Financial Advisor School and College Degree Programs

Learn about what education you need to become a financial advisor. Read more about bachelor's and master's degree options. Also find out information about salary and job outlook for this career.

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Essential Information

Financial advisors assess the financial needs of companies and individuals and make recommendations on investments and estate planning. To become a financial advisor, you may want to complete a bachelor's or master's degree program.

A high school diploma is the basic requirement for admission to a bachelor's program in finance. Some schools, however, may require that you have proven competency in advanced math. Courses in these programs usually cover topics like finance, taxation and employee benefits. Upon completing a program, you will be able to work in fields that include banking, insurance and investment.You may also pursue the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) .

A master's degree may lead to enhanced job prospects and potentially a management-level position. In most master's programs, you can specialize in an area that interests you, such as risk management or international business.


Bachelor's Degree in Finance

Pursuing a career as a financial advisor requires interpersonal, professional and financial management skills. In a finance bachelor's degree program, students develop an understanding of the financial markets and the language, concepts and strategies involved in this field.

Educational Prerequisites

Acceptance into a bachelor's degree program usually requires a high school diploma or equivalent. College placement exams are usually required, and schools may look for students who are strong in math. Students who have earned Advanced Placement college credit in calculus, statistics or economics may be able to skip some entry-level classes.

Program Coursework

Those who want to begin a career as a financial advisor need to enroll in a financial advisor program that teaches conceptual, quantitative and analytical skills. Courses teach students a variety of problem-solving skills in security analysis, corporate finance, portfolio management and financial planning. The curriculum includes classes in:

  • Finance
  • Financial marketing
  • Financial statement analysis
  • Risk management and insurance
  • Taxation
  • Employee benefits and retirement planning

Popular Career Options

The role of a financial advisor has evolved from working with only investments to undertaking retirement planning and budgeting, monitoring real estate holdings and assessing clients' financial portfolios. Career opportunities are available in a number of different financial sectors including:

  • Banking
  • Insurance
  • Mortgage companies
  • Brokerage firms
  • Insurance
  • Investment

Continuing Education

To qualify for a CFA designation, an applicant must have a bachelor's degree and four years of work experience. Individuals must pass three examinations that cover subjects, such as accounting, portfolio management, financial markets, corporate finance, securities analysis and asset valuation. The first CFA exam is offered twice annually, while the second and third examinations are available just once a year.

Master's in Business Administration (MBA) in Finance

An MBA in finance offers students a deeper knowledge in such areas as risk management, real estate, entrepreneurial finance and international business. Because financial concerns are part of every individual and organization, financial advisors with advanced degrees are being used to effectively oversee personal and business finances. Students develop strategic management skills in both the international and national financial arenas.

Program Coursework

Those enrolled in an MBA in finance program can expect every course relate to real world financial situations. The curriculum is designed to educate students in financial planning and control, financial analysis, capital budgeting and fund positioning. Courses for individuals in a financial advisor school include:

  • Portfolio management
  • Corporate financial analysis
  • Global finance
  • Financial markets

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, estimated that careers for personal financial advisors may rise 32% from 2010-2020. This growth would be due to the millions of workers expected to retire in upcoming years, which will create opportunities in managing personal finances. As of 2012, the BLS reported that these workers made a median annual salary of $67,520.

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