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A person who wants to become a financial consultant should generally consider obtaining a college education, ideally in a field related to finance. He or she will sometimes take classes and examinations to become certified by recognized organizations of financial planners. The most crucial step, however, for anyone who wants to become a financial consultant, is to obtain an entry-level position with a firm that offers financial consulting, so as to obtain practical training and experience.
No particular college degree is needed to be a financial consultant. Degrees that offer either training in business and finance or that teach excellent verbal and written communication are excellent choices for someone looking to enter the world of financial consulting but are not absolutely necessary. A college degree of some sort is very helpful in any white-collar job search and is definitely useful for someone seeking to become a financial consultant.
Several different national bodies offer certification for financial consultants. This certification, while helpful, is generally not required to work in the field. Certification likely improves an applicant’s chances of finding a job in the field, but many firms are willing to pay for the right employee to receive certification if needed.
Financial consultants provide many different types of advice about money, debt, and investments to their clients. This means that they are most frequently employed by banks and brokerages, and these institutions are ideal starting points for an applicant looking to become a financial consultant. Applicants will often be hired for entry-level positions that provide support to financial consultants or do related work. Often, promising candidates will be promoted as positions become available and demand warrants. Most financial institutions, particularly larger ones, have their own unique set of standards and practices and will often provide training for aspiring financial consultants so that they can meet those standards.
A particularly ambitious, clever, and motivated individual may elect to bypass all three of these steps, and strike out on his or her own to become a financial consultant. The fact that the profession is not strictly regulated in most countries means that a sufficiently intelligent person with an excellent understanding of both customer relations and the financial markets can hang out a shingle and become a financial consultant without ever working for a bank, brokerage, or large consulting firm. Although this is not the most certain way to become a financial consultant, it offers freedom from corporate management and a potentially much greater level of financial reward, albeit with a greater level of risk.