How to Become a Planning Analyst: Education and Career Roadmap

Jul 12, 2018

Research the requirements to become a planning analyst. Learn about the job description and duties, and see the step-by-step process to start a career in finance.

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Should I Become a Planning Analyst?

Planning analysts, also known as financial analysts, gather data to create statistical models that help organizations improve their financial investments or avoid inefficiencies. They might work in banks, insurance companies or securities firms. Frequent travel is required, and planning analysts often work overtime.

Career Requirements

Common Requirements
Degree Level Bachelor's degree; a master's degree is preferred for higher positions*
Degree Field Finance, accounting, business or a related field*
Licensure and Certification Licensure is required, though not prior to employment; voluntary certification is available*
Key Skills Critical thinking, mathematical, communication and problem-solving skills*
Salary (2015) $80,310 (median salary)*

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Planning Analyst

Let's go over the steps required to become a planning analyst.

Step 1: Get a Bachelor's Degree

Entry-level employment as a planning analyst can be acquired after completing a bachelor's degree program in finance, accounting, economics or a related field. Bachelor's degree programs in finance and related fields provide students with the knowledge and techniques needed to locate profitable investments. Knowledge of math, government, electronics and management are important to aspiring planning analysts.

Step 2: Become Licensed

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requires licensure for many planning analysts in the securities industry. Individuals must pass exams and meet continuing education mandates to become licensed. Because employer support is needed for most of the licenses, planning analysts may be hired before obtaining licensure. Communications companies, financial organizations and the federal government are among common employers of planning analysts. Opportunities are also available with management consulting firms.

Step 3: Earn Certification

Certification is available for planning analysts seeking to further their knowledge and skills in the field. The CFA Institute offers the Chartered Financial Analyst certification. To qualify for this certification, planning analysts must pass exams and meet educational and experience requirements. Certified planning analysts are encouraged to complete continuing education activities each year.

Step 4: Career Advancement

Entry-level work can be attained by completing a bachelor's degree program; however, most employers prefer completion of a master's degree program for advanced positions. Planning analysts seeking advanced positions in the field should consider pursuing a master's degree in finance or a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

To become a financial analyst, you'll need to earn a bachelor's degree and get licensed.

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