How Do I Become a Certified Financial Planner™?

A Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®) assists clients in planning for their financial futures assisting with retirement planning, obtaining the best insurance for specific situations, and assessing financial goals. The job entails a wide range of responsibilities, from developing an initial financial plan to implementing and monitoring it. Because of the nature of the job, a Certified Financial PlannerTM spends a significant amount of time interacting with the general public. To become a Certified Financial PlannerTM, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, completion of an approved CFP® course, passing of the certification exam, and three years of financial planning experience.

To become a Certified Financial PlannerTM, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and to complete a CFP® program at a college accredited the Certified Financial PlannerTM Board. Investments, estate planning, employee benefits, financial planning processes, and tax planning are all covered in such a program, which typically consists of five or six courses. Those with specific higher degrees or certifications may be allowed to take the certification exam without completing the program, but you must submit your college transcript to be considered. You can still take the certification exam if you don’t want to get a degree or certificate from a registered program, but you’ll need to get an accepted degree or certificate first.

If you want to become a Certified Financial PlannerTM, you’ll need to take the Certified Financial PlannerTM exam, which covers accounting processes, financial analysis, economics, insurance, and business law among other topics. The exam requires you to apply what you’ve learned in class to a variety of problems. You must apply for the exam and pay a fee, and the exam is usually administered over two days.

You won’t be a Certified Financial PlannerTM until you meet the experience requirements, even if you pass the CFP® exam. You’ll need at least three years of full-time financial planning experience, as well as documentation of your experience to submit to the CFP® Board. This experience can occur before or after you take the initial exam, as long as it lasts at least three years. You must also agree to follow a code of ethics. To keep your certification, you must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years after you receive it.