Overview of Online Financial Planning Certificate Programs
An online financial planning certificate program may be of interest to a variety of people including certified public accountants, individuals looking to earn their certification, or simply people who want to make sure that they have the skills necessary to handle planning their own financial future. Completing this program may help to prepare students to take the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification examination. This program is typically designed for undergraduate students.
Most financial planning certificates are geared towards working professionals in the field of finance. Such individuals would typically already have a bachelor's degree, and one may be required to begin the certificate coursework. Some schools do offer undergraduate certificates in financial planning; for those, students will need to have earned a high school diploma or a GED. Students will need to submit their transcripts for review as well. Once admitted to the program, those enrolled will need to accumulate a minimum of 18 credits from coursework before they are issued their certificate.
Financial Planning Certificate Requirements
Certificate programs in financial planning will teach students a variety of skills, and the entire program can be completed in an online setting. Specific course topics that students may see while working to complete this program include retirement planning, estate planning, and investment planning and portfolio analysis.
A course in retirement planning will cover some of the common issues that are related to retirement. Some of the other areas covered will include retirement regulations, the characteristics of retirement plans, and how to properly review retirement plans. Additionally, students may learn about completing a needs analysis, along with the difference between qualified and non-qualified plans.
Students in this class will learn how to properly develop an estate plan. Topics covered in this class are liquidity planning, legal documents, and gift taxation. Other areas that can be covered to better prepare students for working with estates include wills, trusts, federal estate taxes, and incapacity planning.
Investment Planning and Portfolio Analysis
Investment planning and portfolio analysis is a class that will focus on teaching students how to read the environment of the economy. Students will also learn how to calculate the risks of an investment, and the return that may be received. Other areas commonly covered include security investments, stocks, the stock market, and managing an investment portfolio.
Career Outlook After Earning a Financial Planning Certificate
Financial planning certificate programs often prepare graduates for the CFP exam, which sets both educational and ethical standards. Earning the CFP certification can demonstrate excellence to existing clients as well as draw in new ones. PayScale.com reported in April 2020 that certified financial planners earned an average salary of $66,963, whereas financial planners in general earned $62,745 in March 2020.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has statistics on the related careers of personal financial advisors and financial managers. Personal financial advisors help people to manage their finances and make future plans. As of 2019, the median salary for this position was $87,850 according to the BLS. The expected rate of growth for this career is 7% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average. Financial managers typically need more experience, a minimum of five years, according to the bureau. They help businesses to meet set financial goals. The median salary as of 2019 was $129,890, according to the BLS. The growth rate for the ten-year stretch from 2018 to 2028 is 16%, which is significantly faster than the average rate of growth.
Individuals that want to earn a financial planning certificate can complete the necessary coursework online, and some of the class topics that they may see include estate planning, investment planning and portfolio analysis, and retirement planning. Graduates are typically ready to take the CFP exam.