Financial Planning Degree

Financial planning is an integral process required not only in businesses but also in personal lives. Individuals hire financial planners to streamline their investments and savings such as insurance planning, retirement planning, education expenditures, etc. In businesses, financial planners are required to work with the financial statements such as balance sheets, cash flow statements, and income statements. The advancement in network infrastructure has resulted in many schools offering online financial planning degrees, which are very convenient for working professionals or individuals who are unable to travel to campuses.


Scope of Financial Planning Degrees

Students interested in financial planning degrees can opt for the quickest way into the job market through an associate degree in financial planning and services offered by various community colleges. However, students can become a certified financial planner with a bachelor or a higher degree.

A degree in financial planning can help you find a job in the financial sector.
Financial Planning Degree

Who should apply?

On-campus or online financial planning degrees are for individuals who are meticulous and detail-oriented. Proficiency with numbers is a must as financial planners have to continuously work with numbers. Moreover, they should be good at communications as they have to deal with clients and help them in organizing their financial affairs. Financial planners especially those aiming to work as investment bankers should have the ability to make decisions under pressure.

Admission Requirements and Coursework

Admission in an associate or bachelor program for financial planning requires a high school diploma or GED score. A master level program may be more competitive and require a GRE/GMAT test score besides a bachelor degree for admission. A typical bachelor program in the subject of financial planning usually consists of the following courses:

Fundamentals of Financial Planning

This course is generally a prerequisite to various other financial planning courses. Major topics covered in the course include time value of money, economic and legal environments, financial analysis,financial planning functions, and ethical and professional considerations. Students also acquire practical experience by making use of data-gathering forms, making personal financial statements, budgeting, and dealing with regulatory requirements.

Financial Planning Process and Insurance

This course helps students review basic financial planning principles and familiarize themselves with the concepts of risk management. Important topics covered in the course include risk exposure identification, insurance policy analysis, legal aspects of insurance, and employee benefits. Students also get the opportunity to gain practical knowledge of different types of life insurance policies along with medical and disability insurance, social security benefits, and property and casualty insurance.

Investment Planning

This course trains students in learning how to assess the risk aversion of a client, tax situation, liquidity, and marketability requirements to select a suitable investment option. Key topics included in the course are regulation of markets,investment theory, financial markets,investment vehicles, and modern portfolio theory. Students also learn how to use financial calculators in order to make different financial assessments.

Income Tax Planning

This course enables students to familiarize themselves with income tax planning aspects such as tax law research process, terminology, concepts of income tax accounting, and the computation of tax. Students also learn different tax management techniques, financial planning strategies, and tax implications of employee benefits and investments. The course also covers business structure, sale of personal residence, and passive activity loss.

Retirement Planning and Employee Benefits

With the help of this course, students get familiar with personal and employer-sponsored retirement plans. Important course topics covered in the course are social security and Medicare benefits, IRAs, tax-sheltered annuities,qualified retirement plans, distribution options,taxation and income tax deduction/benefit limitations. Students also learn about qualified plans for employees, retirement needs analysis, and ways to find out suitable investments.

Estate Planning

This course is designed to give students a sound understanding of estate planning. They learn how the federal estate system tax system works and what to keep in mind when conducting estate planning. Major topics include federal estate and gift taxation,use of trusts, life insurance as an estate planning tool,estate planning techniques, gifts, charitable transfers,intra-family business and property transfers, and planning for incapacity.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for personal financial advisors was $67,520 in May 2012. There is a positive job outlook for personal financial advisors as their employment opportunities are likely to grow at a rate of 27 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is a lot faster than the average growth for all occupations.
The major cause of high employment growth is aging population. With the retirement of a large number of baby boomers, the requirement to seek planning advice from personal financial advisors will rise. Besides, the longer life expectancy will result in longer retirement periods and will further escalate the demand for financial planning services.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Degree in Financial Planning?

Many schools in the US, such as the Texas Tech University and the University of New Orleans, are offering degrees in Financial Planning. Students can opt for a 4-year Bachelor in Finance with a concentration in Financial Planning, or a 1-2 years Master of Science (M.S) in Personal Financial Planning. After completing the degree, individuals can find employment at mutual fund companies, financial service firms, banks and insurance companies.

