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Certified Financial Consultant Career Information and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a certified financial consultant. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and required credentials to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Certified financial consultants, also known as personal financial advisers, help clients with financial goals and provide helpful financial advice. This position requires a bachelor's degree in accounting, financing or a similar subject. Additionally, state licensure, along with the completion of a certification program, may be required to become a certified financial consultant.

Required Education Bachelor's degree; master's degrees will help with advancement
Other Requirements Various state licenses are required; certification through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 27% (for personal financial advisers)*
Average Salary (2013) $99,920 (for personal financial advisers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certified Financial Consultant Career Information and Job Duties

Working either on an independent basis or in small or large financial firms, certified financial consultants address the needs of clients and help them with their financial objectives. Certified financial consultants handle investments and help make insurance decisions. Additionally, they assure clients are following all tax procedures. Retirement plans are also handled by certified financial consultants, ensuring that customers have sufficient savings for retirement. Excellent communication skills are essential for this position in order to find and maintain customers.

Licensure and Certification

Certified financial consultants require a combination of licenses based upon products they might sell, like insurance, to clients. Firms that handle a lot of investments require certified financial consultants to be registered with state regulators. Bigger firms must become registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (www.sec.gov). It is important to check with state and national boards to determine all the licenses needed for this position to ensure that a certified financial consultant is following all laws and regulations.

Certification for certified financial consultants involves obtaining credentials from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (www.cfp.net). Typically, certification is obtained after a financial consultant has obtained some experience because a prerequisite for the certification requires three years of experience. Other requirements include a bachelor's degree, agreement to follow a code of ethics and completion of an examination. The examination test covers areas like insurance management, taxes, retirement planning, estate planning, investment planning and similar financial topics.

Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree is the minimum level of education a certified financial consultant should have starting out. Some consultants go on to obtain graduate degrees to better demonstrate their skills and financial proficiencies for clients. A certified financial consultant can choose from any number of majors as long as the major relates to finances. Majors available to certified financial consultants include accounting, business, finance and mathematics. Students should choose a minor in a similar subject to increase their skills and talents in this field.


Courses for certified financial consultants emphasize subjects like business, economics, finances, law, accounting and mathematics. Students should look for specific courses that involve risk management, taxes or investing to help prepare for a career in certified financial consulting. If possible, consultants should look for internship or externship opportunities and take them for class credit to get actual work experience.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics