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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. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CFP Board has postponed the July 2020 CFP® exam administration to September 22-29, 2020. (See more details and FAQs.)

Upcoming Exam
Exam window: Sept. 22-29, 2020
Registration deadline: Sept. 8, 2020
Education verification deadline: Aug. 25, 2020

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.

Note: Testing on key elements of the 2019 SECURE Act will be included in the September 2020 exam.

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


New registration for the September 2020 exam opens on June 8 (i.e. CFP Board is focused on first rescheduling those originally registered for the July exam). Early bird pricing will be until July 28.   

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
Sept. 22-29, 2020

Registration Dates:
June 8, 2020 - Sept. 8, 2020

Education Verification Deadline:
Aug. 25, 2020

Registration Not Yet Available
november 3-10, 2020

Registration Opens:
July 29, 2020

March 9-16, 2021 

Registration Opens:
Nov. 12, 2020


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