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Capstone Course

Visit What are CFP Board-Registered Programs? for more information.

Financial Plan Development Course

On March 4, 2010, CFP Board's Board of Directors approved the addition of a financial plan development course requirement to CFP Board's education standards, following thoughtful review of comments on the proposed requirement received during a 60-day comment period held in 2009. The 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.

All students of CFP Board-Registered Programs whose initial dates of matriculation occur on or after January 1, 2012 will be required to take this course. Completion of the course will be required for those who register under “Challenge” status for the March 2012 or later administrations of the CFP® Certification Examination. The information and resources on this page provide additional detail regarding the purpose, criteria and registration procedures for the Financial Plan Development Course.

Course Registration Process

CFP Board will require submission of all Financial Plan Development Course syllabi and assessment rubrics during the annual Registered Program registration renewal. The purpose of this ongoing evaluation is to ensure that all of the students enrolled in the various Registered Programs across the United States demonstrate the same minimum competency level relative to the Financial Plan Development Course learning objectives.

  1. Course Syllabus
    Evaluation of the course syllabus will depend solely upon the content, instruction, learning experiences, and assessment strategies relative to the learning objectives established as the criteria for the Financial Plan Development Course. If a capstone course has already been part of the curriculum, CFP Board Registered Program Manager can evaluate the course and assess the gaps, if any, that exist with regard to the current syllabus and the Financial Plan Development Course required criteria.
  2. Curriculum Vitae of the Instructor of the Financial Plan Development Course
    Evaluation of the qualifications of the instructor of this new course will be identical to those found in Section III, (pp. 8-17), CFP Board’s Criteria for Registration of a Financial Planning Curriculum (PDF, 509KB) (April, 2008).
  3. Assessment Rubric utilized by instructor for the Financial Plan Development Course
    CFP Board requires the use of an assessment rubric in the Financial Plan Development Course. CFP Board Registered Programs have the freedom to decide the content and weight of components of their assessment rubric relative to learner assessment in components of the financial plan.

Additional Provisions

  • CFP Board expects Registered Programs to monitor who has taken the Financial Plan Development Course as well as determine the course of action (new versus old curriculum) for students who have breaks in enrollment.
  • A student's status with regard to the Grandfather Clause will not be affected by exam performance.
  • Challengers must complete the Financial Plan Development Course in order to register for the March 2012 exam.
  • Registered Programs are encouraged to utilize the terms "Financial Plan Development Course," "Capstone Course in Financial Planning," or "Case Studies Course" within their institution.
  • Registered Programs are encouraged to require students to take this course at the end of the sequence of curricular courses within their program of study. However, faculty at Registered Programs will monitor and advise when students should take this course in their program of study.
  • CFP Board recognizes the oversight and quality control that exists at all of the institutions that house Registered Programs. Therefore, CFP Board will only approve Financial Plan Development Courses that have been previously approved by the institutions that house the Registered Program.
Council On Education
CFP Board’s Council on Education advises CFP Board on the development and clarification of all educational policies related to the CFP® certification process.