Final Steps to CFP Certification

Become a CFP® Professional


Final Steps

CFP® Certification Application

When you have completed the education, examination, bachelor’s degree and experience requirements, you may complete the remaining certification requirements online at This includes:

  • A CFP® Certification Application,
  • A non-refundable application fee, and
  • A non-refundable certification fee for your initial certification period.

These requirements must be completed within six months of fulfilling the experience requirement. The fees must be paid and the application completed and reviewed by CFP Board before any certification can be issued. By signing the CFP® Certification Application, you agree to be bound by CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct.

Background Check

CFP Board conducts a detailed background review for all candidates, including review of any disclosures made on the CFP® Certification Application, as described in the Ethics section.

Please be aware that your certification may be delayed pending CFP Board’s review of any matters you disclose on your CFP® Certification Application, or of matters CFP Board discovers during your background check. If the matters involve serious misconduct, including, but not limited to the matters presumed to bar certification outlined in the Fitness Standards, CFP Board reserves the right to permanently deny you the right to obtain the CFP® certification. All such ethics reviews will be conducted in accordance with CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.

Authorization to Use the CFP® Marks

The marks, CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with gold plaque design) & CFP® (with flame design) are owned by CFP Board in the U.S. and are protected by trademark law. Only those individuals who have fully satisfied CFP Board’s requirements are authorized to use the CFP® certification marks. CFP Board carefully monitors usage of the marks to ensure their integrity, and unauthorized use of the marks is viewed as a serious matter. For example, it is incorrect to use the term “CFP® candidate.” Up until the point of achieving CFP® certification, individuals who have applied for the CFP® Certification examination can say they are “working towards obtaining CFP® certification.” Remember, if you use the CFP® marks prematurely, or  in some other prohibited manner, you could jeopardize your ultimate right to use them.

Initial Certification Period and Continuing Education (CE) Reporting

An initial certification cycle will be defined for each individual after completing the education, examination, bachelor’s degree and experience requirements. CFP Board establishes this initial certification cycle using the date of initial CFP® certification to the end of your birth month in an odd or even year, based on your birth date. The initial certification fee and the amount of CE credits due at the end of your initial cycle will be prorated.

A non-refundable application fee of $125 and this initial certification fee (prorated amount of the standard $355 annual certification fee) can be paid when you complete the CFP® Certification Application. After this prorated cycle is completed, you will begin paying the $355 certification fee on an annual basis and reporting CE on a two-year cycle.

Exam Dates


CFP® Certification Examination
March 10-17, 2020

Most Recent Exam:

CFP® Certification Examination
November 5-12, 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.