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Degree Overview: Master of Financial Planning Degree Program

Majors Overview May 26, 2015

Get information about Master of Financial Planning degree programs and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master of Financial Planning Programs

Students enrolled in financial planning master’s degree programs are trained in a variety of disciplines relevant to wealth management. Coursework covers the regulations and laws governing the financial planner – client relationship. The development of interpersonal skills essential to the development of professional relationships with clients is commonly encouraged.

Graduates may be ready for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) exam. Schools offer the programs in online, on-site, or in combination formats. Instead of a thesis, capstone courses or practicum experiences may be featured in some programs.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college. Proficiency in key subjects, such as computers and mathematics may be requirements at some schools.


A professional financial planner uses the process of financial planning to help clients develop plans aimed at achieving long-term financial goals. Coursework may include the disciplines of retirement planning, healthcare financing, risk management, estate planning, income tax planning, and investing. Students learn how to determine the client’s financial condition through analysis of various elements such as the client’s retirement expectations, healthcare needs, investing habits, risk profile, consumer-buying patterns, and income prospects. This training relies on using analytical and quantitative models aimed at creating a unique financial plan for every client. Core coursework may cover subject areas such as:

•Financial counseling
•Real estate
•Portfolio management
•Client communications
•Federal income taxation
•Wealth preservation
•Capital accumulation
•Trusts and estates
•Household economics

Career Choices

Program graduates may seek jobs with banks, securities brokers, and insurance companies. They may choose from popular job positions such as:

•Portfolio manager
•Registered representative
•Investment advisor
•Financial consultant, counselor or planner
•Account executive

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of 27% has been predicted for personal financial advisors. Over the same time-period, securities, commodities and financial services agents are expected to see an 11% growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, personal financial advisors brought in an average annual wage of $67,520, while securities, commodities and financial services earned $71,720 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may seek the CFP certification that they gain through the passage of an exam, and meeting of educational and experience requirements. Though voluntary, the certification may give individuals a competitive edge in the job market.

Graduates may earn a doctoral degree in financial planning to enhance their career prospects. Coursework in a doctorate program may include topic areas such as retirement planning, risk management, and tax planning; graduates may also have to complete a dissertation.

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