Become a CFP® Professional

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. When do I report my experience to CFP Board?

After you pass the CFP® Certification Examination, you will receive instructions for reporting your experience through the online Experience Reporting Form. You can also submit experience to CFP Board for review prior to passing the CFP® exam with a non-refundable review fee; however, credit will be granted only for experience completed within 10 years before and five years after successful completion of the CFP® exam. Please note that it may take up to 20 business days from the date CFP Board receives the submission for the information to be processed. You will receive an email notification from CFP Board when the submission has been processed and/or if CFP Board has questions related to your experience.

2. How is part-time employment credited toward the requirement?

The number of part-time hours will be converted into a full-time equivalent and applied to the overall balance of the requirement. 2,000 hours equals one year of full-time experience.

3. If I work full-time in a financial planning related position and also work part-time, can I accelerate the completion of the requirement?

No. Concurrent part- and full-time financial planning employment will not accelerate completion of the requirement. (Completion of an approved Residency Program generates credit toward the Experience requirement at the rate of three months of experience credit per residency program, and these hours will be accepted in addition to hours granted for qualifying full-time or part-time work.)

4. If I work more than 2,000 hours per year, can I accelerate the completion of the requirement?

No. Additional credit for full-time employment will not be granted for hours in excess of 40 hours per week. (Completion of an approved Residency Program generates credit toward the Experience requirement at the rate of three months of experience credit per residency program, and these hours will be accepted in addition to any hours granted for qualifying full-time or part-time work.)

5. How is a portion of a job credited towards the requirement?

Portions of a job may be credited towards this requirement on an hourly basis just like part-time employment. As an example, the majority of your job (30 hours per week) is spent working as a home office representative processing paperwork. However, ten hours a week are spent consulting with individual clients. The ten hours a week can be accrued and credited towards the Experience requirement.

6. What if I do not have any relevant experience? Can I still sit for the CFP® certification examination?

Yes. The required years of experience do not need to be completed prior to the exam. Individuals have up to five years from the time they pass the exam to complete the Experience requirement if necessary. 

7. If I am making a career change, how do I go about obtaining appropriate experience?

Qualifying experience may be earned through many different types of practices and firms. Applicants for CFP® certification often choose to establish a private practice, either by themselves or in conjunction with other planners. Some planners work for banks, credit unions, insurance companies, accounting or law firms, credit counseling organizations and brokerage firms. Other individuals earn experience through part-time positions, while they continue their current career and/or perform volunteer work. Or, they may choose a career in academia, teaching personal financial planning in a university setting. Some individuals acquire experience through a combination of these types of activities.  

8. What types of work qualifies for experience credit? Does international experience qualify for the experience requirement?

Professional experiences, whether within the United States or abroad, can be accepted only if they meet CFP Board's requirements, which includes using at least one element of the financial planning process to provide personal financial planning advice to a client through personal delivery, supervision or direct support, as well as specific teaching activities. Experience may be submitted to CFP Board for review prior to passing the CFP® exam with a non-refundable review fee; however, credit will be granted only for experience completed within 10 years before and five years after successful completion of the CFP® exam.  

9. Does working with corporate clients count as experience?

No. For purposes of the Experience requirement, CFP Board defines a "client" as an individual or person who engages a practitioner and for whom professional services are rendered.

10. If I am self-employed or provide personal financial planning advice pro bono, can this experience be applied toward the experience requirement?

Individuals who provide personal financial planning advice as defined by CFP Board's standards as an independent or outside of their employment will need to provide the signature and contact information of a qualified individual who can attest to the nature of their work. An attester must hold one of the following qualifications:

  • CFP® professional
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®)
  • Ph.D. in business or economics*
  • Doctor of Business Administration*
  • Licensed attorney – (inactive license acceptable)
  • Licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – (inactive license acceptable)

*Degree must be from an accredited U.S. college or university. 

11. May I report experience gained from providing personal financial planning services to family members and/or for managing my own finances?

No. Planning for yourself or immediate family members will not qualify toward CFP Board's Experience requirement.

Exam Dates

Upcoming:

The CFP® exam is transitioning to a computer-based format beginning in November 2014. Learn more.

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