October 4, 2017

Husson program aims to help students get into high-growth financial planning field

Courtesy / Husson University College of Business
Courtesy / Husson University College of Business
Marie E. Hansen, dean of Husson University College of Business, said the school would “love to see” a first class of 10 students for its new undergraduate degree program in financial planning.

Husson University College of Business in Bangor has launched an undergraduate degree program in financial planning, a lucrative niche profession projected to see 30% employment growth nationwide between 2014 and 2024.

The forecast, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, far outshines the 7% expected growth for all professions and 10% for financial specialists over the same 10-year period. As of May 2016, the median annual salary for personal financial advisers was $90,530 and the annual hourly rate was $43.53.

Starting this semester, Husson business undergraduate students can pursue a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a concentration in financial planning, in a program approved by the Washington, D.C.-based Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc.

Marie E. Hansen, dean of the College of Business, told Mainebiz that it took a little over a year to get the CFP Board stamp of approval, a first for Maine.

"We would love to see a cohort of 10 going into the program that could follow through," she said, adding that "we'd be capable of having 20-plus."

She said the program opens up a broad range of professional opportunities for graduates, including managing their own income and investments.

"There are a lot of different things they can be looking at throughout their lifespan," she said.

'Robust program'

The classroom and online financial planning degree program consists of 13 courses totaling 39 credit hours, with required courses in financial planning, risk management, investments, income tax, estate tax, retirement planning, and financial plan development. It covers all 72 required topics specified by the CFP Board.

"It's quite a robust program," Hansen said.

Internships are also required, so that students can work towards the 6,000 hours of professional experience required for CFP certification, and the school is talking to area businesses about possibilities.

Although Husson will not administer the certification test, the program aims to prepare students so they can take it after graduating.

The new program complements ongoing work by Husson business students on the Husson Stock Index that tracks and analyzes 28 companies considered to have an impact on Maine's economy.

Husson students can also get real-life investment experience with the student-managed James and Carol Carlisle Fund, currently valued at $250,000.

For Husson graduates who feel like they've missed out on the new financial planning concentration, Hansen said they are welcome to enroll.

"It's not just for incoming freshmen," she said. "If someone were to have graduated with a bachelor's degree and wanted to come back and take classes required towards the [CFP] exam, we would work individually with that student to meet the requirements."


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