CFP® Certification Myths Busted

By: Kaplan Financial Education
March 29, 2019
Road sign that reads Facts vs. Myths representing myths about CFP certification

Financial professionals already know the benefits of earning the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ mark. Increased earnings, higher client satisfaction, additional referrals, and more desirable clients are just some of the ways CFP® certification can enhance your career.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths out there about what needs to be done to get your CFP® mark and sometimes these misconceptions prevent financial professionals from starting the certification process. This article busts some common myths about CFP® certification so you have all the facts before deciding whether or not to become a CFP® professional.

Myth #1: You must complete a bachelor’s degree before you can enroll in CFP® certification.

You actually have five years after passing the CFP® exam to get your bachelor’s degree. You only need to have completed the required education coursework through a program registered with CFP Board, which addresses major personal financial planning areas identified by CFP Board’s most recent job analysis.

Myth #2: You must get an advanced degree in financial planning to become a CFP® professional.

This is also not true! You just need to complete the required education to sit for the CFP® exam and hold a qualified bachelor’s degree (or higher) within five years of passing the CFP® certification exam. 

Myth #3: I don’t have any relevant experience, so I can’t take the CFP® exam.

Professional experience (6,000 hours) in relevant personal financial planning activities, or apprenticeship experience (4,000 hours) is required to satisfy the experience requirement of CFP® certification. This can all take place after you pass the CFP® exam though. Once you pass the exam, you have five years to fulfill this requirement. You CAN submit completed professional experience to CFP Board for review prior to passing the CFP® exam, but it is certainly not required.

Is CFP® certification right for you? Get a preview of our required education materials in this free download.

Myth #4: If I change jobs, I will lose my CFP® mark.

Once you pass the CFP® certification exam, the designation belongs to you as an individual. You can remain a CFP® professional if you switch employers as long as you complete your continuing education and certification application every two years and pay your annual certification fee of $325. 

Myth #5: My business will suffer while I am completing the required education for the CFP® exam.

While it will be a busy time, you can immediately incorporate your education into your daily practice. Seventy-five percent of CFP® professionals say that their CFP® mark education directly contributes to their success. 1  There are also programs where you can study for the CFP® exam at your own pace.  At Kaplan, you can choose the EssentialPlus or Essential Package, which both allow you to set your own study calendar. Eight-four percent of students who start our CFP® certification programs finish!


Free eBook: Is CFP® Certification Right for You?

Are you considering CFP® certification, but are unsure if you can handle it? Get a sneak peak at the beginning of the College for Financial Planning®a Kaplan Company education program to get a feel for whether CFP® certification is the right fit for you. This free eBook will provide you with information about the financial planning process learned in FP 511: General Financial Planning Principles, Professional Conduct, and Regulation. It also includes several analytical problems that will allow you to apply your knowledge to real-life scenarios.