A few schools offer online bachelor's degree programs in financial planning, either totally online or in hybrid format with both online and on-campus coursework. Students in these programs learn about financial analysis, management and planning. Courses may include estate planning, investments and family financial planning. Students may also take courses in accounting, ethics and business. Completion of general education classes is required for application to some programs.
While choosing a program, students should make sure it meets the standards for the certified financial planner (CFP) examination administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. A degree is not necessary to take this exam, but degree work must be completed within a set time period after certification. There are continuing education requirements as well.
Bachelor's Degree for CFPs
Aspiring CFPs typically study finance at the undergraduate level. These bachelor's degree programs expose students to a wide range of concepts in the areas of financial analysis, financial management and financial planning. Prerequisite courses for some programs include algebra, pre-algebra and introductory computer classes. Successful students are most often awarded a Bachelor of Science, although they may also undertake finance schooling in their pursuit of a Bachelor of Business Administration.
Program Information and Requirements
Bachelor's degree programs for prospective CFPs can be conducted entirely online or through a hybrid combination of online and on-campus courses. Basic technical requirements include updated versions of Windows, Microsoft Office, QuickTime and Adobe Acrobat. Programs may call for such additional provisions as sound and video cards, high-speed Internet connection capability and a drive for CDs or DVDs. Schools may request that students have updated versions of virus protection software.
Coursework leading to a bachelor's degree in financial planning focuses on estate planning, tax planning, retirement planning and insurance planning. In addition to these types of finance courses, the curriculum might include accounting, economics, ethics and business courses.
Personal or Family Financial Planning
Topics include debt management, retirement planning and investing. Classes also discuss how to develop and assess financial statements and develop client relationships.
This course covers a variety of investment tools and strategies. Students learn how to help clients invest in stocks and bonds and to develop diverse investment portfolios.
Students learn about federal estate laws, gift taxes and ways in which to provide for beneficiaries. They also study various tax laws and structures relating to estate planning.
This class addresses financial analysis techniques and methods for both corporations and individuals. Topics include budgeting, investment theories, financial ratios, forecasting and portfolio development.
Completion of an online bachelor's degree program in financial planning can lead to a career as a family financial planner, corporate financial planner, financial analyst, estate planner or investment manager. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates a 12% job growth rate in the financial analyst field between 2018 and 2028. In May 2018, the reported average annual salary for financial analysts was $100,990 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Though a bachelor's degree is required to become a financial planner, one does not need to possess the degree prior to taking the CFP examination administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. The CFP Board allows for individuals to supply proof of holding a 4-year degree up to five years after the examination is successfully taken. CFPs must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain this certification, with two hours of study devoted to the financial planner code of ethics and practice standards.
An online bachelor's degree program in financial planning teaches students financial analysis methods, estate planning, and investment strategies. Individuals who wish to become a financial planner must complete a CFP exam, which can be done before obtaining a bachelor's degree.