Four E’s Essential to Earning the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM Certification


1. Education - CFP®practitioners develop theoretical and practical financial planning knowledge by one of three ways:  completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering a financial planning curriculum, through a CFP® Board-Registered Program or through the Challenge Status where certain educational degrees or professional credentials fulfill the educational requirement.  Candidates for certification must have a bachelor's degree (or higher), or its equivalent, in any discipline, from an accredited college or university in order to obtain the CFP®certification. 

2. Examination - CFP®practitioners must pass a comprehensive two-day, 10-hour CFP®Certification Examination that tests their ability to apply their financial planning knowledge in an integrated format. Based on regularly updated research of what planners do, the CFP®Board's exam covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance.

3. Experience - CFP®practitioners must have a minimum of three years' experience working in the financial planning process prior to earning the CFP®marks. 

4. Ethics - As a final step to certification, CFP®practitioners must pass an ethics review and agree to abide by The CFP®Board's Financial Planning Practice Standards and a strict code of professional conduct, known as the CFP®Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, that sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, to clients and to employers. Through the Code of Ethics, CFP®practitioners agree to act fairly and diligently when they provide you with financial planning advice and services, always putting your interests first. The Code of Ethics states that CFP®practitioners are to act with integrity, offering you professional services that are objective and based on your needs. It is also necessary for every CFP®certificant, once certified, to get re-certification every two years. Those seeking to maintain their certification must attain a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education, in order to stay current with developments in the financial planning profession to better serve their clients. Two of these hours must be spent studying the CFP®Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility or Financial Planning Practice Standards.