Financial Planning Schools and Programs

Article Sources
  • Boston University, Online Financial Planning Program, 2014
  • http://professional.bu.edu/programs/financial-planning/online/
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Personal Financial Advisors, January 8, 2014
  • http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm#tab-1
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents, January 8, 2014
  • http://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/securities-commodities-and-financial-services-sales-agents.htm#tab-1
  • Certified Financial Planning Board, Financial Planning Profiles of American Households, The 2013 Household Financial Planning Survey and Index
  • http://www.cfp.net/docs/public-policy/2013-fin-planning-profiles-of-amer-households.pdf?sfvrsn=2
  • Northwestern University, Certified Financial Planner Education Program,
  • 2014 http://www.scs.northwestern.edu/program-areas/professional-development/financial-planner/
  • Pepperdine University, Certificate in Financial Planning, 2014,
  • http://bschool.pepperdine.edu/programs/executive-education/fp
  • Long Term Projections for Personal Financial Advisors, Projections Central,
  • http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  • Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.

In general, financial planning programs provide an introduction to the fundamentals of money management and investing while teaching students how they can apply that knowledge to clients' situations. With that being said, there are multiple options for courses of study, so before selecting a financial planning program, be sure to get an understanding of the different programs and what they entail.

What are some notable accredited financial planning schools or programs?

The following schools offer unique or notable financial planning programs:

  • Boston University offers a financial planning program that can be completed entirely online. In addition to being Web-based, the program offers an interactive educational experience that draws on the expertise of financial institutions in the Boston area.
  • Northwestern University offers a financial planning program that can potentially lead to licensure as a Certified Financial Planner. This program is located in Chicago and is designed for professionals who work full-time and prefer a flexible course schedule.
  • Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., also offers a Certificate in Financial Planning that can be earned entirely online. This certificate prepares students to sit for the CFP examination.

Why are financial planning programs well-suited for working professionals?

According to the CFP Board, many professionals tend to choose financial planning as a second career. Because of this, many financial planning programs offer flexible scheduling, including night or weekend classes or a curriculum that can be completely entirely online. Because financial planning programs can often be completed outside of typical working hours, they can be the perfect fit for working professionals who are considering changing careers or want to gain additional experience that might be useful for their current role.

What makes financial planning a good career choice?

According to a study conducted by the CFP Board, almost nine out of 10 households engage in some type of financial planning, organized or not. This fact in itself is compelling argument in favor of the need for a diverse pool of financial planners who can assist families as they create household budgets, plan for retirement and select comprehensive insurance coverage that adequately protects their assets.

Which financial planning careers are expected to grow the fastest?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects relatively high levels of growth for professionals in this field. For example, employment for personal financial advisors is expected to increase 27 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all other occupations. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents should expect 11 percent national growth in employment from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS.

Credit Counselors$49,46035,90013.9%
Loan Officers$77,920307,24011.5%
Tax Preparers$47,09068,72010.8%
Financial Examiners$91,78052,5809.8%
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Certain states are also expected to show exceptional career growth for personal financial advisors through 2020, according to state data aggregated by Projections Central. These include:

  • Massachusetts: 76.5%
  • Utah: 46.2%
  • Kansas: 42.7%
  • Arizona: 41.7%
  • Virginia: 40.6%
  • Colorado: 38.2%
  • South Carolina: 37.2%
  • Iowa: 37.2%

What are some affordable degree options for financial planning students?

Many financial planning students choose to take advantage of a very valuable benefit from many employers: tuition reimbursement plans. These types of programs typically cover part-time or after-hours courses that can directly benefit an employee and their institution. Individuals whose employers do not have any type of established tuition reimbursement can also try to negotiate one. Aside from that option, there are many other ways for students to complete a financial planning program without spending more than they should. They can start by researching part-time programs in their area or online programs, and narrow down options until they are able to select a program that provides a good value for their dollar.

What are fitness standards and how do they apply?

The CFP Board has established a code of rules and ethics that those who pursue licensure as a Certified Financial Planner must abide by. The list of rules can be found on the CFP Board's website, and mostly includes behaviors and situations that have been deemed unacceptable for those seeking licensure. Some of the conduct that can effectively ban an individual from gaining licensure as a CFP includes a felony conviction for theft or embezzlement, two or more personal bankruptcies, or revocation of a professional financial license in a related field.

Where can you find additional information about financial planning schools or programs?

Students who want to learn more about specific financial planning programs should start by looking for accredited programs online. The perfect place to start is the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, where individuals can search for programs by state and explore the options available in their area. The CFP Board also lists contact information for instructors of programs listed on the site, which can be particularly valuable for those who have questions or concerns about a specific school.

Article Sources

To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.

Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.

  1. In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  3. Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  4. Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
    • Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
  5. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  6. Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
    • Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
    • Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
    • Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
    • Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
  7. Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  8. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
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