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Bachelor's Degrees in Financial Planning

A bachelor's degree program in financial planning includes topics in securities futures, income tax management and retirement planning. Learn about the courses in a financial planning bachelor's degree program, and find out about certification options and the typical duties of a financial planner.

What Kind of Financial Planning Bachelor's Degrees Are Available?

Some schools offer a Bachelor of Science in Financial Planning or Personal Financial Planning. Other schools may offer an undergraduate consumer science or business degree with a financial planning concentration. All of these 4-year programs provide you with a foundation in business basics before moving on to discuss investment strategies and other financial decision-making factors. When you're finished, you'll be prepared to work as a financial planner with banks, insurance companies or individuals.

Degrees Available B.S. in Financial Planning or a business degree with a financial planning concentration
Program Curriculum Statistics, finance, microeconomics, budgeting, accounting
Online Programs Some schools offer financial planning bachelor degree programs that can be completed online
Certification The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Job Outlook (2016-2026)15% growth (for personal financial advisors)*
Median Salary (2018)$88,890 (for personal financial advisors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Type of Classes Will I Take?

Most financial planning programs combine a handful of economics and business courses. You're likely to take classes in accounting, business law, management, microeconomics, statistics and finance. You'll focus much of your attention on issues like debt crisis management, budgeting, personal retirement and family economics. Many programs also include courses in estate planning, investment planning, retirement planning and insurance planning. If you enroll in a consumer science program, expect to take additional courses in consumer protection and consumer economics.

Are These Programs Offered Online?

Some schools do offer financial planning bachelor's degree programs that can be completed entirely online. To get started in an online program, you'll need a broadband Internet connection and a reliable Web browser such as Firefox. Some schools may require you to obtain additional software, such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. You may also need software like Adobe Acrobat Reader, Windows Media Viewer or Quicktime Player to access audio and video media.

Do I Need To Become Certified?

Although it is not required, there are ways for prospective financial planners to become certified. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards grants the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credential. To be eligible for certification, bachelor's degree program graduates will need to pass the CFP Certification Examination and have three years of professional experience. Some schools include certification exam preparation as part of their bachelor's degree curriculum.

If you plan on selling clients financial products such as stocks and bonds, you will need to be registered with your state securities commission or a national regulatory authority, such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This process usually requires the completion of a written qualifying examination.

What Is the Career Outlook For a Financial Planner?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), personal financial advisers earned a median annual salary of $88,890 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also projected that employment opportunities for personal financial advisers will grow 15% between 2016-2026. This high rate of growth will be due to a large number of American workers retiring and making personal investments.