Financial Counseling and Planning

Help families and individuals manage their money!

Financial Counseling and Planning (FCP) curriculum prepares students for professional work related to financial counseling and planning.  FCP is a growing career field and appeals to students who want to work with individuals and families to help them meet their financial goals and improve their financial capability to better meet financial challenges.

What can I do with a degree in FCP?

Graduates of the program are prepared for employment within the public and private sectors including working in the banking and insurance industry and financial counseling and human service agencies. A required internship encourages students to apply their studies and to experience the profession in real-world settings.  FCP majors also are prepared to enter graduate programs in family financial planning, financial education, economics and finance. (See Careers and Internships below for specific career examples.) In the Fall  of 2013, the name of the curriculum was changed to Financial Counseling and Planning (FCP) to highlight the emphasis on individual and family finance.  Students in the FCP major will follow a plan of study that leads to top certifications in financial counseling and planning.


Program Information

Curriculum Requirements

Financial Counseling and Planning curriculum  requirements

General Education Selections


Three areas of emphasis offer students opportunities to help them make good financial decisions and manage resources:

  • Family financial counseling
  • Family financial planning
  • Family finance and housing studies

4-year Plans

4-year plans for all Financial Counseling and Planning options

How to Prepare for this Program

High school math courses, communications courses, and courses in human behavior are recommended.

Related Majors and Minors

Child, Adult, and Family Services


Entrepreneurial Studies

General Business


Why ISU?

The only program in Iowa

ISU has the only family finance undergraduate program in Iowa. Recent economic conditions in the U.S. highlight the nation’s need for more citizens who understand family financial decision-making and can build their own financial capacity and also help others to become financially literate.  FCP provides students with the skills to help people solve their financial problems and make good financial decisions based on individual and family financial goals, guiding them toward financial security.

Financial counseling and planning is an approved program of excellence!

The Iowa State University FCP major, which is the only program of its kind in Iowa, is an approved program of excellence by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Students who successfully complete Iowa State’s program are eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner Certification Examination. Those who pass that examination earn the CFP® certification, a standard of excellence.

The Iowa State University undergraduate degree program in financial counseling and planning is an Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE®) Approved University Program — designating that it meets a standard of excellence in providing educational, experiential, and career enhancing opportunities. Students who successfully complete Iowa State’s program are eligible to take the AFC® exam for a reduced student rate. Those who pass the exam earn Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®)Accreditation, a standard of excellence.

Financial Counseling Clinic

Many students in this major work closely with the Iowa State Financial Counseling Clinic to develop counseling skills and conduct research in state-of-the-art facilities.  As a financial counseling student, you will study the underlying causes of financial problems and develop counseling skills. As a financial planning student, you will study family economic analysis and investments, retirement, insurance, and estate planning to help families and individuals manage their money.

Get Involved

Careers and Internships


  • Financial planner, adviser, or counselor
  • Financial aid officer
  • Investment adviser/counselor
  • Insurance agent
  • Consumer credit counselor
  • Marketing/sales representative
  • Benefit counselor, retirement advisor, pension fund administrator
  • Social Security representative
  • Housing specialist or advocate
  • Loan officer or processor
  • Mortgage representative or mortgage lender
  • Property manager
  • Real estate agent
  • Program caseworker

Career Services

Students and alumni are eligible to contact career services in the College of Human Sciences for assistance in these areas:

  • Job search materials such as resumes and cover letters
  • Job and internship search strategies
  • Interviewing skills


Students majoring in Financial Counseling and Planning are required to complete a 320-360 hour internship during their senior year with the goal of applying the knowledge learned in the classroom to a work setting.  Students find and choose an internship site themselves with the support and guidance from the HDFS department internship coordinator. Internships can be completed in Iowa, out of state and even internationally. View Financial Counseling and Planning student internship experiences at Career Connections. Examples of organizations where students majoring in Financial Counseling and Planning have completed their internships:

Greater Iowa Credit Union

HOME, Inc.

Story County Iowa Assessor’s Office


Recent current events have changed the way our country thinks about monetary matters. Faculty leading coursework and research related to personal and family finance and housing are at work in our communities, state, and nation, helping all ages of the population better understand and plan for fiscal security.

Dr. Suzanne Bartholomae,

Dr. Cynthia Fletcher,

Dr. Jonathan Fox,

Dr. Clinton Gudmunson,

Dr. Gong-Soog Hong,



ISU’s Hira helps develop consumer money-management site

NYSE Euronext developers worked closely with Tahira Hira, a professor of personal finance and consumer economics in HDFS, to launch NYSE Money Sense, a new online educational resource for consumers to improve their money-management skills and knowledge. Hira vetted the site content and is chairing the NYSE Euronext Financial Literacy Advisory committee, which is composed of some of the most respected names in financial literacy and education. She was interviewed about the initiative by Maria Bartiromo on CNBC.