How to Become a Financial Advisor

Becoming a financial advisor is not an easy task and requires a specific skill set. Education, work experience, and acquiring special certifications are all things that will help you on the way to becoming a successful financial advisor. Depending on where you want to work, you will be required to have certain levels of experience and licenses. Below are some of the more common steps to entering the world of financial advisement. This is not the only path, but the most standard.

Education

The minimum requirement for most firms is a bachelor’s degree. Typically, wealth managers hold degrees in business, finance, or economics. All relevant and similar fields will normally be acceptable. The most important thing to do while gaining your education is to look for work related experience outside of the classroom. Joining clubs on campus is an excellent way to gain experience. Most colleges have associations or clubs that focus on finance related subject matter. You also can work towards becoming the treasurer of an organization. The experience of budgeting and managing the organization’s finances will be excellent for your resume. Additionally, internships are a fantastic way to acquire real world experience.

Landing the Right Internships

As mentioned above, internships are a vital part of getting work experience while completing your degree program. The more relevant experience you have before looking for your first job, the better. Look for internships that will directly help the career path you are looking for. For example, if your goal is to get into the risk management niche of finance, look for an internship working in that environment.

Additionally, interning with larger, well-known firms can help you as well. The larger firms often come with a solid reputation, which will help you in your job search after completing your degree program.

Recommended Certifications

There are a number of certifications and licenses that a financial advisor can obtain. A majority require at least 3 years of experience, continued education, and a passing score on an exam. The most common certification and licenses financial advisors go after are:

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

By obtaining further certifications, you show you’re an expert, you continue learning about the field, and you are extremely qualified.

Continued Education

Most financial advisors continue their education past the initial undergraduate level. You can go through a master’s program while still working your normal hours. Many financial advisors obtain an MBA or some degree in a relevant field. Continuing your education provides you with a broader knowledge base and understanding the financial world. It also acts a vote of confidence for your clients.