As boomer-aged financial advisors march towards retirement, a financial-planning vacuum is forming. A projected loss of more than 200,000 financial advisors over the next ten years could potentially leave millions of Americans in the fiscal-planning lurch. In order to replenish the dwindling pool of investment industry talent, academic institutions are increasingly rolling out curricula aimed at grooming the next generation of financial advisory pros.
In the last decade alone, the number of undergraduate colleges and universities offering financial-planning degrees has jumped nearly 38%, from 90 to 124, with more than 50 additional programs in the planning stages. Meanwhile, 48 graduate schools offer master’s programs in financial planning, while five have created doctorate tracks.
The uptick in financial planning programs isn’t solely due to a depleting workforce, however. It’s also a result of the dearth of traditional finance and marketing career opportunities—jobs that disappeared since the 2008 fiscal collapse. Many students who would have previously signed on for marketing and finance degrees are now going after financial planning degrees where there are more opportunities.
That a career in financial planning finished 16th in a recent ranking of the best jobs in America hasn’t hurt, either. Very rosy hiring prospects make up for a comparatively difficult work environment and higher-than-average stress level. A median annual salary north of $67,000 with good growth prospects helps, as well.
Rising demand for financial planners means that paid internships in financial planning have become more plentiful. It has also spawned Advisors Ahead, which formed in 2012, to help match advisors with students seeking internship opportunities. Advisors Ahead also works with prospective candidates to prepare them for the job market and increase their chances of finding the right fit.
Some students stumble into internship opportunities organically. Russell Bailyn, a financial advisor at New York financial planning and investment advisory firm Premier Financial Advisors, envisioned a career in real estate—even taking a real estate internship in college. But when a broker told him about the just-launched Premier, Bailyn changed course and interned there instead. He was hired upon graduating and has remained there ever since.
(For related reading, see: What You Need To Know About The Fiduciary Standard)
Financial advisory firms have also begun proactively canvassing college campuses for new blood. This wasn’t traditionally done in the past for a simple reason: without real-world work experience and connections, college graduates aren’t positioned to bring in new business right out of the gate. For commission-based firms that rely on revenue from investment sales, this was problematic. But as the financial advisory industry shifts to a more fee-based planning approach, advisory firms have begun valuing a graduate’s knowledge-base over his rolodex. (For more on this topic, see: Paying Your Investment Advisor—Fees or Commissions?)
More Room for Growth
While brick-and-mortar colleges are grooming some 1,000 financial-planning graduates per year, growth in the number of financial planning programs is somewhat slowed by budgetary limitations; such programs require their own teaching staff, which can be a significant investment. And the full degree programs also face a public relations hurdle; financial planning as a career is still a new idea to most students, many of whom learn about it after enrolling in a university in a different program.
Some educational institutions offer training through both degree and online certification portals. Here are some examples of the different models available as compiled by Financial Planning:
Financial Planning Degree and Certificate Programs
American College, Bryn Mawr, Pa.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): Undergraduate certificate, master’s
California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): certificate, MBA
-Tuition: For MBA, $745 per credit unit (the MBA consists of 48 credit units, for a total cost of $35,760); for certificate, $550 per credit unit (the certificate consists of 24 credit units, for a total cost of $13,200).
College for Financial Planning, Greenwood Village, Colo.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): M.S. financial planning, personal financial planning certificate, CFP certification program
-Tuition: For M.S. in financial planning, $380 per 1-hour credit; for personal financial planning certificate, $1,140 per 3-hour credit; for CFP certification program, $4,485.
Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): Undergraduate, master’s, Ph.D. and graduate certificate
-Tuition: For an undergraduate (3-credit) course, $805 for a Kansas resident, $2,015 for out-of-state student; for an M.S. course, $1,455; for a Ph.D. course, $1,530; for a graduate certificate, $1,455 per course or $5,828 up front for the entire program.
University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): 2 online (M.S. and certificate, through Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance membership); 7 on site (B.S. in human environmental sciences with an emphasis in personal financial planning, M.S. or Ph.D. in personal financial planning, post-baccalaureate certificate; PFP minor with an agricultural economics B.S., PFP minor with a finance B.S. or B.A, and PFP M.S. with a law degree)
-Tuition: For an online course, $485 per graduate credit hour (a certificate requires 18 hours and an M.S. requires 42 hours). For classroom courses, Missouri residents seeking an M.S. pay $269.40 per credit hour with $411.34 in other fees; nonresidents seeking an M.S. pay $470.30 per credit hour with $411.34 in fees; for a resident B.S. (14hours per semester) $9,272; for a nonresident B.S., $22,440.
