Steps to Becoming a CFP® Practitioner
Step 1- Complete the Education Requirement
Before applying for the CFP® Certification Examinations, you need to complete the education requirements set by CFP Board. You can fulfill the education requirement through one of three paths:
1. Complete a CFP Board-Registered Education Program
There are more than 285 academic programs at colleges and universities across the country from which to choose. These programs include credit and non-credit certificate programs, undergraduate and graduate degree programs. They use various delivery formats and schedules, including classroom instruction, self-study and online delivery. Many of CFP Board's Registered Programs also offer in-house educational programs for individual companies.
2. Apply for Challenge Status
3. Certain degrees and professional credentials fulfill the educational requirement and allow you to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination.
Academic degrees and credentials that fulfill the educational requirements include:
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Licensed Attorney
- Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA)
- Doctor of Business Administration
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
- Ph.D. in business or economics
- Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) (*Inactive License Acceptable)
Certain industry credentials recognized by CFP Board, or the successful completion of upper-division level college courses, may satisfy some or all of the education requirements set by the CFP Board of Standards .
New Education Requirements Beginning 2007
Beginning in January of 2007, a bachelor's degree, in any field of study or program, will be required to obtain CFP® certification. After January 2007, individuals must have a bachelor's degree in order to become a CFP® certificant.
Individuals not planning on obtaining a bachelor's degree must complete the entire certification process, including the education, examination, experience and ethics requirements, by January 2007. Candidates for CFP® certification should allow time for any possible retakes of the CFP® Certification Examination, as well as adequate time to complete the rest of the certification process by this date.
Step 2- Pass the CFP® Certification Examination
The CFP® Certification Examination tests your ability to apply your financial planning knowledge to client situations. The 10-hour exam is divided into three separate sessions may cover all topic areas. All questions are multiple choice, including those questions related to case problems.
The exam is administered three times a year- generally on the third Friday and Saturday of March, July and November- at about 50 domestic locations. The application deadline is approximately seven weeks prior to each exam date (e.g., February 1, June 1 and October 1). Applications can be downloaded from www.cfp.net/become. Completed Applications, including payment of the $595 fee, must be received by the deadlines printed on the applications- there are no exceptions.
CFP Board maintains a list of review courses, offered by independent firms, designed to assist individuals in preparing for the CFP® Certification Examination. A current list of review course providers is available at www.cfp.net/become. CFP Board neither evaluates the quality of the review courses nor endorses any program.
Step 3- Meet the Experience Requirement
At least three years of qualifying full-time work experience are required for certification. Qualifying experience includes work that can be categorized into one of the six primary elements of the personal financial planning process. Experience can be gained in a number of ways including:
- the delivery of all, or of any portion, of the personal financial planning process to a client
- the direct support or supervision of individuals who deliver all, or any portion, of the personal financial planning proces to a client
- teaching all, or any portion, of the personal financial planning process
Step 4- Adhere to the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Pass Background Check
After you have met the education, examination and work experience requirements, you must disclose past or pending litigation or agency proceedings and agree to abide by CFP Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibilty and Financial Planning Practice Standards. A background check will also be conducted.
Step 5- Pay Certification Fees
Upon successfully completing the first three steps, fees will apply as follows:
- A one-time, non-refundable initial certification application fee of $100 for the background checks as noted above
- A biennial certification fee of $300
Step 6- Receive Authorization to Use CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™ Marks
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™ and in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
Metro State does not certify individuals to use the CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™ and marks. CFP® certification is granted solely by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. to individuals who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met ethics, experience and examination requirements.