How to Become a Certified Financial Planner in  | Full Step Guide

If you want to be a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), it’s an intense process. You’ll need at least three years of experience working in finance-related fields and passing a certification exam, among other things. But once you’ve completed all that and become certified, your career options are endless!

In this article, we will show you how to become a financial planner. Here’s what you’ll need to do. Let’s go!

Who is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?

A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a financial expert who has passed an extensive board-certified exam and has the knowledge to provide sound financial advice. Becoming a CFP requires meeting certain requirements, including education, experience, and ethics.

A CFP works with individuals to help them make informed decisions about their financial future. They can show clients how to save for retirement, reduce taxes, prepare for college tuition costs, create a budget, and more. With CFPs as advisors, individuals can access comprehensive guidance on their finances.

To become a CFP, you must complete an approved course of study in financial planning plus pass the comprehensive Board Exam administered by The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board).

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What are Education Requirements for being a Certified Financial Planner?

Are you considering a career as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)? Before beginning, it’s important to understand what education requirements you need to meet for this profession.

To become a CFP, one must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. The degree may be in any field but must focus on financial planning topics such as finance, accounting, or economics.

Furthermore, individuals seeking certification must complete the CFP Board’s Education Program and take the CFP exam. This program consists of at least 30 hours of coursework with specific classes on insurance planning and risk management, retirement planning and employee benefits, estate planning, and taxation concepts.

After completing both the program and exam requirements, applicants are eligible to apply for their certification, which is valid for two years before renewal is required.

The CFP Board also requires applicants to complete at least three years of full-time experience in the field before taking the certification examination.

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How much does it cost to become a certified financial planner?

The cost of becoming a certified financial planner lies in a number of factors, such as the type of certification program chosen, the study materials purchased, and the fees associated with taking the certification exam.

Generally speaking, however, applicants should expect to pay anywhere from $1,000-$2,500 in total for everything related to earning their CFP designation.

This includes registration fees for the certification program itself and course materials (such as textbooks or online lessons) that must be completed prior to sitting for the exam.

Step-by-Step Guide to How to Become a Financial Planner

Here is a proven step-by-step guide on how to become a financial planner. Take time to read through.

You need a bachelor’s degree.

To begin your journey as a certified financial planner, you need a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or another related field. If your undergraduate education doesn’t include any of these subjects, consider getting a master’s degree (or at least taking classes).

The CFP certification is optional for entry-level jobs as an investment advisor or wealth manager; however, it can be helpful if you want to move up professionally and earn more money.

The CFA certification is similar but focuses more on financial analysis rather than software skills like those needed for job interviews with banks and other companies that offer financial products such as insurance policies or mutual funds.

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To really become a certified financial planner, you need to have a minimum of three years of professional experience working in a finance-related field. You can work at any of the following:

  • A CFP or CFA firm
  • A bank or insurance company
  • A financial advisor

You need to pass a certification exam.

You’ll need to pass a certification exam. The two parts of this test are a multiple-choice exam and a case study.

Nature of the exam:

The first part is the most important, as it tests your ability to apply knowledge of financial planning principles in real-world situations.

It covers topics such as retirement planning, estate planning and investments, tax strategies, insurance policies and procedures, business decisions such as starting a business or purchasing an existing one, and personal finances like managing debt or saving money for college tuition.

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This part has 100 questions in total (40 multiple-choice questions plus 50 case studies). You must answer at least 70% correct on each question, for they all count towards your score (the rest is based on your time spent answering).

The second part focuses on making sure you understand how different types of investments work together so that you can choose wisely when planning for future needs or goals within your financial plan.

You need to complete continuing education every two years.

After you complete the CFP certification exam, you must take 30 hours of continuing education every two years. The CFP Board’s directory of courses can help you find a course that meets these requirements and is convenient for you to attend.

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Important Things to Remember Before Becoming A CFP

Becoming a CFP is an intense process, but it can lead to a rewarding career helping others manage their money.

The designation of Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is held by those who have passed a rigorous exam offered by the Society of Financial Professionals, which tests knowledge and skills in financial planning and investment management.

The exam covers topics such as asset allocation, tax management, retirement planning, and estate planning.

In addition to passing the CFP exam, you must also hold an active license from either the state where you work or another state where your firm does business. This allows you to legally practice as a financial planner in that state or territory.

It does not confer any additional rights on its holder beyond those afforded by having been licensed as such anywhere else throughout its history.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the professional experience needed to become a certified financial planner?

Becoming a certified financial planner requires significant professional experience. Generally, you need at least three years of full-time experience in the financial planning field. This could include working as a financial analyst, investment advisor, or accountant.
Additionally, it’s important to become familiar with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and its code of ethics.

What are the merits of becoming a certified financial planner?

Becoming a certified financial planner can open up a wide range of opportunities in the finance industry.
You’ll gain access to advanced knowledge and skills that will help you provide better advice and service to clients.
You’ll also be eligible for higher salaries and more career advancement opportunities.
Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve achieved a professional designation that is widely respected in the industry.

How long does it really take to complete the certification process?

It depends on the type of certification you’re pursuing. Generally, it can take anywhere from just a couple of weeks to several months. It’s important to be patient and diligent in your studies so that you can make the most of the process. Good luck!


Becoming a CFP is an exciting and challenging career path. You need to be passionate about financial planning, have the discipline to complete a rigorous certification process, and have great interpersonal skills as you work with clients every day.

If you’re ready for the challenge of becoming a certified financial planner, use our guide to begin your journey from novice to expert.


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