San Diego State University, San Diego, Calif.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): B.S. in financial services with a certificate in personal financial planning; M.S. in financial and tax planning, executive financial planning advanced certificate
-Tuition: For a California resident seeking a bachelor's degree, $3,538 per semester; nonresident bachelor’s, $9,118 per semester. For a California resident master's, $3,952 to $7,567 per semester (depending on course load); nonresident master's, $6,184 to $12,031 per semester
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): 11, ranging from undergraduate to Ph.D., including minors and dual graduate degrees in financial planning and business or law, and one certificate
-Tuition: Texas-resident undergraduates (12 hours) $3,760 per semester, out-of-state undergraduates $4,471 per semester, Texas-resident graduate students (12 hours) $4,359 per semester, out-of-state graduate students $8,570 per semester.
William Paterson University, Wayne, N.J.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): B.S. in financial planning and an accelerated certificate program
-Tuition: For a New Jersey resident $5,847 per year; for an out-of-state resident $9,547
Baylor University, Waco, Texas
-CFP Board-registered programs: Bachelor of business administration financial planning major
-Tuition: $30,600 a year
California State University, Northridge, Northridge, Calif.
-CFP Board-registered programs: B.S. in finance with a sequence in personal financial planning and B.S. in business administration with an option in insurance and financial services and a sequence in personal financial planning
-Tuition: For California residents $2,247, for out-of-state residents $4,479.
Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.
-CFP Board-registered programs: B.S. in financial management with a concentration in financial planning
-Tuition: For South Carolina residents $21,726, for out-of-state residents $38,370.
University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
-CFP Board-registered programs: B.S. degree 75 students, master's degree 10 students, Ph.D. 5 students. An online M.S. degree will be offered in 2013.
-Tuition: Undergraduate $9,842 per academic year, full-time; graduate $3,795 per semester, full-time.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Ill.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): 1 undergraduate
-Tuition: For Illinois residents $5,818 per semester, $12,889 per semester for nonresidents
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): B.S. in finance with financial planning specialization is up and running; the school has also registered an M.S. in finance with financial planning specialization and is applying for CFP Board registration of an MBA program.
-Tuition: For Louisiana residents $3,498 per semester, $11,136 per semester for nonresidents.
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.
-CFP Board-registered programs: Undergraduate and Ph.D. programs, online program coming soon.
-Tuition: For Indiana residents, $20,000 a year, including room and board, food and other expenses; $40,000 a year for nonresidents.
Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): B.S. in financial planning
-Tuition: For Utah residents $2,400 per semester, $6,800 for nonresidents.
Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Va.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): B.S. applied economic management, B.S. finance
-Tuition: For Virginia residents $4,593 per semester, $11,787 per semester for nonresidents.
Boston University, Boston, Mass.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): 2 certificate programs, 1 online and 1 in person.
-Tuition: $5,295 for an online accelerated program, $3,495 for online self-pace and $7,360 for a classroom program that includes a review/exam preparation course.
DePaul University, Chicago, Ill.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): 9-credit certificate program offered both online and in person
Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, N.J.
-CFP Board-registered programs: Financial planning certificate course
University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): 3 in total: online certificate program, in-class certificate aimed at students also completing an undergraduate degree and in-class certificate for master’s or doctoral students
-Tuition: Undergraduate certificate is $3,000, graduate-level certificate and online certificate are both $9,750
-Online with classrooms in New York and San Francisco, as well as several private corporate programs
-CFP Board-registered programs: 3 in total: Self-paced and accelerated online programs, plus in-person classes at 12 U.S. universities
-Tuition: Accelerated virtual or traditional classroom $5,599, including a review course; self-study $4,043.
New York University, New York, N.Y.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): 1 certificate
-Tuition: $5,540 for traditional classroom program, $5,650-$7,500 for a "live" online course, $2,495-$4,295 for self-paced online
Northwestern University, Chicago and Evanston, Ill.
-CFP Board-registered programs (online and in person): 2 online and 2 classroom certificate programs
-Tuition: $5,545-$6,050 for classroom program, $5,600-$7,500 for online live, $2,495-$4,295 for self-paced online program
UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif.
-CFP Board-registered programs: traditional evening/online program and accelerated hybrid
-Tuition: $4,287 to $4,750 for certificates, depending on options; $1,000 for CFP exam review