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 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.

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 include:

  • Wealth strategist
  • Financial planning analyst
  • Director of family wealth
  • Financial coach

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, 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® 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
                Graduate Certificate Curriculum

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.

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.

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.

Curriculum 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.

Curriculum for Graduate Certificate

Program Summary
Cost per credit hour:

2017-2018: $565
2018-2019: $580

36 Hours


18 Hours

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. Karen Smidt
Rachel Ohmes
Janine Hansen
Karen Murie
Susan Malec
Theresa Ireland
University of Missouri
Nita Smarr
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.

– – Angela Stagg, Iowa State University