The only guide you need on financial planning courses and careers

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About

About

Financial advisers provide valuable advice to individuals and organisations to help them assess their financial status and achieve their financial goals. Becoming a financial adviser can be a highly rewarding career because you’re supporting people with an extremely important component of their lives. You have the potential to earn a generous salary, while having the flexibility to work in a way that suits you. You can work for an organisation or bank under a licensee, or even start your own practice. Whether you’re already qualified or considering pursuing a career as a financial adviser, you’ll have strong reasons to obtain further qualifications in financial planning in the next few years.

One of the main reasons for upskilling is to stay qualified. In Australia, the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) sets the education and professional standards for financial advisers. In 2019, FASEA’s requirements for new entrants and existing advisers took effect with significant changes. Furthering your qualifications to meet education requirements will support you to stay up to date with industry regulations.

Another reason to upskill and further your studies is to make a career change. If you’re working in another field, a qualification in financial planning can support you to launch a new and gratifying career. Whether you’re coming from a completely unrelated field or a related one like finance or banking, there are available courses that may fill the gaps in your qualifications. Completing additional qualifications can also help you to meet the demands of an evolving industry. By continuing your education with a formal qualification and sharpening your knowledge, you’ll feel confident knowing you’re providing the best possible advice to your clients.

So, what are the different types of financial planning qualifications? Read on to find out which one is best suited to your needs. We’ll also explore the different career options in financial planning, expected salaries, and useful tips on how to become a financial adviser.

What are the different types of financial planning courses?

What are the different types of financial planning courses?

A FASEA-approved qualification provides you an essential foundation for becoming a financial adviser as it will help you to meet the education standard. Depending on your existing experience and qualifications, you might consider undertaking a FASEA-approved master’s degree or graduate diploma.

What are the different types of financial planning courses?

A FASEA-approved qualification provides you an essential foundation for becoming a financial adviser as it will help you to meet the education standard. Depending on your existing experience and qualifications, you might consider undertaking a FASEA-approved master’s degree or graduate diploma.

A Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning

is an online postgraduate qualification with four subjects. It’s an ideal pathway for individuals without a degree looking for entry into a FASEA-approved qualification, such as a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning or Master of Financial Planning. A Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning might be ideal if you’re changing careers and seeking a pathway to becoming a financial adviser. It’s also suitable for individuals who don’t plan on becoming a financial adviser just yet, such as those who may be working in a support role in a financial planning practice. On completion, you have the option to progress and complete a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning or Master of Financial Planning qualification.

Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning

A FASEA-approved Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning encompasses the first eight subjects of the FASEA-approved Master of Financial Planning. It’s the minimum standard for those who are defined as existing financial advisers. Existing financial advisers are those who were registered on the Financial Advice Register at any time between 1 January 2016 and 1 January 2019. Completing a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning provides you the opportunity to study and gain valuable knowledge in a range of advice areas. These areas may include superannuation, retirement, estate planning, and investments. This purpose-built postgraduate qualification focuses on practical and relevant outcomes, rather than just academic theory.

FASEA-approved Master of Financial Planning

A FASEA-approved Master of Financial Planning is the pinnacle qualification for financial advisers. A masters degree is a higher-level qualification, offering advanced technical rigour, as well as practical learning outcomes. By completing a Master of Financial Planning, you’ll learn valuable knowledge about the professional responsibilities of financial advisers in the fundamental areas of ethics and compliance. A masters degree can also further your capability to apply advanced technical and specialist knowledge to solve complex client problems with actionable and in-depth recommendations. You’ll also have the opportunity to deepen your technical knowledge in areas such as aged care, SMSF, derivatives and debt strategies.

A Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning
Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning
FASEA-approved Master of Financial Planning

A Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning

is an online postgraduate qualification with four subjects. It’s an ideal pathway for individuals without a degree looking for entry into a FASEA-approved qualification, such as a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning or Master of Financial Planning.

A Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning might be ideal if you’re changing careers and seeking a pathway to becoming a financial adviser. It’s also suitable for individuals who don’t plan on becoming a financial adviser just yet, such as those who may be working in a support role in a financial planning practice. On completion, you have the option to progress and complete a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning or Master of Financial Planning qualification.

Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning

A FASEA-approved Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning encompasses the first eight subjects of the FASEA-approved Master of Financial Planning.

