What is an MBA in Financial Planning?

An online MBA in financial planning provides a broad business education with specific financial training in areas like investments, retirement, estate, and tax planning. Certain programs also prepare students to take the Certified Financial Planner certification exam. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasting a solid 19% growth rate in the field over the next 10 years, now is a good time to obtain certification as a financial planner.

The BLS forecasts a solid 19% growth rate in the field over the next 10 years.

An online MBA in financial planning can help you take the next step in your career and earn a higher salary. To see how an MBA in financial planning online can change your career trajectory, take a look at the table below.

Comparison of Financial Planning Master’s Degrees

There are a few options for master’s degrees in financial planning. While an online MBA in financial planning provides a good business background, other degrees dive deeper into finance. We highlight a few of those options below.

Degree Description Average Salary (1-4 years experience) Length
Master’s of Science in Finance This more focused counterpart to the MBA in financial planning eschews much of the broad business foundation to focus on pure finance. This is a good option for those who plan to work strictly in financial departments. N/A 12–16 Months
Master’s of Taxation and Accounting With this narrow degree option, students learn about tax law and preparation, along with accounting. N/A 12–16 Months
Master’s of Business Administration in Financial Planning The MBA in financial planning prepares graduates for the widest range of careers. Graduates work in both finance and business positions. $62,510 2 Years

Although online MBA in financial planning programs cover similar information — data analysis, financial analysis, etc. — programs differ in the specific courses they provide. Below, we highlighted a few of the courses you’ll see across most MBA in financial planning online programs.

Course Competencies Developed Occupational Skill Level
Investment Management Plan, analyze, and manage investments. Evaluate holdings after the fact. TITLE: Financial Planner
SALARY: growth of 3%
Financial Modeling Create models to predict a company’s financial performance. TITLE: Certified Financial Planner
SALARY: growth of 4%
Financial Analysis Analyze financial data to make a company’s business decisions. TITLE: Financial Analyst
SALARY: growth of 1%

Financial planning is a broad field, and professionals who earn their financial planning MBA online have a wide variety of career options after graduating. Here are a few of the most popular careers.

Financial Planner Median Salary: $60,957
  • Banks
  • Investment Groups
Financial planners advise clients on how to make the most money from their assets, providing investment decisions and financial advice.
Financial Analyst Median Salary: $58,434
  • Corporations
  • Businesses
Financial analysts do for companies what financial planners do for clients: They evaluate and forecast the market to help companies make smart investments and maximize their holdings.
Trust Officer Median Salary: $73,287
  • Banks
  • Investment Groups
  • Offices
Trust officers provide expert counsel in trust and estate issues, often dealing with legal documents and paperwork.
Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description

Ashland University

Location Ashland, OH Tuition Tuition $29,500 % Receiving Financial Aid 58% Student Population 5,677 School Type Private

Ashland University's MBA offers accelerated learning and several specializations, including financial management. The 30-credit, one-year curriculum places a special emphasis on corporate and global financial management and emerging financial markets. One course in the online MBA in financial planning program requires a tour of the financial districts in Chicago and New York, with learners developing an understanding of markets and the institutions that govern them.

Students take the AACSB-accredited program on a part- or full-time basis, with part-time students completing the degree in 16 to 24 months. Students may also choose a hybrid format that blends online courses with on-campus meetings at one of Ashland's four MBA centers. Ashland offers a GMAT/GRE waiver for some students based on their educational and professional experience.


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Benedictine University

Location Lisle, IL Tuition Tuition $38,400 % Receiving Financial Aid 60% Student Population 5,954 School Type Private

Learners develop a systemic approach to managerial finance through Benedictine University's online MBA with a specialization in financial management. The 64-credit MBA in finance offers a flexible and convenient format for working professionals. Students complete core MBA courses in subjects including accounting, economics, and operations management.

Three of the 16 required courses delve into financial reporting; investment theory; and cost analysis, profit planning, and control. Taking one course per term, students complete the degree in 22 months; the school also offers the option of accelerated learning. Admission to the online MBA in financial planning requires a 2.75 GPA at minimum.


