Financial Advisor Certification and Certificate Programs

Financial advisor certificate programs prepare students for licensing exams and certification eligibility. These certificate programs are offered at community colleges and public and private universities and colleges.

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Essential Information

Financial advisor certificate programs are typically intended for non-finance majors and degree-holders looking to advance or switch careers. Students can expect to learn about financial planning matters, such as estate planning and investments. Online courses in financial planning or advising are commonly available, so students looking to study from home should have a wide range of options. Graduates who become financial advisors may need to earn and maintain certification in the field.


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  • Banking Related Services
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Certificate in Financial Advising

The admission requirements for financial advising certificate programs vary for each school. Some schools require students to have a bachelor's degree or be enrolled in a bachelor's program. Previous coursework in math, economics and accounting is usually required by all programs. Financial adviser certificate programs typically have 7-9 courses, depending on the school. Coursework prepares students to earn financial planning certification. Some common classes include:

  • Business finance
  • Estate and retirement planning
  • Insurance
  • Risk and financial management
  • Taxation
  • Investing

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that personal financial advisors earned a median salary of $89,160 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). The number of personal financial advisor jobs is expected to grow 30% between 2014 and 2024, the BLS also stated. This higher than average rate is fueled by people seeking retirement advice.

Continuing Education

Financial advisors that buy and sell stocks, insurance policies and other securities need appropriate licensing, according to the BLS. Licensing requirements vary for each state and information is available from the North American Securities Administrator Association (www.nasaa.org).

Some employers may require their financial advisors to earn voluntary certifications, such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification, which is administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Eligible candidates must have at least three years of qualified work experience and meet specific education requirements, such as having a bachelor's degree or completing a CFP board-registered program. CFP certification needs renewing every two years.

Overall, financial advisors may need to complete a bachelor's degree program before embarking on a financial advisor certificate program, but the requirements will vary depending on the institution. After gaining certification, financial advisors may need to obtain licensing depending on state requirements.

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