Financial Planning Certification Classes
Whether you work for a company or operate as an independent, obtaining Certified Financial Planner status demonstrates your expertise and may enhance your career prospects. You may fulfill the educational requirement for obtaining Certified Financial Planner status through certificate and degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Read about on-campus and distance-education options for preparing for financial planner certification.
What You Need to Know
Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) work in finance, risk management, and estate planning. People interested in earning a certificate must have an undergraduate degree and three years of work experience. Classes are centered on investing, taxation, financial analysis, and retirement planning. Online options are available for distance learners.
|Certification||Bachelor's degree and three years of work experience required for the CFP exam|
|Classes||Risk management, investing, taxation, financial analysis, retirement planning|
|Online||Graduate and undergraduate programs are available online|
How Can I Become Certified in Financial Planning?
Financial planning certification is offered through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and results in the title of Certified Financial Planner (CFP). To become certified you must hold at least a bachelor's degree, and although a specific major is not required, you must show competency in areas like financial management, estate planning, and risk management. For this reason, an undergraduate degree in business or finance may be the most beneficial to you. You may choose to enroll in a program registered with the CFP Board, which would guarantee that you meet the requirements for certification. You must also have at least three years of work experience before you are eligible to sit for the examination.
What Other Programs Should I Consider?
If you already hold a bachelor's degree but have not completed the required coursework, you may consider enrolling in a post-baccalaureate certificate program designed to prepare you for CFP certification. You may also consider a master's degree in finance or one that offers a concentration option in financial planning, which can prepare you for certification.
What Classes Will I Take?
Bachelor's degree programs in finance are commonly offered through broader business programs, while finance programs at this level can include their own specific curricula. Programs designed to meet CFP certification requirements will commonly focus on subjects like risk management, employee benefits, and retirement planning. You might be covering some of the following topics in the following list:
- Operations management
- Financial management
- Cost accounting
- Financial planning
- Banking and financial analysis
- Estate planning
In addition, beginning in 2012, the CFP Board of Standards will require programs to include a capstone course in financial plan development. Depending on your program and your personal circumstances, you may complete the educational requirement for certification in less than a year, although academic degree programs often require several years to complete.
What Are My Online Options?
At the undergraduate level, you can commonly find business bachelor's degree completion programs online. Through online quizzes, assignments, and lectures, these programs could help you increase the flexibility of your academic schedule. Post-baccalaureate certificate and master's degree programs may be available entirely online to help you further your education without interrupting full-time employment.