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The Paths to Experience

Experience Reporting Details

Learn about the process and details for reporting experience hours to fulfill the experience requirement for CFP® certification.

The experience requirement for CFP® certification has certain requirements candidates must meet to gain experience hours. Qualifying experience includes activities involving the delivery of financial planning services to individual clients.

Below is information on how to report your work experience, including helpful details, tips and definitions.


COMPLETING YOUR EXPERIENCE PROFILE

Experience can be reported to CFP Board at any time through the online Experience Reporting Profile available in your CFP Board account by clicking on the Experience section of the CFP® Certification Tracker.

Select “Add Experience” to enter information about your experience, and the system will ask you a series of simple questions to update your Experience Profile.

Access the Experience Profile in Your CFP Board Account

Tips and Details on Reporting

Current experience (with no end date) recorded in an individual’s Experience Profile can be refreshed at any time. The Refresh Hours function recalculates hours from the date entered to the current date.

Candidates will enter experience or refresh hours for a current position until the required number of hours have been met. It should be presumed that the entered experience is considered “Provisionally Accepted” unless otherwise noted. Some experience types will be automatically reviewed and/or verification requested.

Once the required number of hours have been met, the candidate will have the ability to Submit entered experience. Once submitted, each experience record entered will have an updated status of Accepted, Pending Verification, Provisionally Accepted and Under Internal Review.

  • Accepted: Once the CFP® exam has been successfully completed and the official exam results have been released, previously submitted experience will automatically change from Provisionally Accepted to Accepted, allowing the candidate to proceed to the next steps in the certification process.

    If the required number of hours have been met and experience is submitted after the official exam results have been released, experience entries will have a status of Accepted, allowing a candidate to proceed to the next steps in the certification process.
  • Pending Verification: Certain experiences, including indirect support, self-employment, pro-bono and volunteer experience, as well as Apprenticeship experience, automatically require verification before the experience can be Accepted or Provisionally Accepted. Other experience may be randomly selected for verification before the experience can be Accepted or Provisionally Accepted. See the Verification of Experience section below for more information.
  • Provisionally Accepted: (Applies only to Experience submitting BEFORE successful completion of the CFP® exam) When the required number of hours have been met, the candidate will Submit entered experience. Once submitted, experience is in a Provisionally Accepted status until successful completion of the CFP® exam and after official exam results are released. If start dates for reported position fall beyond the 10-year window between the time experience is submitted and the exam is successfully completed, the number of accepted hours will adjust accordingly. If a candidate no longer meets his/her experience pathway requirement because of this drop in eligible hours, a current position can be refreshed or a new position can be added.
  • Under Internal Review: Certain experience entries will trigger an automatic internal review. These reviews are typically completed within 3-5 business days, and once the review is complete, the candidate will be notified whether the experience has been Provisionally Accepted, if more information is required or if experience has been denied.

VERIFICATION OF EXPERIENCE

A status of "Pending Verification" indicates that CFP Board has sent a verification request to the Supervisor or Qualified Attester identified with that job experience, asking them to complete an attestation. This attestation includes verification of the position, start date, end date (if applicable), hours worked per week, and selected relevant primary elements if applicable to the job type,

Verification requests are automatically generated under these conditions:

All Apprenticeship hours reported are subject to verification. After the hours for the Apprenticeship Pathway have been reached and experience has been submitted by the candidate, CFP Board will send a verification request to the CFP® professional identified as the supervisor for the Apprenticeship experience,

All hours reported under these categories are subject to verification. Once these types of hours are saved in a candidate’s Experience Profile, CFP Board will send a verification request directly to the Supervisor or Qualified Attester identified for that job experience.

Details and Guidelines for Indirect Support

Once the hours for the Standard Pathway have been reached and experience has been submitted, CFP Board may randomly select your Experience profile for verification; if your profile is selected, CFP Board will send a verification request directly to the Supervisor identified for your most recent job experience.

Verifications will be handled in this manner:

  • Verification Approved: Experience Status will automatically change to Provisionally Accepted or Accepted (see definitions below).
  • Verification Not Received within 5 Business Days: CFP Board will reach out to the Supervisor or Qualified Attester directly with a follow-up request. After 10 business days, if the attestation has still not been received, the candidate will be notified with next steps. Next steps will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Verification Withheld: CFP Board anticipates there will be occasions when the Supervisor or Qualified Attester does not feel comfortable completing the attestation. An explanation for withholding the attestation is required. CFP Board will first reach out to the Supervisor or Qualified Attester upon receipt of the explanation and then immediately follow up with the candidate to discuss next steps. Next steps will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Credit will be granted only for experience completed within 10 years before and five years after successful completion of the CFP® exam.

Experience definitions for reference

The following definitions help answer some common questions about terminology and situations related to reporting experience.

Denotes an individual person who engages a practitioner and for whom professional financial services are rendered. Compensated and pro-bono experience is accepted as long as (1) there is a client, and (2) you are acting as a financial planning professional who is qualified to offer objective, integrated and comprehensive financial advice to, or for the benefit of, individuals to help them achieve their financial objectives using the financial planning process. Clients may not be immediate family members, as defined by FINRA Rule 3240.

Immediate family includes parents, grandparents, mother-in-law or father-in-law, husband or wife, brother or sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, son-in law or daughter-in-law, children, grandchildren, cousin, aunt or uncle, or niece or nephew, and any other person whom the registered person supports, directly or indirectly, to a material extent.

All levels of supervision are acceptable if the chain of supervision eventually leads back to the financial planner/professional.

  • Direct Reports: Responsibilities and activities that directly support the activities of one or more financial planners/professionals.
  • Indirect Support: Responsibilities and activities that demonstrate financial planning knowledge and competencies, and indirectly support the financial planning process which will ultimately benefit an individual client. Since Indirect Support experiences are unique to the candidate, CFP Board will review all Indirect Support entries and make an immediate determination if experience can be approved. Upon review, the candidate will be notified of the final determination. Approved experience is contingent on Supervisor Verification.

 

CFP Board defines Teaching as serving in the capacity as a full-time or adjunct faculty member responsible for the planning and delivery of financial planning related topics, at an accredited college or university, where instruction is equal to a minimum of 30 hours per quarter/semester.

To qualify for experience credit, a teacher must meet the following criteria:

  • Teach full-time as defined by the institution or a minimum of 30 instructional hours per quarter/semester.
  • Be the primary instructor of the course
  • Be responsible for creating course syllabus, content and assessments for the course
  • Confirm the focus of the course is consistent with CFP Board’s Principal Knowledge Topics

If the institution employing the teacher is not a CFP Board registered program, teaching experience is capped at 4,000 hours.

Financial planning-related internships are eligible for credit toward the 6,000 Hour Standard Pathway. Experience is calculated at an hour-to-hour match.

Completion of the Financial Planning Association’s Residency Program is eligible for credit toward the 6,000 Hour Standard Pathway. Experience is calculated at 500 hours.

Individuals who are self-employed and/or are reporting Pro Bono or Volunteer activity will require the verification of a Qualified Attester. 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 (from an accredited U.S. college or university)
  • Licensed attorney – (inactive license acceptable)
  • Licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) - (inactive license acceptable)