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How Long Do You Study to Become a Financial Adviser?

by Tim Plaehn

The financial firms that employ financial advisers typically provide the necessary training to take a college graduate -- or someone with a degree and other work experience -- through the education, mentoring and testing necessary to become a financial adviser. Training programs can take up to three years. but a financial adviser in training will receiving a salary as she learns the profession.

On The Job Training

The majority of new financial advisers do not plan for this career and may have majored in something besides finance in college. Most companies that employ advisers require a college degree, but the training to be an adviser will be provided by the company that hires her. The work of a new adviser is divided between marketing and prospecting for new clients, developing plans for clients, and selling financial products such as annuities, mutual funds, stocks and bonds.

Studying and Testing for Licenses

For the financial adviser in training, the first one to three months will revolve around courses, studying and taking the tests to get the required securities sales licenses. A financial adviser must pass the Series 7 and Series 66 exams from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to become licensed as a securities salesman. Most financial advisers will also test for and obtain a life insurance license, which allows an adviser to sell annuity and other insurance products.

Up to Three Years of Training and Practice

A sample of training programs offered by different financial services firms show training programs that range in length from 30 weeks to 36 months.Trainees will learn how to develop a financial plan for clients and learn about the products the firm offers for sale to help clients implement the plans. A significant portion of the training will cover how to find and build a client base. As the training progresses, the new financial adviser will be expected to start obtaining clients and selling financial products.

Ongoing Professional Certifications

After completing the firm's initial adviser training course, expect additional training as part of the career development program. The employer will provide regular training to help improve sales skills and to cover legal and compliance issues that dictate how an adviser must interact with clients. Many financial advisers increase their knowledge and professional standing by completing advanced certification courses and testing, such the certified financial planner designation, which can take two years or longer to complete.

About the Author

Tim Plaehn has been writing financial, investment and trading articles and blogs since 2007. His work has appeared online at Seeking Alpha, Marketwatch.com and various other websites. Plaehn has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

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