The education requirements for financial advisor jobs are actually quite varied depending on the actual job title and responsibilities. In fact, some professionals working under the title of "financial advisor" have no formal educational background in finance whatsoever.
Financial advisors are a varied group. While some hold degrees in finance and have a variety of licenses and certifications pertaining to financial matters, others have no degree and were trained by employers to offer financial advice to clients. The actual term of "financial advisor" can mean many different things. It is important to note that certification, education, and licensing is necessary for certain things like offering insurance products or tax advice. On the other hand, no degree or certification is generally necessary to assist clients in simple personal finance tasks such as creating a household budget or balancing a checkbook.
Educational requirements for financial advisor jobs may also vary from one state to another.
Professional Organization Affiliation
Joining a professional financial advisor organization can boost the image of a financial advisor as well as provide important networking opportunities. Most financial advisor professional organizations have minimum education requirements before a financial advisor can join the group.
Common requirements for membership into one of these organizations include:
- A four-year college degree, preferably in a financial field
- Two or three years worth of experience within the financial field
- Completion of coursework or a test administered by the professional organization
While it may be true that a professional can make the claim of being a financial advisor in certain states without any specific education or training, professionals who want to enhance their credentials with a professional organization affiliation will need to adhere to the education requirements of the organization.
Although it is possible in some locations to be self-employed as a financial advisor without any specific financial educational background, when going to work for a company that employs financial advisors there may be specific education requirements. For example, some companies will require a finance degree while others will require a degree but will not require a particular major.
It is not uncommon for companies employing financial advisors to provide additional educational opportunities to employees. Since some financial advisor jobs do have stringent education and certification requirements, particularly positions that involve providing investment advice. Some companies will employ trainee financial advisors and put them through the necessary training and testing. Not all companies will do this, however, as some companies have educational requirements in place that must be met before a candidate will even be considered for a position as a financial advisor.
Education Requirements for Financial Advisor Jobs vs. Financial Analysts
Financial advising is a broad field and can involve a great deal of topics, but it is not a term that encompasses every single career involving financial matters. For example, financial analysts and stock brokers are different career fields and therefore have different education requirements than financial advisors do.
It is important to remember that just because a job does not require a degree or certification, having a degree or certifications can potentially increase the odds of getting hired. You may also be eligible for higher introductory pay with a degree under your belt. The additional knowledge you receive from going through a degree program or certification course may also make your job easier.
Learn More About Financial Advisor Careers
A good resource to find out more about the education requirements for financial advisor jobs or any other career position within the financial services field is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).