How Do You Become a Certified Financial Planner?

If you’re interested in helping other people manage their money wisely, a career as a certified financial planner could be right for you. Are you wondering how to go about obtaining the necessary credentials to pursue this career path? Read on to get informed about how to become a CFP by meeting all the necessary requirements.

Academic Requirements for Becoming a Certified Financial Planner

The CFP Board requires certified financial planners to earn a bachelor’s degree within five years of passing their certification exams. Certification candidates are encouraged to complete an 18 credit hour CFP board registered program in financial planning.

You can meet your requirements for academic credentials in a couple of other ways. If you hold an advanced graduate degree or professional credentials in certain specializations, the board may grant you challenge status, which would exempt you from having to fulfill most of the board’s academic requirements. A couple of examples: If you are a licensed attorney or you hold a Ph.D. degree in economics, you may qualify for challenge status. You will still need to successfully complete the CFP Board’s capstone course to be eligible for certification.

There is also a transcript review process. If you’ve already completed some of the required coursework, you can request a transcript review to avoid having to re-take a class you already did well in.

The CFP Board administers a rigorous CFP exam. Passing this exam is an essential step in the certification process.

Experience Requirements for Becoming a CFP

Before the CFP board will grant your certification, they want proof that you are able to provide financial planning services to clients without any supervision. To give them this proof, they require you to complete 4,000- 6,000 hours worth of experience working directly with non-corporate clients in a financial advisory capacity.

Ethical Requirements for Becoming a Certified Financial Planner

The CFP Board will conduct an extensive background check before granting certification to you. Before they put their stamp of approval on you, the CFP Board wants verification that you can be trusted to deal ethically with your clients’ finances. You’re required to agree to the board’s ethical standards.

Registrations and Professional Licenses

CFP Board certification is only one aspect of the requirements for becoming a financial planner. It’s also necessary for you to follow all relevant federal and state laws regarding registrations and professional licensure. The nature of these requirements varies depending on the financial products that you plan to offer your clients for sale. You’ll want to consult the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority website and the North American Securities Administrators Association website to understand more about the current legalities.

These are the requirements for becoming a CFP. Experts at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics point out that getting your certification as a financial planner through the CFP Board can improve your chances for career advancement in this lucrative financial specialization. The third-party verification is helpful to many financial advisors in earning the trust of their clients, and they agree that it is definitely worthwhile to acquire the certification credential. Now that you’re empowered with a better understanding of how to become a certified financial planner, we hope you’re better prepared to decide if you want to invest your time and resources in meeting the requirements necessary to become a CFP.