How do I Become a Personal Financial Planner?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2018
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A person who wants to become a personal financial planner will usually need a high school diploma and a college degree in business, accounting, finance or a related field. In some places, a college degree isn't mandatory, but earning one may make finding a job or securing clients easier. Besides a college education, a person who wants to become a personal financial planner usually takes financial planning courses, which are available both in brick-and-mortar schools and online. Sometimes special licensure is required as well.

To have the most opportunities available to him, a person who wants to become a personal financial planner usually starts by finishing high school. There are no particular courses he must take in high school, but math courses as well as those that help with the development of communication skills often prove helpful. Common college majors for those who want to pursue financial planning include business, business administration, finance, accounting, and banking.

Besides education, a person who wants to become a personal financial planner often has to pursue licensing in the field. Licensing requirements vary from place to place, but prospective financial planners often have to secure licensing from their jurisdiction’s finance industry authority. With this licensing secured, personal financial planners are then permitted to give financial advice and represent securities firms.


Some people who choose to become personal financial planners strive to earn the certified financial planner title. Typically, this is a voluntary process. In most places, a person must gain financial planning experience before seeking certification; once this is accomplished, a professional can then pay a fee and take a certification exam. Unlike becoming a personal financial planner, seeking certification does usually require a person to earn a degree. In some jurisdictions, an aspiring financial planner has to earn a four-year degree and gain three years of work experience before he can be certified in this field.

Some people who want to pursue careers as personal financial planners seek internships with financial companies as a way of gaining experience. Others may opt to start in entry-level positions with banks or finance companies, gaining experience in the industry before moving on to become financial planners. Some finance companies may even offer training for those interested in becoming financial planners. If a person is a current employee of such a company, he may have a better chance of securing such training when it is offered.

Once a person has the training and licensing he needs to become a financial planner, he may apply for jobs with finance-related companies. For example, he may apply to work for a financial planning company or a bank. Alternatively, a personal financial planner may decide to open his own financial planning company instead of becoming an employee.



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