Hi all, welcome to this informative article on financial planner certification.

In this article, you will learn how getting a CFP will impact your career as a financial planner and what steps to take towards obtaining the certification.

Specifically, we’ll discuss:

The education requirements for CFP
The CFP Certification Exam
Acquiring experience towards the CFP designation
Benefits of acquiring a financial planner certification

And more helpful information.

Let’s get the ball rolling!

Financial Planner Certification – A Quick Intro

A financial planner is mandated to help advise designated clients on matters of financial planning in an attempt to help them realize their long-term or short-term financial goals.

However,  the most critical part of being a CFP is being a fiduciary of the individual’s assets in that they make decisions with the best interest in mind.

To achieve this, you’re expected to attain financial planner certification from the CFP board through a set of processes that we will discuss in detail in the following sections.

First, let’s look at the educational requirements for pursuing a CFP designation.

Education Requirements

The set process requires you to fulfill specific educational requirements to attain the certification.

The CFP board requires an individual applying to become a financial planner to possess a bachelor’s degree or earn it within the five-year grace period after writing the certification exam.

However, a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, law, or economics helps you prepare for the CFP exam, which will be later administered in the process before certification.

Also, the CFP board gives an exception to the individuals possessing the following financial designations:

  • Chartered financial analyst(CFA)
  • Certified public accountant designation(CPA) or
  • Higher education level in business.

You are also required to complete coursework administered by the CFP Board.

The CFP Board administered program helps the applicant gain knowledge on the major topics of this coursework which include;

  • estate planning,
  • retirement planning,
  • psychology of financial planning,
  • investment planning,
  • tax planning, and the
  • capstone course of financial plan development.

Estate Planning

This topic is part of the coursework where the individual is expected to give financial advice to the clients concerning the property and advise the clients on financial goals in institutions such as marriage.

Retirement Planning

In this CFP program coursework, the applicant should expect to deal with topics like retirement benefits and insurance and advise the clients on attaining their financial goals after retirement.

All these topics are tested through the CFP Board administered exam and are verified by the CFP Board of standards.

You can find the above topics on the CFP Board website, especially estate planning and retirement planning.

Capstone Course

This course is a comprehensive course majorly required as part of the CFP coursework requirement to enhance your financial planning knowledge, ability, and skills.

The board uses it to ascertain your ability to deliver professional and excellent financial advice to the public.

The CFP Certification Exam

The CFP exam is set in a multiple-choice questions format expected to be done in two three-hour sessions, each separated by a 40 minutes break.

The 170 multiple-choice exam consists of stand-alone questions, scenario-based questions, and case study questions.

The exam is offered three times a year; in July, March, and November.

The topics covered in the CFP exam include risk management planning, tax financial planning, and personal financial planning.

As a financial planner in this stage, you’re expected to present your coursework credentials to be eligible to sit for the CFP certification exam.

The CFP exam cost is a standard of $825.

However, for those who apply for registration late than the given date, an additional fee of $100 is charged.

During the preparation for the CFP test, some of the study materials to consider include financial journals, which go a long way to provide the applicant with the relevant information required in the exam.

You can do all this only after completing the certificate program under the supervision of the financial professionals in the coursework provided by the CFP Board.

Acquiring Relevant Experience

Immediately after completing the coursework, the exam tests, attending the CFP classes and assuring the board of competency in the registered program.

The next step is to gain experience by offering financial services to the designated clients under the supervision of experienced financial professionals.

This experience will help you acquire the CFP certification and CFP licenses once you’ve completed the CFP board registered program.

At this stage, you can also choose to specify between a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and a chartered financial Consultant (CHFC).

Chartered Life Underwriter

This is a professional term for individuals specializing in estate planning and life insurance.

A CLU will often be an added advantage to the credentials of financial planners during enrollment to their fields as it demonstrates expertise.

This also counts as one of the employee benefits in this field of specialization.

Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)

This is a professional designation of an individual who has completed financial education, the CFP examinations designated, and gained experience in the field.

This designation consists of topics such as estate planning and employee benefits planning.

However, after acquiring this title, the individual is expected to earn continuing education as part of the registered program.

Awarding the CFP

Immediately after completing the CFP education program, you’re expected to adhere to the CFP board code of conduct which includes topics of ethical standards and fulfill the ethics requirements.

These two are critical to awarding the certificate by the CFP board, and they are also assessed before being given a CFP license.  

After assessing all the requirements, the board awards the individual with the financial planner certification – sent via mail.

Benefits of Acquiring A Financial Planner Certification

The title financial planner comes with many advantages as its toughness to completion.

The advantages are as discussed below:

Trusted Fiduciaries

A fiduciary is a financial planner who has legal obligations to their clients.

Clients tend to look for trusted financial planners.

As a CFP, during the final stage before certification, a criminal background check is done to ensure social security, and that’s where the advantage comes in.

Above Average Salary

Certified financial planners earn higher salaries than any other financial planner recording an average salary of $121,338 annually.

This is the highest salary recorded for any financial planner in a year.

Competitive Advantage

The fiduciary status, the vast experience acquired, and the high level of education gives a certified financial planner a competitive advantage over those who have not completed the CFP certification.

A CFP has no major struggles looking for employment, which is a massive advantage for the financial planner.


Obtaining a financial planner certification is not as easy as many think.

However, acquiring this certification gives you numerous advantages in this field and boosts your economic status due to the high salaries offered.

It is advisable for any individual aspiring to venture into this field to acquire certification as a CFP.

As a certified financial planner, you’re also expected to be credible in your analysis while providing the maximum best services to your client.






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