Schools for Financial Advisors
Learn about degree programs, professional certification options and licensure requirements for financial advisors. Find employment outlook and salary information for this career field.
Financial advisors work with financial markets, taxes, insurance, and other financial branches. Prospective students can earn their bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree at a number of colleges around the country; various certifications are also available.
What Degree Will I Need to Work as a Financial Advisor?
According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), personal financial advisors are required to hold a bachelor's degree, with many of them also obtaining master's degrees and doctorates as well as advanced certifications. Since many companies also train their advisors on their procedures and products after hiring, they do not necessarily require any specific degrees, though a background in math, economics, business or law are helpful.
Depending on the type of investment vehicles you offer as a financial advisor, you may need certain certifications and licenses issued by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and your state department of insurance. A FINRA Series 7 License (General Securities Representative) and a Series 66 License (Uniform Combined State Law) are necessary to be able to sell a full range of financial products and operate with the most flexibility in the financial markets.
Which Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees for Financial Advisors?
There are a variety of pathways to consider for 4-year degrees. Online options are also available.
- The University of Alabama offers an online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Human Environmental Sciences, Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Family Financial Planning and Counseling
- The Ohio State University has a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Consumer and Family Financial Services degree program
- Liberty University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business Administration degree program
Which Schools Offer Master's Degrees for Financial Advisors?
Consider a master's degree in financial services or financial planning. Many online options are available.
- The University of Alabama offers an online Master of Science (M.S.) in Human Environmental Sciences with a focus on Family Financial Planning and Counseling, degree program
- The University of Georgia has an online Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in Financial Planning
- The American College of Financial Services offers a Master of Science in Financial Services (MSFS) degree program
Which Schools Offer Doctorate Degrees for Financial Advisors?
Doctorate degrees for financial advisors are plentiful. Some pathways include retirement planning.
- The American College of Financial Services offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program in Financial and Retirement Planning
- Texas Tech University offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program in Personal Financial Planning
- The University of Georgia offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program with a concentration in Financial Planning
What Sort of Training or Classes Will I Need?
Companies that employ financial planners will require additional training in their particular methods and product lines. To become a certified financial planner (CFP), you will need to pass the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.'s exam. Core courses required to sit for the Certified Financial Planner exam include those in insurance, investment, income tax, retirement and estate planning. Universities, community colleges and even some employers offer a short course of study either online or in person that will fulfill these requirements. Likewise, many schools offer master's and doctoral degrees in financial planning, and embed the coursework for the CFP exam within that curriculum.
What Are the Job Prospects for Financial Advisors?
According to the BLS, the number of personal financial advisors is expected to grow by 4% between 2019 and 2029, which is a faster pace than average. Additionally, in May 2020, the BLS reported that the median annual income for a personal financial advisor was $89,330, with the top 25% earning more than $208,000.
Students can study to become financial advisors through undergraduate and graduate degree programs. There are a few pathways to consider, but most programs stick to the focus of financial planning.