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California Lutheran University

Location Thousand Oaks, CA Tuition Tuition $36,900 % Receiving Financial Aid 58% Student Population 4,126 School Type Private

Cal Lutheran's 45-credit MBA provides a very flexible and accelerated curriculum that learners typically complete in 12 to 24 months. The MBA offers a series of professional tracks, such as finance, delivered in a fully online or hybrid format. In addition to the MBA core courses, such as enterprise management, organizational behavior, and strategic decision making, students take four elective courses for the finance concentration.

The online MBA in financial planning track focuses on financial strategy; strategic financial analysis; and investment and portfolio management. Courses last eight weeks and students may choose either a part- or full-time learning option. Admission requires a 3.0 GPA in upper-level courses; some students qualify for a GMAT waiver.


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Creighton University

Location Omaha, NE Tuition Tuition $36,300 % Receiving Financial Aid 68% Student Population 8,435 School Type Private

Designed with the working professional in mind, Creighton University's MBA helps students advance their business skills with a highly customizable online curriculum. The 33-credit MBA in financial planning begins with a well-rounded business education.

The financial planning program prepares learners to take the Certified Financial Planner exam with four courses that delve into subjects such as retirement planning and employee benefits, estate planning and taxation, and investment value and theory. Students can complete the online MBA in financial planning in two years. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and work experience; some students must also submit the GMAT.


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Indiana Wesleyan University

Location Marion, IN Tuition Tuition $23,604 % Receiving Financial Aid 70% Student Population 14,730 School Type Private

Indiana Wesleyan University's MBA in financial planning cultivates financial advisors that are able to develop effective solutions and strategies using their well-honed, decision-making skills. The 42-credit online MBA in financial planning gives learners a sound business foundation and guidance on how to apply faith-based principles in business contexts.

Students develop skills in areas such as employee benefits and investment; income tax; and retirement planning. Students take courses one at a time for maximum flexibility and study in a cohort to complete the program in 18-26 months. Those who enter the program with a Certified Financial Planner designation only require eight courses to complete the degree. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA and no GMAT.


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Lynn University

Location Boca Raton, FL Tuition Tuition $27,380 % Receiving Financial Aid 28% Student Population 2,693 School Type Private

Lynn University's MBA program provides learners with 10 specialties to address their diverse educational and professional goals. The fully online, 37-credit finance MBA develops financial advisors equipped to manage the finances of individuals and organizations.

Learners also develop techniques in areas such as forecasting; financial analysis; and portfolio and asset management. Students gain expertise in investing and portfolio management and study various valuation models, including equity valuation and the capital asset pricing model. The online MBA in financial planning requires no out-of-state tuition. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA and no GMAT.


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Marist College

Location Poughkeepsie, NY Tuition Tuition $28,800 % Receiving Financial Aid 56% Student Population 6,474 School Type Private

A program designed for all students interested in a business career, the online MBA at Marist College offers several concentrations and does not require an undergraduate degree in business. The fully online degree rounds out students' business education with a focus on financial management.

Faculty immerse students in theoretical knowledge of finance that can be applied in real world contexts. Students study corporate financial theory and practice, financial markets and institutions, and financial statement analysis. The online MBA in financial planning uses a course in investment analysis and theory to examine the theory of portfolio development, particularly stocks and bonds. Admission to the MBA requires school transcripts and GMAT or GRE scores.


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Maryville University

Location St. Louis, MO Tuition Tuition $27,300 % Receiving Financial Aid 66% Student Population 6,414 School Type Private

With an MBA from Maryville University, students acquire real-world business knowledge and skills in as few as 12 months. The program offers a sweeping curriculum that includes the MBA in financial services, specifically designed to cultivate experts versed in financial planning.

The fully online MBA in financial planning prepares learners for industry certification with an eight-course MBA core and four specialized courses. These courses include study of personal financial planning, investment portfolio construction, and financial industry exam preparation. The program offers six terms per year. The MBA does not require previous business experience or the GRE/GMAT for admission.


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Missouri State University - Springfield

Location Springfield, MO Tuition Tuition $11,220 % Receiving Financial Aid 50% Student Population 24,350 School Type Public

Missouri State offers an MBA program that gives learners the opportunity to personalize their business expertise with various specializations, including a graduate certificate in finance. The 33-credit curriculum requires a 24-credit business core that includes study of managerial accounting, financial management, and organizational behavior. Students need six elective credits to earn the graduate certificate in finance.

