Career Center

Private Practice

If you are entrepreneurial by nature and willing to take a few risks, starting, or working for, a Financial Counseling private practice may be the right career path for you.

There are a variety of business models for private practitioners. Financial Counselors pursuing this career path may:

  • Have their own practice and gather clients through the community or through existing connections.
  • Buy a book of business from another practitioner. This can be a costly, but effective, method for quickly establishing a clientele.
  • Work for a firm, like a financial planning firm, who has a need for a financial counselor on staff. In this setting, obtaining the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) mark may be beneficial as well.
  • Specialize in a particular area of financial counseling and make a name for themselves. This allows them to be hired by other firms and organizations as consultants – to provide insight or to work on special projects given the individual’s special interest.

Guide to Starting a Private Practice

Career Path: Private Practice

Your Title: 

Financial Counselor, Practitioner or Consultant

What You Will Do:

Responsibilities vary greatly since this professional area is very independent and individualistic. Professionals in private practice will run their own business and create the model that best suites their own needs and the needs of their clients.

In addition to providing financial counseling or consulting services to your clients, you will also need to manage the role that an employer would otherwise do for you, including but not limited to: marketing and finding clients, payroll and taxes, technical infrastructure and tools, etc.

What Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Will Make You Successful: 

  • Specialized knowledge in financial counseling
  • Ability to work well with individuals and families
  • Ability to take risks and be entrepreneurial in business design and implementation
  • Skills in oral and written communications
  • Skills in marketing

Where You Should Start:

Experience and education vary greatly. Optimally, this work requires a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience, and preferably, Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®) certification. Consultants may require experience or education specialized in a unique area of interest to businesses.

Apprenticeships or internships are highly recommended. Shadowing a practitioner allows you to better recognize whether your skills fit this role. Some practitioners begin their career in this area, while others transition to private practice after gaining experience and developing skills in other areas.

Your Salary Potential: 

Salary varies greatly depending on the specialty, experience and firm size. There is great potential for increased salary but salary/income may ebb and flow depending on your client base.

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