CFP® Certification (Certified Financial Planner™)


The CFP® certification is one of the top generalist marks financial planners can earn. This high-quality, rigorous program covers a broad base of financial planning subject areas and trains certificants in the discipline of financial planning.

Educational Requirements:

Applicants must complete an approved educational program consisting of either five or six college-level courses in such subject areas as insurance planning and risk management, the financial planning process, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning. Alternately, candidates may sit for the comprehensive exam if they have previously earned one of the following professional credentials or educational degrees: CPA, ChFC®, CLU®, CFA, Ph.D. in business or economics, DBA, or JD.


CFP® certification candidates must have attained a Bachelor’s Degree from a regionally accredited college or university and must have completed at least three years of full-time financial planning-related experience.


CFP® certificants are bound by CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct. The standards require that CFP® professionals provide financial planning services with a fiduciary standard of care, meaning they must act in the best interests of their clients.


CFP® candidates must pass all course exams required by approved educational providers and, upon completion of the educational requirements, must sit for the national CFP Board exam, which is administered in 10 hours over a two-day period, to earn certification.

Continuing Education:

30 hours of approved continuing education is required every two years.


CFP Board’s disciplinary process is public and can take three forms: public letters of admonition, temporary suspension of CFP® certification, or permanent revocation of CFP® certification. Disciplinary actions may be viewed online at:


The academic institutions providing the educational component of CFP® certification are all accredited. The certification itself is accredited through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

File a Complaint about a Designee:

Complaints against CFP® certificants may be filed with CFP Board online at:

Issuing Institution:

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., awards the CFP® certification. CFP Board’s mission is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP (with flame logo)® in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP® Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Note: The American College is providing this information as a public service. It is correct to the best of our knowledge, but we neither guarantee its accuracy nor endorse any credentials for which we are not responsible as a credentialing organization.

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