Faculty also expect students to demonstrate proficiency in research and writing for the business environment. One-quarter of students in the program enroll as online learners, most of whom work full time. Missouri State offers both accelerated and EMBA options. Online students pay no out-of-state tuition for the MBA. Admission requires school transcripts and the GMAT or GRE.


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National University

Location La Jolla, CA Tuition Tuition $26,208 % Receiving Financial Aid 41% Student Population 17,488 School Type Private

National University's MBA serves learners on several campuses around the country and through an online curriculum. The 63-quarter-unit MBA offers a specialization in financial management. In the MBA core, students acquire business expertise in areas such as managerial accounting; global business; and organizational management and leadership.

Learners complete four to seven courses in the financial management specialization, mastering how to evaluate a company's financial health and appraise investment and securities portfolios. Students enroll year round and can accelerate completion of the degree with four-week courses. Admission requires a cumulative 3.0 GPA at minimum and prerequisite courses.


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Quinnipiac University

Location Hamden, CT Tuition Tuition $42,550 % Receiving Financial Aid 61% Student Population 9,654 School Type Private

Quinnipiac University's virtual college offers a variety of programs delivered in a supportive online classroom designed for working professionals. The school's 46-credit MBA with a track in finance develops business leaders skilled in effective decision making. The MBA core features courses such as finances, marketing, and global economy decision making.

Learners take specialized courses in financial management, such as portfolio theory, and practice and global investment analysis, and apply their knowledge in the decision making capstone. Admission requires school transcripts and the GMAT or GRE.


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The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Location Edinburg, TX Tuition Tuition $16,992 % Receiving Financial Aid 38% Student Population 28,584 School Type Public

The MBA in financial planning at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley prepares students to manage individuals' investments and financial assets. Within 12 months, learners can complete the 36-credit MBA online. The online MBA in financial planning requires core courses in areas such as organizational behavior, managerial economics, and marketing strategy.

Business professionals learn to give sound financial advice with courses in financial planning, retirement planning, and wealth management. The online program offers seven-week modules to provide an accelerated format. In addition to affordable tuition and scholarship opportunities, new students do not pay out-of-state tuition. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and GRE or GMAT scores.


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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Location Champaign, IL Tuition Tuition $21,844 % Receiving Financial Aid 39% Student Population 45,842 School Type Public

The iMBA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign integrates management and leadership skills into the MBA core. Students build on these business skills with one of several specializations, including financial management. Learners take three courses in the online MBA in financial planning, including investments, financial accounting, and corporate finance.

The program offers an interactive global classroom and students engage in team projects. This iMBA's tuition ranks as one of the nation's most affordable. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and three or more years of managerial experience. While not required, the GMAT or GRE bolsters the application.


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University of Miami

Location Coral Gables, FL Tuition Tuition $84,320 % Receiving Financial Aid 29% Student Population 16,825 School Type Private

The University of Miami Online offers a highly customizable, part-time MBA program with several areas of emphasis. UOnline's 47-credit MBA with a financial decision making focus prepares learners to astutely guide investors, corporate managers, and money managers. The 24- to 28-month curriculum requires 14 courses students take one at a time for flexibility.

In addition to traditional MBA courses, learners specializing in financial decision making take classes such as investments and valuation, and applied corporate finance. The courses are delivered in a seven-week format, with an optional one-week immersion session offered on campus. Admission requires school transcripts and the GMAT.


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University of North Carolina

Location Chapel Hill, NC Tuition Tuition $114,078 % Receiving Financial Aid 32% Student Population 29,084 School Type Public

At the University of North Carolina, the MBA program offers live classes taught by faculty with experience at major corporations. The top-tier MBA with a concentration in finance requires 66 credits that students can complete in as few as 18 months. The MBA core courses, such as finance, business strategy, and leadership, provide learners with a broad business foundation.

The finance concentration covers taxes and business strategy, financial statement analysis, and mergers and acquisitions. This school develops a well-rounded business professional with executive coaching and career guidance skills. Cohorts for the online MBA in financial planning begin in January and April. Admission requires the GRE or GMAT for applicants with less than seven years of professional experience.


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University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Location Pembroke, NC Tuition Tuition $8,306 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 6,441 School Type Public

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke's online MBA in financial services provides students with in-depth knowledge of how to examine the financial markets and calculate risks. The fully online curriculum requires 36 credits that students complete in as few as 12 months. In addition to eight core MBA courses, learners study corporate finance, portfolio management, and financial restructuring.

