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How Do I Become a Registered Financial Consultant?

D. Nelson
D. Nelson

To become a registered financial consultant, it often is necessary to first earn an undergraduate degree in a field such as accounting, finance, or economics. Many aspiring consultants may also choose to earn a graduate degree in a related field. The goal of participation in these academic programs is mastery or principles and practices related to tax planning, asset management, insurance planning, and employee benefits, among others. Once you have received your degree, you may be required to earn a passing score on a proficiency exam that tests skills related to actual financial consulting cases. An individual who would like to become a registered financial consultant also may need to work in the field for several years and engage in ongoing ethics training.

A financial consultant is a professional who specializes in helping organizations and individuals manage their tangible and intangible assets. Some common goals of a financial consultant may include developing new investment strategies, reducing levels of risk, and helping organizations to increase profits or returns on investments. When a financial consultant is registered, he or she has demonstrated mastery of financial planning skills and practices. Certification is normally awarded by organizations such as the Certified Planner Board of Standards in the United States.

Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

While it may not be necessary to earn a graduate degree to become a registered financial consultant, many professionals believe a graduate level education makes it easier to earn certification. A student who spends six years studying financial principles probably has developed a stronger understanding of the field than a student who only has dedicated four years. A graduate degree can also make it easier to begin your professional experience, especially in competitive job markets.

After earning a degree, you should take a proficiency exam to become a registered financial consultant. This test is based on information students learn in their academic finance or economics programs. Individuals who already have had professional experience or internship experience as financial consultants may find it easier to earn a high score on a proficiency test.

In order to get the necessary professional experience to become a registered financial consultant, it might be a good idea to begin your career while you are still in school. Many aspiring professionals find that by taking internships, they can network with potential employers, references, and job leads. It is common for individuals to take their first consultant positions at firms where they interned. Organizations that offer consultant certification normally require candidates to have taken significant roles in financial planning processes prior to earning registered status.

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