It’s the minimum standard for those who are defined as existing financial advisers. Existing financial advisers are those who were registered on the Financial Advice Register at any time between 1 January 2016 and 1 January 2019. Completing a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning provides you the opportunity to study and gain valuable knowledge in a range of advice areas. These areas may include superannuation, retirement, estate planning, and investments. This purpose-built postgraduate qualification focuses on practical and relevant outcomes, rather than just academic theory.

FASEA-approved Master of Financial Planning

A FASEA-approved Master of Financial Planning is the pinnacle qualification for financial advisers. A masters degree is a higher-level qualification, offering advanced technical rigour, as well as practical learning outcomes.

By completing a Master of Financial Planning, you’ll learn valuable knowledge about the professional responsibilities of financial advisers in the fundamental areas of ethics and compliance. A masters degree can also further your capability to apply advanced technical and specialist knowledge to solve complex client problems with actionable and in-depth recommendations. You’ll also have the opportunity to deepen your technical knowledge in areas such as aged care, SMSF, derivatives and debt strategies.

What is a Master of Financial Planning?​

Kaplan Professional’s FASEA-approved Master of Financial Planning is a postgraduate qualification set at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level 9. Kaplan Professional’s purpose-built masters degree is designed in conjunction with leading industry academics and experts, ensuring individuals gain the latest learnings in financial advice strategy and theory.

To be eligible to enrol in this qualification, you’ll need to have completed a related graduate diploma or undergraduate degree. If your existing qualification is in an unrelated area to financial planning, you may require two years relevant work experience to meet the entry requirements. Kaplan Professional’s Master of Financial Planning features 12 subjects – 10 core subjects and two (2) electives. On successful completion of the qualification, you’ll be able to:

  • Analyse economic principles and other concepts in the context of financial planning

  • Apply advanced skills to find solutions for clients

  • Devise strategies to support a financial planning practice

With a Master of Financial Planning on your resume, you’ll potentially open a wide range of career paths and stand out in a competitive field. Typical career opportunities can include working as a:

  • Financial adviser/financial planner

     

  • Responsible Manager

     

  • Business development manager

     

  • Compliance manager

This qualification may be suitable if you’re looking to build on existing knowledge and skills with more specialisation in specific areas. This means it’s appropriate for individuals who may be interested in tailoring their professional practice to self-managed super funds, debt strategies and aged care, as the qualification offers elective subjects in these areas. The Master of Financial Planning is delivered 100% online with six study intakes per year. This provides you the freedom to study year-round because it enables you to choose intakes that accommodate your professional and personal commitments throughout the year. This qualification can be completed in 1.2 years accelerated full-time, 2 years full-time or 4 years part-time.

What is a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning?​

Kaplan Professional’s FASEA-approved Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning is a postgraduate qualification set at AQF level 8. It consists of the first eight (8) subjects of the Master of Financial Planning and has been developed in consultation with leading advisers and industry experts. The graduate diploma is focused on providing individuals practical and relevant knowledge and skills, immediately applicable in professional practice.

The Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning can be completed in 10 months with an accelerated study load or 1.25 years full-time. It can also be completed over 2.5 years part-time. It’s delivered 100% online with six study intakes per year. This provides you the freedom to study year-round and enables extra flexibility for your schedule. It’s ideal for individuals seeking to undertake a FASEA-approved qualification to meet industry education requirements.

To be eligible to enrol in the Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning, you’ll need to have an undergraduate degree or graduate certificate; a related diploma; or an unrelated advanced diploma or diploma plus two years’ industry related experience. If you don’t meet the entry requirements, an alternative pathway into the qualification is to complete the Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning first.

Potential career paths include financial adviser/financial planner, insurance/risk adviser and business development manager. You might be able to pursue opportunities as a superannuation consultant, portfolio analyst, investment banker or claims administrator. Other potential roles include compliance manager, risk adviser, technical consultant, financial advice practice manager and responsible manager.

What is a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning?​

Kaplan Professional’s FASEA-approved Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning is a postgraduate qualification set at AQF level 8. It consists of the first eight (8) subjects of the Master of Financial Planning and has been developed in consultation with leading advisers and industry experts. The graduate diploma is focused on providing individuals practical and relevant knowledge and skills, immediately applicable in professional practice.

The Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning can be completed in 10 months with an accelerated study load or 1.25 years full-time. It can also be completed over 2.5 years part-time. It’s delivered 100% online with six study intakes per year. This provides you the freedom to study year-round and enables extra flexibility for your schedule. It’s ideal for individuals seeking to undertake a FASEA-approved qualification to meet industry education requirements.

To be eligible to enrol in the Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning, you’ll need to have an undergraduate degree or graduate certificate; a related diploma; or an unrelated advanced diploma or diploma plus two years’ industry related experience. If you don’t meet the entry requirements, an alternative pathway into the qualification is to complete the Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning first.

Potential career paths include financial adviser/financial planner, insurance/risk adviser and business development manager. You might be able to pursue opportunities as a superannuation consultant, portfolio analyst, investment banker or claims administrator. Other potential roles include compliance manager, risk adviser, technical consultant, financial advice practice manager and responsible manager.

What is a Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning?

What is a Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning?

The Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning is a four (4) subject postgraduate qualification set at AQF level 8. It’s the ideal starting point for individuals wanting to complete the first four (4) subjects of the Master of Financial Planning pathway and then progress on to the graduate diploma. On successful completion, you should be able to apply economic principles and technical concepts required for financial planning practice. You should also be able to make suitable recommendations to clients and advise businesses on essential components, such as tax structures.

How to choose: which financial planning course is right for you?

How to choose: which financial planning course is right for you?

You have several options when it comes to upskilling. When choosing a financial planning qualification, start by considering FASEA’s education requirements. The latest major changes were introduced in 2019 with a compliance deadline of January 2026.

Other financial planning courses and qualifications may help you stand out from your peers. Although these courses and qualifications aren’t required by FASEA, they can enhance your knowledge and skills of ever-evolving industry trends. You could complete specialist, one-off courses or individual subjects.

There are also other types of courses which are available to enhance your knowledge and skills as a financial adviser. For managers, leadership courses provide an opportunity to refine management skills in a financial setting. Other relevant courses may include real estate, SMSF and data science. These specialist topics can complement your existing capabilities as a financial adviser.

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What are the career options for a financial planner?

What are the career options for a financial planner?

Whether you’ve completed a Master of Financial Planning or Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning, there are a diverse range of career opportunities available

Financial adviser/financial planner

Financial advisers or financial planners assist businesses and individuals with understanding their financial status and set out tailored plans to achieve financial goals. For individuals, the advice can relate to anything from retirement planning to managing an inheritance. For businesses, financial advisers can help with making a business more efficient and profitable. They can provide advice on cash flow, budgeting, tax, funding growth, plus more.

Insurance/risk adviser

Insurance/risk advisers are similar to financial advisers as they offer guidance on retirement planning and investing. However, their work is also focused on risk protection. This can include a risk analysis and strategies to minimise financial risk to individuals and businesses.

Financial adviser/financial planner

Financial advisers or financial planners assist businesses and individuals with understanding their financial status and set out tailored plans to achieve financial goals. 

For individuals, the advice can relate to anything from retirement planning to managing an inheritance. For businesses, financial advisers can help with making a business more efficient and profitable. They can provide advice on cash flow, budgeting, tax, funding growth, plus more.

Insurance/risk adviser

Insurance/risk advisers are similar to financial advisers as they offer guidance on retirement planning and investing.

However, their work is also focused on risk protection. This can include a risk analysis and strategies to minimise financial risk to individuals and businesses.

Business development manager​

A financial planning qualification could see you working as a business development manager in the financial services industry. As a business development manager, responsibilities can include finding new clients for the firm, identifying potential markets, and leveraging and managing existing relationships.

Superannuation consultant​

A financial planning qualification could set you up for a career as a superannuation consultant. In this role, you’d be providing expert superannuation advice and potentially retirement planning guidance to individuals.

Business development manager

A financial planning qualification could see you working as a business development manager in the financial services industry. 

As a business development manager, responsibilities can include finding new clients for the firm, identifying potential markets, and leveraging and managing existing relationships.

Superannuation consultant

A financial planning qualification could set you up for a career as a superannuation consultant.

 In this role, you’d be providing expert superannuation advice and potentially retirement planning guidance to individuals.

Claims administrator​

There may be an opportunity to pursue a career in claims administration. You’d work on insurance claims, tracking claims, reporting on metrics, and decide on eligibility for coverage.

