The W. A. Franke College of Business2021-2022


Financial Planning, Undergraduate Certificate

Beginning in Fall 2021, the Certificate in Financial Planning will be available Online.

This certificate is available to individuals who have interest in a financial planning career.  Financial Planners have the opportunity for rewarding careers, both personally and financially. The courses in this program will give students a comprehensive understanding of the financial planning process which include topics such as taxes, estate, investment and retirement planning and ethical procedures.

This program is registered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.


What Can I Do with a Certificate in Financial Planning?

Financial Planners help individuals plan their financial futures. A Financial Planner understands investments, taxes, estate planning issues and possesses excellent listening skills.  Most Financial Planners work for themselves or work within small practices. This work pays well and is rewarding if you like to help people, set goals, develop and implement plans and celebrate the success of a goal met.

It is important to obtain the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation if pursuing a career as a Financial Planner. The Financial Planning Certificate would provide the courses required to meet the CFP Board educational requirements, which allows students to take the rigorous CFP exam upon completion.

Career opportunities that might be pursued:
  • Registered Investment Advisory firms
  • Banks
  • Insurance industry
  • Self-employed Certified Financial Planner

With further education, one of these paths is possible:
  • Financial Planner
  • Wealth Manager
  • Investment Advisor
  • Budget Analyst

University Requirements

  • To receive an undergraduate certificate (at least 15 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.

    Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates, if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program). See the "Details" tab for additional information.


In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Please note that students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 21
Major GPA 2.0
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 121
Additional Admission Requirements Required

This program may lead to licensure.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of the Financial Planning Certificate is to provide educational curriculum to students that will satisfy the Certified Financial Planning (CFP) Board’s requirements. Typically, the CFP designation requires students to take additional courses beyond their bachelor’s programs. However, with the Financial Planning Certificate, students will be able to complete all educational requirements in a typical four-year time period. Eventually, students earning a Certificate in Financial Planning will be eligible to sit for the CFP Board exam, which is a required component to earn the CFP designation. 

In order to be approved as a CFP Board Registered Program, we have developed the NAU Financial Planning Program. The CFP Board requires that their 72 Learning Objectives (LO) be included in the program courses. The 7 total courses cover the 72 LO required by the CFP Board. By the end of the program, students will have knowledge of topics including investment planning, tax planning, estate planning, retirement planning, insurance and risk management, ethics, and financial plan development. While the Certificate in Financial Planning is included in the NAU Financial Planning Program, students can earn the Certificate separate from this program and are not required to meet the CFP Board education requirements. Through the Financial Planning Certificate, students will learn topics and skills that will help them succeed as a CFP professional. Additionally, students will learn how to write a comprehensive financial plan as it pertains to real-world clients and situations

Students will have countless career opportunities available to them post-graduation. With the CFP designation, students can choose to work for a firm or as individual business owner. In addition, there are several other opportunities that exist with the CFP designation including positions within financial institutions such as banks, investment firms, and the insurance industry.

Student Learning Outcomes

The relevant and innovative NAU Financial Planning Program curriculum includes the following student learning outcomes:

  • Students will learn concepts that fulfill the CFP Boards educational requirements including tax, estate, insurance, retirement, and investment planning.
  • Students will understand and demonstrate the importance of ethics and the fiduciary standard for financial professionals.
  • Students will distinguish collegiality and networking with faculty, peers, alumni, and financial planning professionals.
  • Students will develop a comprehensive financial plan for a client including the following
    • Insurance needs analysis (including disability, life, health, long-term care, property, and liability)
    • Education needs analysis and development of an education financing plan
    • Identification of tax reductions, management, and income shifting techniques and how they can benefit a taxpayer
    • Recommendations for appropriate estate planning tools to meet a client’s goals and objectives
    • Evaluation of client retirement needs and potential sources of income during retirement. Calculate and recommend an appropriate savings plan to meet the needs of the client
  • Students will become accountable professionals by holding them to rigorous standards and expanding their boundaries of knowledge with the financial planning process.
  • Students will get a sense of engagement and stewardship to ensure they learn in a diverse, high-quality environment, which urges them to act with integrity and professionalism.
  • The program will create greater employment opportunities for students that provide personally and financially rewarding careers.


Additional Admission Requirements
  • The W.A. Franke College of Business (FCB) offers more than a dozen undergraduate certificates, some of which are open to all Northern Arizona University students.
    For a list of certificates open to non-business majors, contact the Office of Academic Services in the FCB.
    The FCB does not accept upper-division transfer credits from programs not accredited by the AACSB (such as the University of Phoenix or the Bachelor of Business Administration program at NAU).
    You must complete 12 units of certificate coursework that are not used in your major, minor, or other certificates, and you must complete at least 60% of certificate coursework at Northern Arizona University.

Certificate Requirements

  • This certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate.  Federal financial aid cannot be used if the certificate is completed as a stand-alone certificate.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.

Campus Availability

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