Required Education for Becoming a Financial Consultant

Most financial consultants require an extensive amount of formal education and training. Learn about the education, curriculum and training to see if this is the right career for you.

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Financial consultants advise their clients on the most effective financial decisions. In order to become a financial consultant, you must have a bachelor's degree related to business but many opt for a master's degree or professional certifications to differentiate themselves from their professional competition.

Essential Information

Financial consultants or financial advisors are professionals with skills and knowledge on investments, retirement planning and debt management. Individuals working as financial consultants often work for banks, brokerage houses and other asset management companies.

Required Education Bachelor's degree, typically in a discipline related to business
Other Requirements Optional Master's degree and professional certifications
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 30% *
Median Salary (2015) $89,160 annually *

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Education Requirements for Financial Consultants

Like many other professionals working in the finance and banking industries, financial consultants usually possess at least a bachelor's degree in any subject though most choose majors related to business. Some investment firms allow certain individuals that have extensive experience in sales or entrepreneurship to work as a financial consultant without completing an undergraduate degree. Along with a bachelor's degree, a number of financial consultants have graduate degrees, such as a Master of Business Administration.

Undergraduate degree programs in finance are widely available to students seeking careers as financial consultants. Depending on the programs offered by a specific institution of higher education, students can earn either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Some universities and community colleges offer associate's degrees in finance but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that a bachelor's degree is the preferred minimum standard for employment as a financial consultant (www.bls.gov).

The BLS also indicates that personal financial advisors earn a median annual income of $89,160, as of May 2015. During the 2014-2024 decade, employment is expected to rise by 30% for these professionals.

Curriculum for Financial Consultant Education

Undergraduate finance education will involve the study of a wide array of subjects, such as accounting, business administration and mathematics. All students seeking bachelor's degrees in finance will also be expected to learn about risk management, principles of investing and financial statement analysis. Along with traditional coursework, students pursuing finance bachelor's degrees might want to consider an internship with a financial advising firm or an investment management company.

Training Information for Financial Consultants

Training for a career as a financial consultant is usually earned on the job and through professional certification offered by various recognized organizations, such as the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Requirements for earning a professional certification will vary between organizations but most require a bachelor's degree. Though optional in many jurisdictions, certification like the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., is often required for employees with major investment firms.

Some larger companies might require financial consultants to complete an in-house training program before starting real world practice. These programs acclimate new employees to company standards, investing strategies and local regulations. Corporate training programs might also involve ethics guidelines and company standards of behavior.

If you're interested in becoming a financial advisor, you'll first need to earn a bachelor's degree in a business related subject. It's also advised that you earn a master's degree or optional professional certification to really stand out to potential employers.

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