In the present economic climate, individuals and families are responsible for meeting their own financial goals.  Changes in demographics, life span, retirement and costs of education are a handful of the many reasons financial planners are recognized as invaluable partners in planning for one’s future.

Tremendous change in the financial services industry provides opportunity for an exciting, dynamic career. 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 and graduate certificates in Family Financial Planning and Financial & Housing Counseling not only create the opportunities associated with graduate education, they prepare the student to take the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) examination.

Certified Financial PlannerTM professionals hold the qualifications needed to build successful careers helping people reach their financial goals.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards

The Great Plains IDEA online graduate program is registered by the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM Board of Standards. CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM are federally registered service marks of the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM Board of Standards, Inc. They are granted by the CFP® Board to those 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 graduate certificate in Financial Planning does not guarantee a student will pass the CFP® exam.

  • In earning the graduate certificate in Financial Planning through the Great Plains IDEA, students receive the education required to take the exam.
  • After completing the necessary educational requirements, students work with the CFP Board on examination, experience and ethics requirements for CFP® certification.

Certified Financial PlannerTM professionals have the satisfaction of helping people solve their financial problems and reach their financial goals. The CFP Board website at has extensive CFP® certification information.

Students admitted to the Great Plains IDEA online degree program are advised to obtain the Guide to CFP® Certification. The guide includes an application for the exam, exam fee information, exam procedures and information on the required work experience.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, and CFP ®, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Great Plains IDEA institutions do not certify individuals to use the CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTMand CFP® certification marks. CFP® Certification is granted only by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. to those persons who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met its ethics, experience and examination requirements.

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:

Summer 2017: $545
2017-2018: $565

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.

– – April-Dawn Knudsen, North Dakota State University