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 "Challenge" status 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 Challenge Status 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 “Challenge” status to take the capstone course only, without registering for a full course 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 Challenge Status 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 "Challenge” status and who also meet CFP Board's experience requirement.  These individuals can satisfy the Capstone segment of the education requirement by submitting a comprehensive financial plan for assessment by two CFP® professional reviewers. 

Learn more about the Capstone Alternative

Exam Dates


Most Recent Exam:
CFP® Certification Examination
November 17–21, 2015

Find An Education Program

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

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.