Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

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

Experience can be entered at any time through your Experience Reporting Profile available in your online CFP Board account by clicking on the Experience section of the CFP® Certification Tracker.  You can continue adding experience until you have reached the required number of hours to satisfy the Standard or Apprenticeship pathway.

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

Hours are calculated at a one-to-one ratio based on the qualifying number of hours worked per week. 

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

No. Concurrent part- and full-time financial planning employment will not accelerate completion of the requirement, as credit is not granted in excess of 40 hours per week.  An exception to this is the completion of the FPA Residency Program, which upon verification, will add 500 hours to your experience total. 

4. If I work more than 40 hours per week, can I accelerate the completion of the Experience requirement?

No. Additional credit for full-time employment will not be granted for hours in excess of 40 hours per week. An exception to this is the completion of the FPA Residency Program, which upon verification, will add 500 hours to your experience total. 

5. How is a portion of a job credited towards the Experience 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® Exam?

Yes. Candidates can sit for the CFP® exam before meeting the experience requirement. Candidates have up to five years after successful completion of the exam to complete the Experience requirement.

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. Candidates 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.  Does international experience qualify for the Experience requirement?

Yes. As long as the Experience Standards are met, international experience can qualify. 

9. Does working with corporate clients count toward my Experience requirement?

No.  Work with corporate clients is not qualifying experience. CFP Board defines a "client" as an individual or person who engages a practitioner and for whom professional financial services are rendered.

10. Does working with family members count toward my Experience requirement?

No. Clients may not be immediate family members, as defined by FINRA Rule 3240.

11. If I am self-employed or provide personal financial planning advice pro-bono to clients who are not immediate family members, can this experience be applied toward the Experience requirement?

Yes.  As long as Experience Standards are met, this experience can qualify. The name and contact information of a “Qualified Attester” will be added to your experience submission in lieu of a supervisor. To be a “Qualified Attester” the individual must hold one of the following certifications or licenses:

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

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

12.  What types of activities are typically classified as Indirect Support?

Activities and responsibilities reflecting personal financial planning knowledge and competencies that indirectly support the financial planner and/or the financial planning process may count as experience credit for “Indirect Support.”  Indirect Supportincludes those positions that are firmly rooted in the financial planning process.

13.  What if I don’t meet the Experience requirement within five years of successfully completing the CFP® exam?

If you do not complete the experience and/or bachelor’s degree certification requirements within five years of passing the exam, you will be required to retake the current CFP® exam to continue your candidacy for certification. However, you can request a one-time, three-year extension, granted on a case-by-case basis, by emailing the Experience department at experience@cfpboard.org.

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Exam Dates

Upcoming:

CFP® Certification Examination

Mar. 14–17, 2017
(Registration Deadline: Feb. 28, 2017)

Most Recent Exam:
CFP® Certification Examination
Nov. 15–19, 2016

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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.

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Professionals who have already earned their CFP® certification have enjoyed an average income increase of 30%.

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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.