Become a CFP® Professional

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Capstone Course

Beginning in 2012, the education requirements for CFP® certification will include completion of a financial plan development course registered with CFP Board. This capstone course requirement has been designed to enhance the knowledge, skills and abilities of individuals seeking to attain CFP® certification and implement an assessment of their ability to deliver professional and competent financial planning services to the public.

View the Challenge Status Capstone list

Who is required to take the capstone course?
All students of CFP Board-Registered Programs whose initial dates of matriculation (initial enrollment) occur on or after January 1, 2012 will be required to take the capstone course. Individuals who register to take the CFP® exam under "Challenge" status will be required to take the capstone course if their first sitting for the exam is March 2012 or later. Individuals who enroll in multiple registered programs will be required to take the course if they enrolled in their latest program after January 1, 2012, regardless of when they began their first program.

When should the capstone course be completed?
This course should be completed at the end of one’s program of study, as the course is designed to require integration and application of content across all financial planning subject areas. 

Where can I take the capstone course?
All CFP Board-Registered Programs have registered a capstone course with CFP Board. Please contact CFP Board-Registered Programs directly for information on the dates and times of their capstone course offerings. 
Search for a CFP Board-Registered Program 

How do I report completion of the capstone course?
When you complete an application for the March 2012 or later administrations of the CFP® Certification Examination, you will be asked to provide information about how you completed CFP Board’s education requirement, including completion of the capstone course, if applicable. Acceptable documentation of capstone course completion includes a transcript, score report or letter of completion from the CFP Board-Registered Program where you completed the capstone course. Documentation must include the date of course completion and identification of the institution at which you completed the course. 

If I took the November 2011 exam and did not pass, will I need to take the capstone course before re-taking the exam?
No. Students who completed a CFP Board-Registered Program before November 2011, and those whose initial dates of matriculation (initial enrollment) in a CFP Board-Registered Program occurd before January 1, 2012, will not need to take the capstone course in order to re-take the exam. Individuals who "challenged" the exam in November 2011 or earlier will not be required to take the capstone course in order to re-take the exam. 

If I registered for the November 2011 exam under challenge status but did not actually take the exam, will I need to take the capstone course?
Yes. Individuals who registered for the November 2011 or earlier exam under "Challenge" status must actually have sat for the exam in order to be exempt from the capstone course requirement.

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The 2013 Household Financial Planning Survey shows that those with a financial plan feel more confident and report more success managing money, savings & investments than those who have not.

Employment for personal financial advisors is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2020. Bureau of Labor Statistics

In a March 2012 survey of American consumers, 60% indicated they would benefit from the counsel of a financial planner or advisor.

If you hold one of several degrees, licenses or credentials, you can take the CFP® Exam after completing a single capstone course.

Classroom or online learning? Full-time or part-time studies? There are CFP Board-Registered Programs designed to meet your needs. 

Achieve the certification that is rapidly becoming the industry standard: CFP® certification.

Professionals who have already earned their CFP® certification have enjoyed an average income increase of 30%.

Demand for personal financial advisors is expected to grow 41% by 2016, according to Money Magazine and Payscale.com.

More clients who work with a CFP® professional are satisfied or very satisfied, compared those who work with an advisor without certification.

If you're up for the challenge of helping people achieve their financial goals, financial planning is the career for you.