Capstone Course

Become a CFP® Professional


Capstone Course

The education requirements for CFP® certification include completion of a financial plan development course registered with CFP Board. The capstone requirement was implemented in 2012 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.

Who is required to take the capstone course?

  • Students of CFP Board Registered Programs whose initial dates of matriculation (initial enrollment) occur on or after January 1, 2012 are required to take the capstone course. (Students with initial dates of matriculation before January 1, 2012, who have maintained continuous enrollment in a program of study, curriculum, or major at one institution, are not required to take the capstone course.)
  • Students who complete coursework through multiple CFP Board Registered Programs are required to take the course, even if they enrolled in their most recent program before January 1, 2012.
  • Individuals who register to take the CFP® exam under Accelerated Path are required to take the capstone course, or complete the Capstone Alternative, if their first sitting for the exam is March 2012 or later. 

View the Accelerated Path Capstone list

Learn about the Capstone Alternative

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. Some CFP Board Registered Programs allow individuals with Accelerated Path to take the capstone course only, without registering for a full program of study.  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

View the Accelerated Path Capstone list

Is there an alternative to the capstone course for experienced financial planners?

Yes, there is a Capstone Alternative option available to candidates who are eligible for Accelerated Path and who also meet CFP Board's experience requirement. These individuals can satisfy the Capstone course requirement through an approved Capstone Alternative provider.

Learn more about the Capstone Alternative

Exam Dates


CFP® Certification Examination
November 5-12, 2019

Most Recent Exam:

CFP® Certification Examination
July 9-16, 2019

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Employment for personal financial advisors is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2024. 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 30 percent through 2024, according to the Labor Department.

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.