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Start Guide to Becoming a Financial Advisor

By: CareerFactsheet.com- Updated: Jun 21 ,2017
Becoming a Financial Planner

Attaining the right education to become a Financial Advisor or Financial Planner is important to avoid wasting precious time on your career. Taking smart short cuts through the help of large firms can also get you started sooner and affect your pay tremendously. In general people make mid-life career changes into this career field so they have almost all the education, experience and required certifications to start out ¾ of the way up the ladder. A college graduate can take advantage of this information by deciding if they want to get into this field right away and work on gaining experience and attaining the certifications as they go along, luckily at the expense of a large firm. A high school student who decides young enough on this career will be the biggest winner of all because they will save the most time and climb the career ladder the quickest at a much younger age.

Educational Requirements To Become a Financial Advisor

  • No official requirements.
  • Recommended degrees in business, accounting or finance.
  • Work experience in financial matters can be helpful for advancement.
  • Certificate programs available if you already have a college degree.
  • If you buy or sell stocks, bonds and securities for clients, some states require licensing.
  • If sell insurance you are required by state law to be licensed and registered with them.

Educational Requirements to Become a Certified Financial Planner

  • Have attained a Bachelor’s Degree (minimum) or will attain one within five years’ of passing the CFP.
  • Have attained a minimum three year’s work experience in finance or will attain it within five years of passing CFP.
  • Have attained a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification which involves the following:
    • Mastering approximately 100 integrated financial planning topics.
    • Mastering these major topics (General principles of financial, insurance, investment, income tax, retirement, estate and employee benefits planning and risk management).
    • Passing a two day examination.

Fastest Path From High School

  • Get accepted into the latest trend of cooperative (CO-OP) education position also referred to as double study in Europe. You can earn your college degree, gain work experience, earn money while interning for financial company. T Rowe Price offers the following:
    • Work in a temporary position related to your degree, for periods of three- six months while attaining your degree.
    • If mutual, you may remain in this program until you graduate from college.
    • After graduation you can become a full time regular employee or continue as a CO-OP temporary for projects

Fastest Path after College Graduation

  • Begin an internship with a financial company, preferably a large one, as they tend to sponsor training and licensing.

Fastest Path in Mid-Life Career

  • Attain a Bachelor’s degree or higher if haven’t already.
  • Attain three to five years’ experience in finances.
  • Attain CFP.
  • Network and become self-employed.

To summarize: a high school student can become a Financial Advisor within three-four years after graduating high school. By the average age of 22-23, an individual could have a Bachelor’s Degree, three years’ work experience in a company and attain more focused training and certification while earning a very decent salary. The next step is to attain the CFP designation so that by the age of 26-27, one could be a Certified Financial Planner.

A person who makes a mid-life career change ideally has worked in the financial industry which would save them time of having to start working in a new field just to gain experience. Without a Bachelor’s Degree it could cause a three year delay before being able to work as a Financial Advisor. If they already possess related work experience and a Bachelor’s Degree they probably should start to focus on attaining the CFP designation so they can become Financial Planners.

A Financial Advisor who wants to become a Financial Planner needs to work on attaining a CFP as soon possible if their goal is to increase their salary while remaining in the same career field. Of course they have to be willing to take on more responsibilities, but that’s a given when the subject is money! Regardless, both career fields can be very lucrative and can be achieved with intelligent decision-making and taking advantage of the wide range of excellent programs offered today.


CFP Board: Become a Financial Planner Professional

T. Rowe Price: CO-OPS, Gain Real Life Experience, Earning While You’re Learning, Through a T.Rowe Price Cooperative Education Position


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