CFP Board Requirements

CFP Board Requirements:

Below is the basic overview of your journey to become CFP Certified.

Before applying for the CFP Certification Examination, you need to complete the education requirements set by CFP Board.  

Education Requirement

Bachelor's Degree Requirement: A bachelor's degree (or higher), or its equivalent, in any discipline, from an accredited college or university is required to attain CFP certification. The bachelor's degree requirement is a condition of initial certification; it is not a requirement to be eligible to take the CFP Certification Examination. After you pass the CFP Certification Examination, you will be required to provide evidence (official transcript from the degree-granting institution) that you hold a qualified bachelor's degree or higher degree. You can fulfill the education requirement through one of three paths:

Complete a CFP Board-Registered Education Program.  There are more than 300 academic programs at colleges and universities across the country from which to choose. These programs include credit and non-credit certificate programs, undergraduate and graduate degree programs.  They use various delivery formats and schedules, including classroom instruction, self-study and online delivery.  Many of CFP Board's Registered Programs also offer in-house educational programs for individual companies.

Apply for Challenge Status.  Certain degrees and professional credentials fulfill the educational requirement and allow you to sit for theCFP Certification Examination.Academic degrees and credentials that fulfill the educational requirements 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)

Ph.D. in business or economics

Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) Request a Transcript Review

Certain industry credentials recognized by CFP Board, or the successful completion of upper-division level college courses, may satisfy some or all of the education requirements set by CFP Board.

Exam Qualifications

The CFP Certification Examination tests your ability to apply your financial planning knowledge to client situations. The 10-hour exam is divided into three separate sessions. Because of the integrated nature of financial planning, however, each session may cover all topic areas. All questions are multiple choice, including those questions related to case problems.  The exam is administered three times a year - generally on the third Friday and Saturday of March, July and November - at about 50 domestic locations. The application deadline is approximately seven weeks prior to each exam date (e.g., February 1, June 1 and October 1). To apply to take the exam, complete the online application, download an application or call 800-487-1497 to have one mailed to you. Completed applications, including payment of the $595 fee, must be received by the deadlines printed on the applications - there are no exceptions.  CFP Board maintains a list of review courses, offered by independent firms, designed to assist individuals in preparing for the CFP Certification Examination. Access a current list of review course providers. CFP Board neither evaluates the quality of the review courses nor endorses any program.

 Work Experience

At least three years of qualifying full-time work experience are required for certification. Qualifying experience includes work that can be categorized into one of the six primary elements of the personal financial planning process. Experience can be gained in a number of ways including:

The delivery of all, or of any portion, of the personal financial planning process to a client.

The direct support or supervision of individuals who deliver all, or any portion, of the personal financial planning process to a client.

Teaching all, or any portion, of the personal financial planning process.


Applicants for CFP certification must pass CFP Board Candidate Fitness Standards, which describe conduct that will or may bar an individual from being certified. After you have met the education, examination and work experience requirements, you must disclose past or pending litigation or agency proceedings and agree to abide by CFP Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards. A background check will also be conducted.Upon successfully completing the first three steps, fees will apply as follows:

A one-time, non-refundable initial certification application fee of $100 for the background checks as noted above.

A biennial certification fee of $360.

UD does not certify individuals to use the CFP or Certified Financial Planner marks. CFP certification is granted solely by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. to individuals who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met ethics, experience and examination requirements.

If you would like to speak to a program advisor, please contact Jennifer Howard by e-mail or call (972) 721-5299.  For additional information regarding the actual exam go to


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