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How Much Does Finanicial Planning School Cost?

Finanicial Planning School Prices

Financial planners—also known as financial advisors—help clients plan for and meet their financial goals. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is needed to work as a financial advisor. Licenses may also be required, while professional certification can provide better opportunities.

Becoming a Financial Planner

The vast majority (88%, according to the Financial Planning Association) of financial planners begin their career in a different profession. It's possible, however, to land a job with a financial planning firm, finance or insurance company, or bank right out of school. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that close to one-fourth of personal financial advisors are self-employed, although these individuals typically get their start working for a firm.

Salary and Job Outlook

BLS statistics puts the median annual income of financial advisors at around $67,500. The agency notes, though, in its Occupational Outlook Handbook that this figure doesn't include self-employed advisors or the bonuses often rewarded to advisors working for financial services firms.

In addition to enjoying higher-than average income, financial advisors are expected to have much better-than average job prospects over the next decade. BLS predicts job growth of 32 percent between 2010 and 2020, a figure that reflects the large number of baby boomers who are near retirement age.

Education

While employers generally don't require financial advisors to hold a specific bachelor's degree, BLS says that majoring in finance, economics, accounting, business, mathematics, or law is useful. Courses in estate planning, insurance, taxes, and risk management are also good preparation for financial advisors.

Some schools have financial planning programs at both the bachelor's and master's degree levels. A master's degree in finance or business administration (MBA) can be attractive to employers and clients.

Certification and Licenses

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation demonstrates professionalism and can lead to higher income. Applicants must meet minimum education and experience requirements, pass a rigorous examination, and agree to abide by a code of ethics.

Depending on an advisor's job, it may be necessary to earn licenses such as a Series 7 and Series 66. Becoming a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) has its own set of requirements. Registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may also be required in some cases. Find out more at the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) website.

Financial Planning School Average Costs

The actual cost of a degree program varies significantly from school to school. Contact individual schools for the most accurate tuition information as well as financial aid options.

  • Earning a bachelor's degree from a public institution might cost $35,000 - $90,000 (tuition and fees only). At a private institution, it might cost upwards of $120,000 (source: The College Board's 2012 Trends in College Pricing report).
  • The College Board estimates that master's degree programs cost $15,000 - $50,000+ (tuition and fees for 2 years).
  • Earning an MBA from a top business school can cost more than $150,000 (but many MBA programs cost far less, especially for in-state students at public institutions).
  • Need advice on paying for school? Read what the U.S. Department of Education has to say about financial aid.

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