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Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education

How to Become a CFP® Professional

How to Become a CFP® Professional

CFP® Certification Requirements

4 Steps to Becoming a CFP® Professional

An individual is required to meet certain requirements, put forth by CFP Board, in order to qualify for certification. You must complete the below 4 steps to become a CFP® professional:  

► Complete your Required Education with Kaplan Financial

► Register and sit for the CFP® Exam

► Gain experience in the financial industry

► Adhere to CFP Board's ethical standards

CFP Board refers to these requirements as the 4 Es to CFP® Certification. Click below to learn more about each step - you may already hold some of the qualifications. 

Each candidate must meet the knowledge criteria set forth by CFP Board prior to sitting for the exam. There are three ways candidates can fulfill the required comprehension of the nearly 100 integrated financial planning topics:

1. Complete a CFP Board-registered Education Program

Academic programs include credit and non-credit certificate programs as well as undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Learn more about Kaplan’s CFP® certification education program.


2. Apply for Challenge Status

Previous education and licenses may fulfill CFP Board education requirement and allow you to apply for the exam with Challenge Status. Academic degrees and credentials that fulfill the education requirement* include:

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – inactive license acceptable
  • Licensed attorney – inactive license acceptable
  • Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®)
  • Doctor of Business Administration
  • Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®)
  • PhD in business or economics
  • Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®)

​*This does not include the Financial Plan Development Course (FP 107) requirement, which challenge candidates must fulfill.

3. Request a Transcript Review

Successful completion of upper-division level college courses or certain industry credentials recognized by CFP Board may satisfy some or all of the education requirements.

Bachelor’s Degree Requirement

Candidates must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university within five years after passing the exam to receive CFP® certification. Attaining a bachelor’s degree is not a requirement to be eligible to take the CFP® exam and does not have to occur before sitting for the exam or fulfilling the work experience.

The CFP® exam is a computer-based testing format consisting of 170 multiple-choice questions that tests your ability to apply your financial planning knowledge to client situations. It will be presented in two 3-hour sessions separated by a 30-minute scheduled break. It is offered three times a year in March, July, and November at almost 50 locations nationwide. Click here to view an up-to-date list.

Exam Dates Application Deadline
November 17 - 21, 2015 November 3, 2015
March 15 - 19, 2016 March 1, 2015
July 26 - July 30, 2016 July 12, 2015
November 15 - 19, 2016 November 1, 2016

Three years of full-time relevant personal financial planning experience or two years of Apprenticeship experience that meets additional requirements is required to receive certification. This experience must be completed in ten years preceding the exam and within five years after the exam in order to receive CFP® certification.

Applicants for CFP® certification must pass CFP Board’s Candidate Fitness Standards, which outlines conduct that prohibits an individual from being certified. A background check is also conducted. For more information, click here.

CFP® Certification Renewal Requirements

Once certified, CFP® professionals must complete three renewal requirements every two years:

  • Submit a properly completeed certification application
  • Pay a non-refundable $325 certification fee
  • Complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education (CE).

The CE requirement must include 2 hours of CFP Board approved ethics CE. 

Start Today! Select your CFP® certification option below.