Family Financial Planning Graduate Certificate: Financial Planning option
Sample plan of study
Frequently asked questions
Graduate faculty information
Tuition and Fees
Family financial planning is an emerging area with job opportunities in areas related to insurance, real estate, investments, retirement, tax and estate planning. Financial planners are increasingly in demand as Americans seek financial advisors to help manage their income, assets, and debts.
Students enrolled in the family financial planning program will enhance personal finance knowledge; gain eligibility to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination; increase networking opportunities; and improve career options.
Career opportunities available to persons with special training in Family Financial Planning include:
- Financial Planning: Financial planners or financial management consultants use their knowledge of investments, tax laws, and insurance to recommend financial options to individuals in accordance with the individual's short-term and long-term goals. Some of the issues that financial planners address are retirement and estate planning, funding for college, and general investment options.
- Financial Analysts: Financial analysts assess the economic performance of companies and industries for firms and institutions with money to invest.
- Insurance: Insurance agents specialize in life and health insurance or property and casualty insurance and a growing number of "multi-line" agents sell all lines of insurance.
Family Financial Planning (FFP) has been registered by the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Board of Standards. CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® are federally registered service marks of the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Board of Standards, Inc. They are granted by the CFP® Board to persons who have fulfilled a comprehensive educational requirement, passed the CFP® Certification Examination, satisfied a work experience requirement, and agreed to abide by the CFP® Board code of ethical conduct.
The online graduate certificate in Family Financial Planning is offered through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA). For more information about the Great Plains IDEA consortium, go to: www.gpidea.org.
Graduate certificates are an excellent way to earn credentials and decide if a full master's program is right for you. Credits offered in this program can be transferred into the full online M.S. in HDFS: Family Financial Planning program.
Family Financial Planning brochure.pdf
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Sample Plan of Study
Required Core Courses:
- HDFS 762 Retirement Planning, Employee Benefits and the Family (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 763 Personal Income Taxation (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 765 Insurance Planning for Families (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 766 Estate Planning for Families (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 769 Financial Planning Case Studies (3 CREDITS)
- HDFS 771 Investing for the Family's Future (3 CREDITS)
Total Credits: 18
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Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the Family Financial Planning: Financial Planning Option Graduate Certificate program?
In either of the certificate programs in family financial planning, a student can finish in two semesters.
Are students required to come to campus during the program?
No, the program is completely online.
Is a practicum or thesis required for this program?
Students enrolled in the certificate options have no practicum or thesis requirements.
Which university will I receive my graduate certificate from?
If you apply and are admitted to NDSU, you will receive a degree from NDSU even though some of your courses will be taught by professors from other institutions.
What is the difference between earning a graduate certificate and earning a master’s degree in family financial planning?
A certificate is a way of showing that you have completed a coherent set of courses within a certain field. Both the Financial Planning and the Financial and Housing Counseling Graduate Certificates cover a subset of courses that are included the master’s program. If you are interested in the certificate program and decide to continue on to the master’s program the courses you take for the certificate program will apply.
Can I transfer previous graduate coursework into this program?
You can transfer up to nine credits into the family financial planning master’s program if they are relevant to the program. The syllabus of those courses will need to be provided to the Department of Human Development and Family Science graduate program in order to determine if the coursework is relevant.
I am employed full-time and have a family. How many credits would you recommend I take each semester?
For students with family and employment obligations we recommend taking three credits the first semester. Then students are able to see how it works with their schedule and can determine how many courses they are able to take each semester.
Can I take some family financial planning classes without being admitted to the program?
Is the program accredited?
There is no accreditation in the family financial planning field. Online degrees and classes offered through NDSU Distance and Continuing Education are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and are approved through the academic departments and colleges at NDSU. The Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) Board of Standards has approved the FFP master’s program and financial planning certificate program as sufficient preparation for students to take the CFP Certification examination.
Why go into the family financial planning field?
Family financial planning is an emerging area with job opportunities in areas related to insurance, real estate, investments, retirement, tax and estate planning. Financial planners are increasingly in demand as Americans seek advisers to help manage their income, assets, and debts. Financial service providers from insurance companies to banks to investment firms are extending their services to provide comprehensive financial assistance. Corporations are adding planners in their employee benefits and pension departments. The master's degree in Family Financial Planning not only creates the opportunities associated with graduate education, it prepares the student to take the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) examination.
What impact can I have getting the certificate when there are so many online options for families to use? Is the certificate still valuable today?
Precisely because there is so much “free” information online for families, they need a way to distinguish experts in the field from scammers. Earning the certificate in FFP and then the CFP designation is now more important than ever, because it is a marker for families that you have the necessary background and follow ethical standards of practice.
Is there a required degree to be admitted into the program?
There is not a required undergraduate degree to be admitted. Some experience as an undergraduate with social science courses (e.g. psychology, sociology) or business courses would be helpful.
What is the application process for the family financial planning program?
To be admitted to the program applicants must meet the Graduate School admission and application requirements.
What do I do after I am admitted to the program?
Students admitted by NDSU into the program will be contacted via email by Melissa Selders Ortez from NDSU’s Graduate School. Melissa Selders Ortez will register students in the Great Plains database and for classes. Students will need work with their advisor to identify the classes they should register for and then will notify Melissa of those classes as soon as possible since class sizes are limited.
For information about graduate faculty for this program as well as their current research interests, visit the Family Financial Planning graduate certificate bulletin page.
Apply for admission
View Getting Started Guide
Students interested in this program should apply under the family financial planning graduate certificate option. For current admission requirements, visit the Family Financial Planning graduate certificate bulletin page.
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NDSU Department of Human Development and Family Science
NDSU Graduate School
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