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CFP® Exam Details

An individual is required to meet certain requirements, put forth by CFP Board, in order to qualify for certification. CFP Board refers to the requirements as the 4 E's to CFP® certification. View these qualifications and other exam details below.

Education

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 education:

1. Complete a CFP Board-registered Education Program

Academic programs include for-credit and non-credit certificate programs, as well as undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Learn more about Kaplan's education program offerings here.

2. Apply for Challenge Status

Previous education and licenses may fulfill CFP Board education requirements 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, 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.

Exam

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 register for an exam slot.

 

Experience

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.

Ethics

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 completed 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.