The various types of financial advisor training available include academic training through colleges and universities, training programs offered through security brokerages, as well as proprietary training made available through financial advisor certification boards. In many places, giving financial advice for compensation may be regulated, and individuals who wish to operate as financial advisors may be required to be licensed and bonded. Individuals who are interested in becoming a financial advisor or financial planner should investigate their jurisdiction's laws regarding the practice of this profession.
Financial advisor courses are available in many different educational settings. Some universities and colleges offer degrees, certificates, and diplomas in the area of financial planning. Someone who is planning on going to college or who is already enrolled in a higher education program may want to investigate as to whether she can get financial advisor training through her own school. If not, she may wish to consider transferring to a school that does provide this training.
For those who have a degree, financial advisor training can still be pursued through several avenues. The first possibility is to enter a financial planning graduate degree program. The second is to get a job at a brokerage or insurance company that offers financial advisor training to its agents. The third is to seek non-academic training through a certification board, continuing education program, or an adult education program.
In some places, financial advisors have the option of either working for an insurance company or brokerage or working independently. In the first case, financial advisors tend to work on commission for a firm that sells financial products. These firms may provide financial advisor training for new advisors while they learn the business. Although the training is often proprietary to the investment firm, those who go through the program have the advantage of being able to learn while working and may be able to obtain this training at a very low cost.
Some financial advisors prefer to work independently, in some cases charging a fee for their services rather than receiving commissions on product sales. These fee-based financial advisors may seek certification through a trade or professional organization. The process of becoming certified typically includes the completion of an approved educational program, which in some places can be completed online or via another distance learning method. After the training program is completed, the aspiring financial planner may have to complete a financial advisor internship or provide evidence of having professional experience working at a fee-based advisor firm. In addition, the advisor may also have to pass a certification exam.