What Are the Requirements to Complete a Degree in Financial Planning?

In order to obtain a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Finance in Financial Planning, students are generally expected to complete a total of 120 credits and those enrolled in the Master of Science (M.S) in Personal Financial Planning are required to complete around 36 credits. They have to study modules like Personal Estate Planning, Portfolio Management, Money and Capital Markets, International Finance, Insurance Planning and Personal Selling.

How Much Can I Make after Completing a Degree in Financial Planning?

Personal Financial Advisors made $88,890 in May 2018 in annual median pay. The number of people working in this particular field was 271,700 in 2018. It is predicted that job opportunities for Personal Financial Advisors will grow by 7% from 2018 to 2028. This data has been obtained from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Work Environment

Personal financial advisors generally work for financial and insurance companies. However, many financial advisors also choose to be self employed.  Following are the major industries that employ personal financial advisors:

  • Financial Investment activities
  • Credit intermediation and related services
  • Security and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage
  • Insurance carriers and related activities
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services

Professional financial advisors generally work in offices, but their job can include travelling as well.  They can travel to attend different conferences or to teach finance  classes. The job of a personal financial advisor is considered to be relatively less stressful than other finance related occupations.

States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 1660 0.11 1.26 18.13 37720
Florida 1130 0.14 1.68 17.97 37370
Illinois 960 0.16 1.92 17.9 37240
Texas 760 0.07 0.78 16.62 34570
New York 650 0.07 0.85 20.12 41840


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:Reading about financial planning process mentioned gathering client data. What is the purpose of that?

A:Gathering client data would be mentioned when reading about financial planning process. It is the process of collecting and identifying the financial goals of the clients. It also includes determination of time frame with the client and gathering of necessary documents to accomplish the required objectives. Prospective students interested in this are recommended to search our website for more information.

Q:How can I get into the career of financial planning?

A:Financial Planning is only one of the sections of the broad category of finance. Students seeking financial planning careers can consider getting enrolled in the bachelor and/or associate program in finance. Our website offers a long list of institutes providing finance degree programs. These include campus based and online institutes.

Q:Financial planning degree programs entail what important subjects?

A:In a financial planning degree, students will undergo a study of various financial subjects. These typically include the following: insurance planning, fundamentals of financial planning, estate planning, wealth management, financial case management, and taxation. Students can opt for financial management programs at associate, bachelor, masters, and doctorate level. On the other hand, a number of certificate programs and short courses are also available in this academic field.

Q:Financial planning education can be pursued at what level?

A:Financial planning education is offered to students interested in initiating a career in the finance field. This academic field can be opted as a major in bachelor degree programs, master's degree programs, and associate degree programs. There are also certificate course available in financial planning. Financial planning education is ranked among the most popularly pursued academic paths nowadays.

Q:Can you please tell me about the main online financial planning courses offered in a bachelor program?

A:In a typical online bachelor program on financial planning, the main topics usually covered are Principles of Financial Planning, Income Tax Planning, Investments, Retirement Planning, Insurance Planning, Estate Planning and Global finance. Along with these courses, some basic business courses are also taught in these degrees which form an important part of the curriculum. You should carefully look at the online program you wish to pursue and see the required courses for more information.

Q:Can you become a personal financial adviser after taking financial planning courses online? What do they do?

A:Yes, you can pursue a career as a personal financial adviser after successfully completing a bachelor's degree with courses in finance, economics, accounting mathematics or financial planning. Many colleges and universities offer online bachelor's programs in financial planning. Personal financial advisers give financial advice to people and help them with their taxes, investments and insurance decisions.

Q:Can you tell me about the courses relevant to finance that I will be covering in financial planning degrees?

A:In a financial planning degree program, you will cover all kinds of management and finance-related subjects. The curriculum will basically depend upon the level of degree. However, important areas such as the following are covered: financial principles, investments and portfolio management, tax management and strategy, financial planning, and retirement planning.

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