How to Become a Financial Advisor Online

Dec 14, 2019

Financial advisors help clients to most effectively spend, save, and invest their money. Explore an overview for this career and find out about steps you can take online to prepare for a career as a financial advisor.

Information on the Financial Advisor Career

Financial advisors work with clients to establish financial goals, make recommendations on investments, and explain risks and projections associated with investments, to help them prepare for large financial decisions. Different clients and businesses will have various requirements and preferences for financial advisors. This career can be prepared for by way of online resources without too much difficulty outside of certification.

Required Skills Math skills, communication skills, eye for detail
Job Growth 7% for 2018-2028 (personal financial advisors)*
Median Salary (2018) $88,890 (personal financial advisors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online Steps for Becoming a Financial Advisor

This career has education requirements with potential certification requirements, and some institutions or clients might need or prefer you to complete a master's degree program. The following steps can, however, be completed online except for the certification step.

Step 1: Earn Your Bachelor's Degree

The general minimum requirement for becoming a financial advisor is a bachelor's degree in a degree field related to finance, accounting, and/or mathematics, etc. There are online degree programs available in these different degree fields. These programs will typically take you four years to complete, or longer for part-time students. Courses in these degree programs can help you learn the skills and knowledge you may need to prepare for and work in the financial advisory field -- skills such as mathematics, how to read and interpret financial statements and documents, and how to work with different types of interest.

Step 2: Consider a Graduate Education

Some positions might require you to have completed a master's level of education, and being qualified with this degree can also serve to improve your chances for employment and advancement thereafter, even for places that do not have a master's degree as one of their requirements for employment. A master's degree in finance, accounting, or similar fields can be, therefore, your next step in preparing for this career. With courses such as advanced corporate finance, investments, financial reporting and research, and financial management marketing, these programs can equip you with the knowledge and skills you might need to work as a financial advisor.

Step 3: Pursue Optional or Required Certifications

Becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) can be done through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. This certification might be required by some employers, could improve the chances of employment and advancement, and can increase your potential for signing new clients. Along with a bachelor's degree, you will also need a number of documented hours of first-hand experience and must pass an exam. As such, this is one step that may not be completed entirely with online resources, since the assessment must be taken in a designated testing center. You can register online for the exam, however, and there are online resources you can utilize to prepare for exams, such as the materials provided on the CFP site, as well as third party resources and exam preparation materials. Certification is required for financial advisors who buy and sell stocks on behalf of their clients, sell insurance, or who handle customer investments directly. You can research the requirements of state licensing boards for registered investment advisors online at the North American Securities Administrators Association website.

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