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Personal Financial Planning

The PNW’s only PFP Undergrad Program

Central Washington University offers the only bachelor’s level program in personal financial planning in the Pacific Northwest that allows students to sit for the CFP® exam. There are two tracks available for students. The first, a Bachelor of Business Administration with a specialization in personal financial planning, offers the requirements to becoming a financial planner while providing a broader business background. The second option is a Bachelor of Science in Personal Financial Planning. This course of study offers deeper insight into the technology used in PFP, client planner relationships, and investing. This is ideal for those students who know they want to become financial planners, allowing them to become more specialized in the field before they graduate.


Industry and Degree

This degree and specialization prepare students to work as part of a team helping individuals and families plan for their financial futures. Many financial planners base their career satisfaction on the relationships they create with their clients and find personal meaning by helping their clients achieve goals like sending their kids or grandkids to college, retiring, or passing through difficult economic times. Students seeking to enter this industry learn about subjects such as investment planning, retirement planning, estate planning, risk management, and tax planning.


Career Opportunities

With the baby boomer generation transitioning into retirement and subsequent generations moving into new phases of life, this industry presents two unique opportunities for young professionals. Financial Planning is seeing a large increase in individuals seeking financial planners, and many of the current financial planners are preparing for their own transition into retirement, making room for a new generation of financial planners.


Students receiving this degree or specialization typically start their careers at wealth management firms, banks, wire houses, broker-dealers, accounting firms or other financial service firms. Their roles typically include client service, back office support, and/or advisor support. They can usually expect to aid in client data gathering, meeting prep, trade executions, day-to-day client interactions, and plan creation. For the first 5-10 years, firms will usually focus on getting young planners the experience, credibility, and licensing they need in order to become effective financial planners, and there are little-to-no expectations that the young planner sell products or bring in new clients.


The CWU Experience

“Central Washington University’s Personal Financial Planning Program has done an incredible job preparing me for a long-term career that makes a difference in people’s lives. The professors’ unwavering passion for PFP gave me insight to how fulfilling the role of a Financial Planner can be. Through building connections within the program, I was able to get a great (paid) internship that turned into full-time employment after graduation. I strongly recommend the program for anyone interested in becoming a Financial Planner, or anyone with a passion for making a difference in people’s lives.” Josh Hartman (CWU Graduate), BS in PFP


“This class was truly my favorite class at CWU. I learned SO much that I feel has prepared me for entering the real world. I feel so much more confident in starting my job next month because of your class. This class should be in the core classes for each specialization! I'm even keeping the textbook and taking it with me in case I need to recall some information.” - Ashley Masters (CWU Graduate), a non-PFP Major having taken a PFP course as an elective.


"One of the things that's cool about the courses in the program is that most of them do a deep dive into very specific topics of financial planning such as retirement, insurance, and estate planning. But these are sandwiched by an overview course that sets the tone and a capstone course that brings it all together at the end. I think students will really like the capstone course because they can see and practice putting all the pieces together in that course. This career is highly rated for job satisfaction and pay. It's a great career for someone that likes working with people in a helping, counseling, planning role. Many in the industry find that the long-term client relationships that are built are also very rewarding." - Andrew Waldum, Instructor


The Financial Planning Club

The Financial Planning Club is a great way to get involved and engage with fellow PFP students and professionals in the financial planning field. Learn about career options, what it is like to work in the field, and discuss the various aspects of financial planning. Compete in competitions like the Financial Planning Association Case Study Challenge against students from other universities.

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.