Compliance manager​

Compliance managers create and implement policies and procedures to ensure compliance. As a compliance manager, you might be tasked with auditing and checking for possible fraudulent activities.

Claims administrator

There may be an opportunity to pursue a career in claims administration. 

You’d work on insurance claims, tracking claims, reporting on metrics, and decide on eligibility for coverage.

Compliance manager

Compliance managers create and implement policies and procedures to ensure compliance.

As a compliance manager, you might be tasked with auditing and checking for possible fraudulent activities.

Risk adviser​

Risk advisers help communicate risk-management policies and processes within an organisation. They might also be involved in tasks such as developing risk models, and reviewing credit and operational risk.

Risk adviser

Risk advisers help communicate risk-management policies and processes within an organisation. 

They might also be involved in tasks such as developing risk models, and reviewing credit and operational risk.

How much do financial planners get paid?

How much do financial planners get paid?

Demand for financial advice will always be prevalent. With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people might be looking for financial advice to safeguard their wealth during uncertain times. Individuals and households are likely to be more concerned about budgeting and saving, whereas businesses might be concerned about managing cash flow and maintaining profitability. Further, an ageing population is expected to be focused on superannuation, investments and insurance. Financial advisers play an essential role in providing trusted, astute advice in these areas.

In addition to the prospect of a generous income, financial planning can be an incredibly rewarding career as you’re guiding clients to achieve their financial and life goals through tailored advice. You might help individuals and businesses with reducing debt and boosting cash flow or savings. You’ll likely provide advice on budgeting and wealth management, which can support businesses and individuals to achieve financial stability and grow their wealth. Financial planning can be both an intellectually stimulating and financially rewarding career to pursue.

How to become a financial adviser?

How to become a financial adviser?

Obtaining the right qualifications is essential to becoming a financial adviser. Before you can start providing advice to clients, you’ll need to meet FASEA’s educational requirements. New entrants need to complete a FASEA-approved bachelor degree or FASEA-approved Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning in order to work as a financial adviser. If you’re considering changing from an existing career to become a financial adviser, depending on existing qualifications and industry experience, you may be eligible to enrol in the Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning to meet FASEA requirements. If you don’t have the relevant qualifications, you should complete an approved bachelor degree.

Before practising as a financial adviser, you’ll also need to sit and pass the Financial Adviser Exam, as well as complete a full-time professional year with at least 100 hours of structured training. Once you become a financial adviser, you’ll be required to complete 40 hours of continuing professional development each year. Finally, all financial advisers need to abide by the Financial Planners and Advisers Code of Ethics.

If you’re already practising as a financial adviser, prior learning and experience may compensate if you don’t currently hold a FASEA-approved qualification. However, at a minimum, you’ll need to complete a FASEA bridging course (Ethics for Professional Advisers) to meet the minimum compulsory education requirements. As an existing adviser and depending on previous education, the maximum requirement you’ll need to complete is a FASEA-approved graduate diploma with eight subjects. The deadline to meet the new education requirements is 1 January 2026.

Whether you’re a new entrant or experienced financial adviser, Kaplan Professional’s Master of Financial Planning could take your career to the next level. This purpose-built masters degree offers you practical learning and relevant outcomes on contemporary financial advice strategy and theory at the highest level. This degree covers everything from financial markets and products to investments and tax law. You’ll also obtain a solid grounding in ethical and professional conduct. Further, you’ll have the opportunity to complete a capstone project in a topic area of your choice, to demonstrate you can successfully apply the knowledge and skills in practical settings.

Kaplan Professional is a leading provider of education and training in Australia, providing learning solutions to over 45,000 professionals annually – including 1,500 corporate clients, incorporating all the major banks and financial services providers in the country. With over 25 years’ experience in education and supporting the financial planning and wider financial services industry, we have a deep understanding of the Australian financial advice landscape. With our commitment to the highest standards, you can be confident of a program offering advanced technical rigour with practical and relevant outcomes.

Take your next step and speak to one of our experienced and knowledgeable Course Advisers. We can answer all your questions about study advice, available qualifications, personalised education pathways, and choosing the right course for you.

Interested in learning more?

Interested in learning more?

Discover our Financial Planning courses here.

Kaplan Professional is a leading provider of education and training in Australia.

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