How do I become a Certified Financial Planner?
I would like to know if it is possible for a layperson like me, someone who is not employed as a financial analyst or planner, to become a certified financial planner (CFP). Additionally, if it is possible, I would like to know the timeline and list of tests or certifications I would need to complete to become a CFP. What are the benefits and risks associated with becoming a CFP?
In order to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, you must complete what the CFP Board calls the Four E's: education, examination, experience, and ethics.
The education component requires completing college-level CFP Board coursework, which covers the following Principle Knowledge Topic categories: Professional Conduct and Regulation, General Principles of Financial Planning, Education Planning, Risk Management and Insurance Planning, Investment Planning, Tax Planning, Retirement Savings and Income Planning, and Estate Planning. You must also have a bachelors degree or higher in order to obtain the designation, although this does not required to be able to take the exam. Once you have completed the coursework, you will be eligible to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination, which is a computer based exam consisting of two 3-hour sessions with a 40 minute break. Once you pass the exam, you must complete 6,000 hours of qualified experience in financial planning or 4,000 hours in a qualifying apprenticeship. After gaining your experience through either of these pathways, you become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®.
The pace at which you complete each requirement varies greatly by individual. You can absolutely begin the path of becoming a CFP® professional even if you do not have a background in financial planning, but you will need to gain the education and experience requirements in order to earn the designation. It sounds like this may require a career shift for you if you are serious about learning financial planning. Becoming a CFP® professional is a long journey, taking years of experience to become a solid financial planner, but it can be extremely rewarding for those that enjoy learning about the intricacies of financial planning and find purpose in helping others.
I don't know that I see any risks or downsides.
The requirements include education, experience, ethics, and passing the exam. The timeline is on you to pass the education requirements (which includes holding at least a bachelors degree in any field), but I would say a year to two would be normal depending on your time and ability to absorb the material. If you are not in the industry in any way it may be longer, but if you have more time, perhaps it is shorter.
Aside from the one exam, there are no real tests aside from those at the education providers.
Here is a link to the requirements: http://www.cfp.net/become-a-cfp-professional/cfp-certification-requirements
Congratulations on your plan to become a Certified Financial Planner. I, too, was a lay person before becoming a CFP. What's involved is a series of courses that you take over a period of a couple or three years. These courses can be done in person or online. Kaplan and The American College are two of the organizations that offer these programs. Thereafter, you would probably want to take an intensive review course with Ken Zahn or one of the other well-known providers. Then there's a 10-hour test of 285 questions that's taken over two days. FYI, the pass rate tends to hover around 60% and intensive preparation is needed to ensure your chances of success. You must also have a bachelor's degree.
The subject areas are: General Principles, Insurance Planning, Investment Planning, Income Tax Planning, Retirment Planning, Estate Planning, Interpersonal Communication, Professional Conduct and Fiduciary Responsibility, and Financial Plan Development.
You can find more information at the CFP Board website: http://www.cfp.net/become-a-cfp-professional/cfp-certification-requirements/education-requirement.
Yes, of course you can! You can learn more about how to become a CFP pro here-
I am currently a CFP spokeswoman to help more women and minorities become financial planners and to bring a lot of awareness to the career as a financial planner.
Hope this helps! Routing for you!
It's definitely possible. However, it will take time and money. It's all laid out for you here: http://www.cfp.net/become-a-cfp-professional/cfp-certification-requirements
Good luck with your decision!