Are you passionate about helping people reach their goals and realize their dreams?  A career in financial planning gives you the opportunity to create and deliver financial strategies to support those ambitions.  Our program is offered 100% online so you can complete coursework when it's convenient for you.

Our faculty boasts years of teaching experience, as well as professional experience as financial advisors in investment and wealth management firms, insurance companies, consulting firms, credit unions, consumer credit counseling, cooperative extension specialists, independent practice, and working with military personnel.  See a list of faculty at the bottom of this page.

FAQs for
Family Financial Planning

What kind of job could I get with a family financial planning degree?

A degree in family financial planning will prepare you to provide comprehensive financial assistance in areas such as:

  • Estate and retirement planning
  • Investment advising
  • Insurance and risk management
  • Basic cash flow and debt management
  • Employee benefits and pension departments
  • Tax planning

The need for personal and family financial planning is greater than ever.  U.S. News & World Report states that “this is expected to be one of the faster-growing occupations over the next decade, with a projected growth rate of 30 percent through 2024, according to the Labor Department… The retirement of baby boomers in need of financial planning advice is one driver of the expected growth.”

The U.S. News & World Report ranks family financial planning as the third best business job in 2017, with a median salary of nearly $90,000.  Financial planners consistently report an increase in average annual gross earnings after receiving their CFP® certification.  Common job titles for those with a master's degree include:

  • Wealth strategist
  • Manager of financial analysis and planning
  • Director of family wealth
  • Financial coach or analyst
  • Finance or product manager
  • Director of finance
  • Chief financial officer
You could even become a podcast host!  Two GP IDEA alumni who met through their online coursework have teamed up to produce a podcast called "Finances and..." where they educate listeners on the in's and out's of financial planning.  Visit their podcast website.

How is this program different from other programs like it?

The family financial planning program is offered 100% online so you can choose to complete coursework when it’s convenient for you.  This program is flexible, allowing you to choose a graduate certificate or master’s degree. 

While both options satisfy the educational requirements necessary for the CFP® certification and the AFC® certification, our program is about more than just financial classes.  Our curriculum is delivered by top educators and researchers in the field and prepares you through hands-on, real-world situations. 

In addition to the traditional CFP® and AFC® certification topic areas, our curriculum is rich in content and skill development to prepare you to better assist families with financial management, while allowing you to focus on your personal career trajectory, including options in:

  • Supporting military service members, veterans, and their families
  • Individual practice development and management
  • Real estate and housing
  • Financial counseling
  • Financial decisions related to divorce
  • Financial planning for the later years of life
  • Financial theory and research related to family dynamics and decision-making
  • Flexible learning opportunities through practicum or creative projects
  • Research methods and conducting original research

View a list of courses on our curriculum pages.

Master’s Degree Curriculum
Financial Planning Graduate Certificate Curriculum
Financial Counseling Graduate Certificate Curriculum

  Hours CFP AFC
Master's Degree 36 X X
Financial Planning Certificate 18 X  
Financial Counseling Certificate 18   X


Download the key for course titles and numbers

Looking to make a career change?

Financial planners aren’t just good with money.  If you possess any of the following traits, you can be successful in this field:

  • Strong communicator who can explain complex ideas
  • Perseverance to see things done to the end
  • Creative problem solver who can think analytically
  • Relationship management skills and the ability to empathize with others
  • Attention to detail and organizational skills
  • Project management experience

Students in the Great Plains IDEA Family Financial Planning program have successfully transitioned from a variety of careers, including engineering, accounting, law, information technology, education, military service, and human resources.  With our well-rounded faculty, flexible course offerings, and your life experiences, we can help you find success in the world of financial planning.  

Marc Champion providing financial counseling.

Read about how an airline pilot is using this program to prepare him for his second career.


In this video, instructor Jonathan Fox explains how faculty from different universities work together to provide a stronger program collaboratively than they could individually.

Great Plains IDEA Student Handbook

Degree and certificate titles vary by university.  Consult with your university for the title as it will appear on the diploma or certificate.  This degree program does not lead to licensure.  Download the key for course titles and numbers.

The 36 credit-hour master's degree program in Financial Planning consists of eight 3-credit courses and twelve credits of elective course work. Students work with their academic adviser on appropriate course selection and sequence.

Course List for Master's Degree

The 18 credit-hour graduate certificate program in Financial Planning is designed for students who want graduate coursework that meets the educational requirement to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination but who do not need a Master's degree.

Course List for Financial Planning Graduate Certificate

The online financial counseling graduate certificate consists of 18 credits and qualifies students to sit for the Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) exam available through the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE).

Course List for Financial Counseling Graduate Certificate

University Contact
These campus coordinators can help you navigate Great Plains IDEA. Click on the university name to learn more about how Great Plains IDEA works at that campus. Katie Mott
M.J. Kabaci
Melissa Selders-Ortez
Karla Sisco
Aimee Maher
Janice Clawson
Lisa King
University Members
Members of the Great Plains IDEA are universities accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Member universities recruit, admit and graduate students, teach in an academic program and contribute to the leadership and maintenance of the alliance. Membership in the alliance is a selective process that engages institutional leadership at all levels.

– – Brooke Noble, Dietetics Graduate