Capstone Alternative Program

Become a CFP® Professional


Capstone Alternative Program

The Capstone Alternative Program provides candidates who are eligible for "accelerated path" and who also meet CFP Board's Experience requirement, an opportunity to alternately satisfy the Capstone segment of the Education requirement.

The Education requirement for CFP® Certification includes completion of a 45-hour financial planning ("capstone") course registered with CFP Board. In the Capstone Alternative Program, however, there are no required contact hours - students move directly to the final project which is to develop a Financial Plan. 

When the final project has been successfully completed, the candidate will have met that portion of the Education Requirement.


Candidates will be required to demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of topic areas.  Those who will be successful in the Capstone Alternative Program have extensive experience in developing comprehensive financial plans independent of financial planning software packages and are familiar with the following:

  • Education Planning
  • Estate Planning
  • Investment Planning
  • Retirement Savings and Income Planning
  • Risk Management and Insurance Planning
  • Tax Planning

To be eligible for enrollment in a Capstone Alternative Program, candidates must complete the following steps in this order:

  1. Meet CFP Board’s Education Coursework requirement through the Accelerated Path option.
  2. Meet CFP Board Experience requirement.
  3. Submit an Eligibility Request form.
  4. Register in one of the Capstone Alternative Program options.

Verifying Accelerated Path

CFP Board has approved specific academic degrees and professional credentials as fulfilling the accelerated path requirement.  A list of those credentials and the required supporting documentation may be found here.

Reporting Experience

The candidate must fullfill the Standard Pathway (6,000 hour) or Apprentice Pathway (4,000 hour) experience requirement.  Follow these steps to report experience:

  1. Log into your CFP Board account
  2. Click on the Experience section of the CFP® Certification Tracker
  3. Select Add Experience to enter your work experience;  enter experience until the hours for the appropriate pathway have been met
  4. Submit experience as prompted; each entry will have a status of Pending Verification or Provisionally Accepted

Eligibility Request

After you have received verification that your Experience requirement has been met, complete the Alternative Capstone Eligibility Request Form.  Complete the form and submit with attachments as instructed.  Requests received without appropriate accelerated path documentation will not be reviewed.

CFP Board will respond to complete requests within 7-10 business days taking one of two actions:

  • Issue a Certificate of Eligibility.  This certificate will allow you to enroll in a Capstone Alternative Program offered by one of CFP Board Registered Programs. 
    • You must register for the course by the expiration date on the certificate – typically 90 days from the date of issue. 
  • Denial of Eligibility Request

Capstone Alternative Program Retake Policy

If you do not successfully complete the Capstone Alternative Program, the certificate will not be reissued.  Candidates will be required to enroll in the standard capstone course through a CFP Board-Registered Program.

Course Registration

The Registered Programs offering the Capstone Alternative Program are identified below.  Review the program details and make your selection.  You must initiate the enrollment process by the expiration date stated on the Certificate of Eligibility. 

The Certificate of Eligibility will not be reissued:

  • if you do not enroll by the stated date;
  • if you do not successfully complete the Capstone Alternative Program. You will be required to enroll in the standard capstone course through an approved CFP Board Registered Program.

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