If you want to become a financial planner, you'll need to choose a financial planning school that meets the licensing and certification standards set by laws in your area and financial planning professional organizations. If you live someplace where financial planning is a licensed or regulated profession, you'll want to complete a course that is approved by the regulatory oversight agency for financial planners. If you are seeking certification, you'll need to attend a financial planning school approved by the certifying organization. Once you've determined whether a school is acceptable for licensing or certification, you should then investigate the school's reputation and determine whether you can afford the tuition and time commitment necessary to complete the program.
In some places, anyone can call herself a financial planner or financial advisor without meeting any educational or licensing requirements. In other places, using such a title requires meeting strict licensing guidelines. If you live in an area where licensing is required, contact the licensing board and asked for a list of schools that meet the criteria for licensing as a financial planner. If you plan to join a professional organization that offers certification, you should make a similar request. In some cases, professional associations sponsor and administer their own financial planning school program.
Once you have your lists of acceptable schools, you can begin to choose the best financial planning school for you. If you already have a university degree, you may want to look into a postgraduate degree in financial planning or a certificate program. If you do not have a university degree, you may want to pursue a financial planning degree at a university. A diploma from a university-based financial planning school may have more prestige than a certificate from a standalone course. If you already hold a degree from a good school, however, where you get your financial planning training may not be as critical.
If your time is limited, online financial planning courses may be a good option for you. It is important to investigate an online financial planning school, as it is easy for scam operations to set up what may look like a legitimate program. Another issue to consider is cost. Financial planning programs offered at public universities and colleges may prove to be less expensive than those offered by proprietary schools and professional organizations. If you are attending financial planning school to further your career, you may be able to get your employer to reimburse your tuition.