the financial markets. These professionals usually need a bachelor's degree in a related business field, such as finance, accounting or economics, for entry-level employment. A master's degree in a related field and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification are helpful for career advancement. State licensure is required if the financial planner buys or sells types of investment or insurance products.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in a related business field; master's degree for career advancement
Other Requirements State licensure for buying and/or selling investments or insurance policies; CFP certification for career advancement
Projected Job Growth 30% from 2014-2024*
Median Salary (2015) $89,160 annually*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Financial Planners

Financial planners are responsible for planning the financial futures of organizations, personal businesses or individuals. Financial planners must have a background in economics, investment banking and tax laws. These financial professionals set up working relationships with their clients and gather all necessary background and financial information. Using this information, financial planners advise and assist their clients in setting up accounts and managing their portfolio. Planners generally meet with clients on a yearly basis to update them on their investments and make financial decisions.

One of the specific job responsibilities for those in financial planning is setting and meeting short-term and long-term financial goals for clients. This may involve creating a retirement plan, organizing a savings plan for college tuition or suggesting long-term investment options. Some individuals with financial planning careers also work with their clients to secure financial investments with real estate and insurance agents.

Educational Requirements

To enter into a career in financial planning, individuals must complete a bachelor's degree in the area of finance, business administration, economics or accounting. For some employers, a graduate degree in these fields is also required. Courses in these programs teach students about statistics, economic developments, corporate budgeting, financial analysis and procedures.

Some financial organizations and companies require applicants to complete ground-level training in sales and marketing. This teaches prospective planners to develop accounts with clients and obtain the necessary training and licenses to work as financial planners.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is the main licensing body for those in the financial planning industry, and the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards offers a credential to professionals with experience in this field. Many employers sponsor an individual who is seeking licensure and certification in the profession.

Financial planners use their expertise to help businesses and individuals meet their financial goals. The minimum requirement for entry-level positions is a bachelor's degree, but a master's degree and additional certification can be beneficial. Financial planners can expect job growth significantly higher than average within the next decade.

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