Hello and welcome to an info-packed article on CFP continuing education.
This article promises to expand your knowledge about what the CFP CEU requirements are, how to get them, and how to report your earned units to the CFP Board.
In this article, we shall discuss:
So, let’s begin.
Fundamentals of CFP Continuing Education
The journey to becoming a Financial Planner doesn’t end with earning the CFP certification.
Certificants have to continue in the learning process of the latest estate planning, retirement planning, annuities, and life insurance skills.
The CFP Board rules require a CFP ® professional to earn at least 30 hours of education each reporting period.
The CE hours consist of 2 hours of CFP ethics CE and 28 hours of CE for CFPs covering 1 or more main topics.
Financial planners must complete CPE hours in the code of ethics, law, practice management, and taxation to maintain certification.
The CFP ® renewal application requires the completion date and the number of education hours completed every three years.
Should you fail to do so, as a licensed professional, it may imply that you have been unable to abide by state and federal laws requiring continuing education in specific areas such as ethics, law, and tax reform.
Suppose a licensee fails to meet their annual requirements in any given year, they will lose their license until they have regained compliance or are no longer practicing as a registered representative.
There are rules regarding licensing maintenance in each state, including compensation and continuing education requirements.
In Texas, you can take online CFP CE courses from accredited Universities like Kaplan University and receive a certificate that is accepted statewide.
Now that you have a grasp of what continuing education for CFPs is, let’s discuss why CFP credits are required in this next section.
Why Do You Need Continuing Education Credits?
Your CFP certification is your ticket to a lucrative, fulfilling career helping clients reach their financial goals.
It is essential to keep your license up-to-date with continuing education credits.
If you fail to do so you could be stripped of your CFP certification.
However, any jobs that require the designation could be affected even if you’re working in another field altogether.
Why does my CFP certification require continuing education?
The U.S. Department of Labor requires Certified Financial Planners (CFP) must take 30 hours of career training every two years to maintain their professional status as a CFP holder.
Another reason is that most states (but not all) require a certain number of CE credits or a minimum number of hours each year.
You’ll need to meet both requirements within two years to stay certified as a CFP under U.S law.
Seeing that it is not negotiable for a CFP to earn CE credits, we proceed to reveal how these credits can be earned properly in this next section.
How to Earn CFP Continuing Education Credits?
Thousands of CE programs are registered with the CFP board yearly.
The first step towards earning continuing education credits starts by searching the CFP Board’s database for CE programs.
To do this, you need to create a profile to search and register for online continuing education courses.
There are more than 3,000 hours of formal education opportunities to choose from to earn your 30 hours per year.
A 50-minute live program earns you 1 credit hour.
A 75-minute live program is eligible for 1.5 CE credit hours.
Most professional development providers offer multi-hour or multi-day learning activities; they might also allow you to earn partial credit if you can’t attend an entire program due to scheduling issues.
Call them to find out if they don’t explicitly state how many units a learning activity has been assigned.
Some conferences require attendees to earn 2 or 3.5 CE credit hours for all sessions.
If you aren’t sure whether it will be worth your time and money, visit their website or ask them questions regarding their program content before registering.
A lot has been said already, now it’s time to look at some of the most astute resources for ongoing certification requirements for CFPs.
Recommended CFP Continuing Education Resources
Financial planners need to stay up-to-date on federal regulations, trends, and market conditions.
While there are countless resources out there, we’ve found that a few stand above the rest.
Here are our top recommended CFP continuing education resources:
- Market Updates – AdvisorBench
- FINRA/SEC Podcasts – The Wall Street Journal
- Upcoming webinars – Pershing
- SEC Compliance Checklist – RIA Compliance
- BrokerCheck Search Tool – FINRA
- Regulatory News & Alerts – InvestmentNews
- Latest News from Washington – Urban Wire
In addition, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) has identified numerous online free CFP continuing education sources.
If you are a CFP professional, browse their list to learn about new ways to earn your required credits each year.
To find free webinars from industry experts, search through these webinars and round table discussions on investment topics.
For self-directed financial planners and those who want to brush up on general money skills for clients, take advantage of these great e-books and articles.
NAPFA also offers live events that can be attended in person or watched later at no cost.
Finally, financial planning software can be helpful in both understanding investment decisions and performing certain types of calculations quickly.
Make sure any software you choose aligns with NAPFA’s Statement of Ethical Principles.
Lastly, consider keeping an eye out for seminars and workshops within your firm.
It never hurts to know what opportunities exist within a company you plan to stay with long term.
Many companies offer employee development seminars, specialized financial services training courses, and additional certification programs.
CFP Certification is a big commitment, so commit even more to maintain it.
You’ll have to spend time and money- and you’ll have to keep up with CE requirements to maintain your certification.
It’s well worth it in the end.
If you’re interested in becoming a CFP®, read more about CFP® professional education requirements and start talking with people who are already certified about their experiences.