Master of Financial Planning: Degree Overview

Oct 21, 2019

Financial planning master's degree programs train students in the various disciplines involved in wealth management. Learn about courses, requirements, employment outlook, and salary for those who complete this program.

Essential Information

Master of Financial Planning prepares graduates for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) examination. The programs are available on college campuses and online or in combination formats. Rather than a thesis requirement, some programs feature capstone courses or practicum experiences. Programs generally require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. Some programs expect applicants to possess proficiency in key subjects, such as mathematics and computers.

Master of Financial Planning

A professional financial planner assists clients in developing strategies to achieve long-term financial goals. Program disciplines include investing, income tax planning, estate planning, risk management, healthcare financing and retirement planning. Students learn the process of determining a client's financial condition by analyzing various elements. These include the client's income prospects, consumer-buying patterns, risk profile, investing habits, healthcare needs and retirement expectations. This training uses quantitative and analytical models to create a unique financial plan for each client. Here is a list of some courses:

  • Capital accumulation and wealth preservation
  • Federal income taxation, trusts and estates
  • Portfolio management
  • Real estate
  • Household economics
  • Financial counseling and client communications

Popular Career Options

Programs equip graduates with the skills needed to work for employers such as securities brokers, insurance companies and banks. The following are career options:

  • Financial planner, consultant or counselor
  • Investment advisor
  • Portfolio manager
  • Account executive
  • Registered representative

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects personal financial advisors to have 7% employment growth over the 2018 to 2028 decade ( The median wage in May 2018 for this career was $88,890 annually. A 4% growth is expected for securities, commodities and financial services sales agents during the same period. These agents received a median annual wage of $64,120, as reported in May 2018.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates can pursue the CFP certification, which is obtained by satisfying specific education, work experience and examination requirements. This certification is voluntary, but could be preferred by employers. Graduates may continue their formal education by obtaining a doctoral degree in financial planning. Such programs include topics of study in tax planning, risk management and retirement planning, and can require the completion of a dissertation for graduation.

A master's degree program for financial planning offers coursework related to investing, risk management, and retirement planning, as well as practicum experiences. Graduates of the program can take the CFP exam to become certified.

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