Masters in Financial Planning Degree Programs

A master's degree in financial planning is designed to expose students in advance topics such as estate planning practices and investment management. Certification and Ph.D. programs are available for those who completed their master's degree.

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Essential Information

Master's degrees in financial planning equip students with the skills to help people save money, plan for retirement, and protect wealth. Studies are relevant and practical, including topics such as insurance planning. Most programs lead to the Master of Science (M.S.) in Financial Planning, although other degree types may be available, such as an M.S. in Finance or a Master of Business Administration in Financial Planning. Additionally, since many students are working professionals there are schools that offer flexible learning options such online programs.

A bachelor's degree in a related field may be helpful in admission to a master's program. Previous coursework in basic college math and basic knowledge of computers are also prerequisites. Master's degrees in financial planning usually take less than two years to finish. Following degree completion, graduates are prepared to obtain the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification.

Master of Science in Financial Planning

Master's degree programs in financial planning usually cover a range of subjects and combine real-world knowledge with financial planning theory. Students complete classroom coursework and may take part in off-campus internships to develop hands-on experience in the field. Below is a list of some of the classes that may be included in the curriculum of such a degree:

  • Income tax planning
  • Estate planning
  • Personal investment management
  • Retirement and employee benefits planning
  • Capital accumulation
  • Trusts and gifts

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,, the employment of personal financial advisors is expected to grow by 30% between 2014 and 2024. This job outlook is much faster than average compared to other professions. The BLS also states that the median annual wage for personal financial advisors was $89,160, according to data released in May 2015.

Continuing Education Information

Through the certified financial planner Board of Standards, personal financial planners can obtain the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree programs in financial planning are also available. These programs are geared towards students who plan to teach or conduct financial planning research.

Master's degrees in financial planning usually combine off-campus internships with classroom lectures on topics such as insurance planning, taxation, and risk management. Financial planners can opt to take the CFP certification and/or pursue further studies for career advancement.

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