"Parents tell their kids to study business or marketing, but we have the job opportunities," said Lukas Dean, Ph.D., an associate professor at William Paterson University who specializes in personal financial planning.
He estimates that the typical graduate from his program has between four and five job offers from which to choose when they leave school.
"Our students and graduates are having paid internships and job offers rained on them," Dean said.
Historically, college campuses have not been a favored hunting ground for advisory firms, particularly commission-based firms emphasizing investment sales. Recent graduates lack experience and have limited networks of friends and colleagues who could become potential clients.
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As the industry has shifted toward fee-based planning, however, the interest in financial-planning graduates is now coming from all corners of the market, including wirehouses and broker-dealers.
"The industry recognizes that it can't do things the way it did in the past," said certified financial planner Deena Katz, a professor in the financial planning department of Texas Tech University and chairman of Evensky & Katz Wealth Management.
College graduates "may not have experience, but it's better to have people who understand the profession," Katz added. "If firms took half the money they spend on recruiting and invested it in 'next-gen' advisors, they would be amazingly successful."