With no specific field of study required to become a financial advisor, many online degree programs can start individuals on this career path. While bachelor's degrees in fields like accounting, finance, risk management and economics can lay the groundwork with fundamentals, those degrees are more common as on-campus programs; focused financial planning programs are found more often online as Master of Business Administration or Master of Science programs in financial planning or family financial planning. Many of these have no on-campus requirements. Online master's degrees for financial planners include study of statistics, risk management and investment vehicles such as stocks, insurance and real estate.
Students working towards a master's degree must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Online students may also be required to have Microsoft Office Suite, speakers and a microphone.
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Financial Advisor Master's Degree
Online master's degree programs for financial advisors include Master of Business Administration in Financial Planning, Master of Science in Health and Human Development with a concentration in family financial planning, and Master of Science in Human Environmental Sciences with a family financial planning specialization.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) advises, however, that employers do not usually specify a field of study for personal financial advisors (www.bls.gov). Therefore, students may begin their financial advisor education with an online bachelor's degree in accounting, economics or finance.
Prior to enrolling in a financial advisor master's degree program, students are required to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. The master's degree programs train students in financial planning, financial counseling and retirement planning.
Online Financial Advisor Graduate Program Requirements
Most online financial advisor master's degree programs can be completed entirely online. The distance learning courses are structured but also provide the flexibility online students need. Many online programs use accelerated instruction techniques to allow students to complete the program in as little as a year and a half. Each class has a particular distance learning instruction format. Some instructional tools are audio files, virtual classroom lectures, slide presentations and webinars.
Financial advisor master's degree distance learning programs recommend students have the Microsoft Office Suite software, e-mail access, a soundcard with speakers and a microphone and an updated, compatible Internet browser.
List of Common Financial Advisor Courses
Financial advisor courses provide the skills necessary for students to oversee a variety of financial planning strategies. They deal with individuals, families and corporations.
Real Estate for Financial Advisors
Students enrolled in this online course study financial calculations, taxes and mortgage rates. Additional topics of study include emerging housing issues and ethics.
Statistics for Financial Advisors
This distance learning course trains students to gather, analyze and interpret financial data. Students also learn to effectively present this data to their clients.
Students enrolled in this online course evaluate how much insurance individuals or groups need based on an assessment of risk. Types of insurance examined include health, life, property, liability and casualty.
This online course provides students with the skills necessary to assist clients in creating retirement portfolios. Students assess distribution options and government plans in determining clients' future needs.
Career Information for Financial Advisors
Even though it isn't always required, certification by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards is a boon to financial advisors who seek career advancement. Many online master's degree financial advisor programs provide the educational requirements necessary for taking the Certified Financial Planner examination. Certified Financial Planner applicants must also meet experience and ethics requirements.
According to a May 2015 report issued by the BLS, personal financial advisors earned a median annual wage of $89,160. The same report also listed a median annual wage of $80,310 for financial analysts.
Students interested in becoming financial advisors or financial analysts may be interested in these online Master of Business Administration or Master of Science programs for financial advisors. These fully online programs help students learn more about real estate, statistics and risk management.