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The Certification Process

The CFP® Exam Requirement

Candidates for CFP® certification must pass the CFP® exam, which tests your ability to apply financial planning knowledge to real-life situations. This comprehensive exam ensures that you are highly qualified to develop a holistic plan for your clients' finances.

Notice: The health and safety of those taking the CFP® exam continue to be paramount to us during the COVID-19 pandemic. To accommodate candidates, CFP Board will allow a remote testing option for the March 2021 CFP® exam. (See more details and FAQs about remote testing.)

Upcoming Exam
Exam window: Mar. 9-16, 2021
Registration deadline: Feb. 23, 2021
Education verification deadline: Feb. 9, 2021

About the Exam 

The CFP® exam is offered three times per year: March, July and November. Test topics include the financial planning process and principles, tax planning, income and retirement planning, estate planning, risk management and insurance, among other important topics. All facets of the exam are guided by CFP® professionals, including determination of content coverage, scoring and passing criteria.

Learn more about the exam
Video: Understanding the CFP® Exam Experience


Registration for the March 2021 exam is closed. Registration for the July 2021 exam opens on March 18.   

Note: You can register for the CFP® exam prior to completing the education coursework requirement. CFP Board must receive verification of your coursework completion by the Education Verification Deadline to be eligible to sit for the exam.

Learn More about Registration
March 9-16, 2021

Registration Dates:
Nov. 12, 2020 - Feb. 23, 2021

Education Verification Deadline:
Feb. 9, 2021

Registration is Closed
July 6-13, 2021

Registration Opens:
Mar. 18, 2021

nov. 2-9, 2021 

Registration Opens:
July 15, 2021


There are many resources and strategies to prepare. Many candidates prepare using the full-length, 170-question practice exam, which is composed of authentic CFP® exam questions. Be sure to use this unique study tool as you prepare for the CFP® exam, as well as consider additional ways to prepare.

Exam Preparation
Complete a practice exam

The CFP Board Practice Exam features real questions that have appeared on past CFP® exams.

Start your journey to CFP® Certification

  • Track your progress with the CFP® Certification Tracker
  • Post your resume at the Career Center
  • Connect with a mentor who can guide you
  • Register and prepare for the exam
  • Find career and financial support
  • Connect with other candidates at our online forum