How Do I Become an Accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialist?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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You will typically need higher education to become an accredited personal financial planning specialist, which usually involves first becoming a certified accountant and then earning a finance-related degree. In many cases, employers require an undergraduate degree in accounting or finance when hiring for this type of job, but you might also land some jobs with an associate's degree. Earning a master's degree in an accounting or finance field, however, may give you an even better chance of meeting your career goals. Additionally, you will likely need to earn certification and then take courses, gain more experience, and pass exams to become accredited.

In preparation to become an accredited financial specialist, you will typically need a degree an accounting or finance. Many employers want to hire individuals who have bachelor's degrees, but you may also get some job offers with just an associate's degree. To maximize your chances of landing the job you want, however, pursuing graduate-level education in this field may be best. This isn't usually required but may go a long way toward helping you compete against other job candidates.


You'll probably take a range of courses as you work to become an accredited personal financial planning specialist, but the subjects will likely include not only the basics of accounting, but also taxes and matters important to businesses. You might also learn about auditing in your degree program and cover numerous topics related to economics. Additionally, you may learn how to use computers in accounting-related work.

In addition to education, you will usually need certification as a public accountant to get a job as an accredited personal financial planning specialist. The specific requirements for certification may differ based on the jurisdiction in which you live and the organization that provides the credential. In many cases, you will need proof that you have completed an accounting or finance-related educational program, and some certification agencies require that the program consist of at least 120 credit hours. You might also need experience to obtain certification, which may require two or more years of accounting work in some places. It's also likely that you'll have to pass an exam or a series of exams to become certified.

After meeting the requirements to become a certified public accountant (CPA), you will usually have to take a range of financial planning courses to become an accredited personal financial planning specialist and then gain at least a couple of years of financial planning experience. You may then need to pass another exam that tests the knowledge you gained as a CPA and through financial planning classes. In many cases, you will have to become a member of a certifying body to use this title.



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