Become a Financial Advisor in Orange County

Financial Advisor If you are interested in a job advising clients about their investments or becoming a stock broker, you will have to get a license from FINRA.   Insurance is regulated by the state, [ see our section on becoming an insurance agent.] and securities are regulated by the federal government. You may want to get both licensed to sell both securities and insurance so you can offer them to your clients. Securities include things like stocks, bonds, and shares in limited partnerships. The most common type of license people go for is called a Series 7. It allows you to give general advice and to sell securities.

CFP Certified Financial Planner

In addition to the required license from FINRA you will need certification for your clients to take you seriously. There are two organizations that offer certification: The Financial Planners Association offers the CFP or certified financial planner credential. This serves as a sign that you are highly qualified. But getting the designation is not easy. You must take a ten hour test and attend college classes that have been approved by the association.

In Orange County, you can take these courses at:
California State University Fullerton by completing a business degree with a minor in Finance

If you already have a bachelor’s degree and have been working in a financial field, the best option seems to the 17 month executive program at San Diego State University SDSU (The drive isn’t that bad.) The total cost of the program is less than $10,000—you just take the six twelve week classes you need.  You don’t have to be on campus every day, or take any general education classes.

Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks offers graduate level On-Line coerces that allow you to qualify for the CFP exam. Each class goes for around $1,600 and eight classes are required. If you are going for this degree you should be able to figure out the total cost of the classes. Other college fees were not readily available on their website. This appears to be a legitimate option as Cal Lutheran is a well respected college—not one you see advertised on daytime TV. The certificate program is designed for those who already have an advanced business degree like an MBA, law degree, or a professional certification such as a CPA. It is not clear if a undergrad degree and work experience will be sufficient to get into the program. As with SDSU, they have a good MBA program designed for working students.

CFA Certified Financial Analyst

The other well known certification is from the Certified Financial Analysts Institute called the CFA Charter. This may be better known than the CFP by the general public. You need an undergraduate degree and four years of approved work experience. You need to pass three progressively harder six hour exams. Preparation for each exam will take about six months with their course of study. Although the do not recognize specific graduate programs, classes taken for an MBA courses cover the same material that will be on the exam. It is also possible to use undergraduate courses to prepare for the CFA exam, and you can take the first exam during your final year of college.

[This article needs some more work.]
© 2011