The online MBA in financial planning offers affordable tuition and allows students to pay as they go. Admission requires a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA or 3.0 GPA in upper-level courses. The school waives the GMAT or GRE for students with a minimum 3.0 GPA.


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Wright State University

Location Dayton, OH Tuition Tuition $21,120 % Receiving Financial Aid 55% Student Population 17,070 School Type Public

Wright State University oversees a business school ranked in the top 2% in the nation. The school's 33-credit MBA offers a concentration in investments. Students take courses at their own pace in a fully online or hybrid format. In addition to the MBA's core, which focuses on business administration, students learn about investment practices, tools, and financial institutions.

The investments concentration requires study of derivatives, investing in securities, fixed income securities analysis, and analysis of corporate financial information. Students can transfer up to 12 credits for the online MBA in financial planning. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and the GRE/GMAT in some cases.


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Jacksonville University

Location Jacksonville, FL Tuition Tuition $27,720 % Receiving Financial Aid 51% Student Population 4,060 School Type Private

Jacksonville University offers an MBA for experienced professionals, with flexible part- and full-time hybrid learning options to accommodate schedules. The 39-credit MBA with an accounting/finance concentration cultivates professionals skilled in the management of financial portfolios. In addition to the MBA's core curriculum, learners may take courses in financial decision making, how to analyze financial performance, and a practicum in portfolio management.

Learners at JU also develop leadership skills and participate in hands-on learning exercises. The online MBA in financial planning utilizes eight-week modules and requires class attendance one night per week. Online students pay in-state tuition. Admission requires the GRE or GMAT for applicants with less than a 3.3 GPA.


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If you’ve decided that an MBA in Financial Planning is right for you, then it is time to start narrowing down the list of schools you are interested in. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you through this process.

  • Search for schools in your area

    Even though you are looking for online programs, it can be helpful to choose a school within 100 miles of your home. Online students often report that they enjoy being able to visit campus. In addition, schools often partner with local businesses, meaning a school in your area can help you find a job close to home.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Many schools provide this information on their website; however, if you can’t find it, contact the school and ask for it. This data should include graduation rates, employment rates, and the compensation levels of recent graduates. When viewed side-by-side, this information provides a glimpse at program quality.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Prospective students often underestimate the total cost of their program. Multiply the total number of credit hours you will need to graduate by cost per credit hour. Do not forget to include the cost of supplies, internet, and factor in the time you will not spend earning an income. Also compare financial aid options; different schools may offer better financial aid packages or scholarships that can offset the cost of education.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    One of the central benefits of online education is flexibility. However, some programs require set meeting times, synchronous workshops, and mandatory campus visits. Be aware of all time commitments, and be sure they fit into your current schedule.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    The main objective of getting your MBA in Financial Planning is to find a secure job with a healthy salary in a field you enjoy. To that end, attending school that is well connected with local businesses can be a fantastic leg up upon graduation. Many of these partners will offer internships to students that can lead to full-time employment or provide the network and experience you need to get a job elsewhere.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation is the formal review process that ensures a school is offering a reputable program adhering to minimum academic standards. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the national agency that accredits for undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs in business and accounting. By checking a program’s status with the AACSB, you can be confident you are receiving a recognized, quality degree. Employers generally will not hire job candidates who possess a degree from a school that is not accredited, and schools will not accept academic credentials from an unaccredited program.

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    One of the best resources when it comes to making a final decision on an online MBA in Financial Planning program is actual students and graduates. They can give you an unbiased, real-world take on how the program has served them, what they have liked, and what they have disliked. Ask an admissions counselor to put you in touch with a current student or recent alumni. Alternatively, use LinkedIn or Facebook to find and reach out to people.

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In addition to earning a financial planning MBA online, obtaining an additional professional certificate qualifies graduates for upper level positions with companies. Below, we list two industry-standard certificates.

License Description
Certified Financial Planner Many MBA in financial planning programs include preparation for this certification. It classifies the holder as skilled in all areas of financial planning.
Chartered Financial Analyst® The CFA is a feather in the cap of financial analysts, vouching for their ability to manage investments and portfolios.

Earning an MBA can be a financial burden on students. However, a number of avenues are available to help finance an MBA. There are a wide variety of financial planning scholarships, based on both need and merit, with varying award amounts.