Individuals with the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation enjoy an above-average salary range as well as promising current and future job availability. The salary range for a certified financial planner should be viewed in a broad context including experience, length of time in the field, and geographic location. As with many professions, the average income varies. This overview article offers current national and regional average salaries for a certified financial planner.
Requirements for CFP Designation
To put the salary data into context, it's helpful to explore the minimum credentials for this profession. The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is achieved through an individual's education, work experience, and examination scores. This designation is governed by the CFP Board. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree, specialized financial planning coursework, and three years of experience are prerequisites to becoming a CFP. After meeting the minimum criteria, the CFP candidate must take The CFP Certificate Examination, which measures the applicant’s proficiency in financial planning scenarios and professional ethics.
As with most occupations, the salary for individuals with CFP certification tends to increase in larger cities with higher costs of living. According to Indeed.com, a comprehensive job posting service, the average CFP salary in the United States is $66,125 as of November 2, 2018. That figure ranges from an average low of $50,900 per year in California to an average high of $101,250 in Massachusetts.
Experience Affect CFP Salary
The national salaries of CFPs are largely impacted by an individual's level of experience. According to Payscale.com, a crowd-sourced salary information provider, an entry-level CFP with up to five years of experience averages approximately $66,909 per year. At the other end of the spectrum, the late-career certified financial planner with more than 20 years of experience garners an average income of $100,716. (The sample size of this data set is in the 200-300 range for each cohort group.)
The CFP is one of the fastest-growing and highly compensated fields, with employment opportunities expected to grow by 15% over the next 10 years. The primary driver of growth for CFP employment is the aging population. Large numbers of baby boomers are expected to approach retirement in the next decade, which will likely create a need for additional planning advice from financial advisors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that during the 2016 to 2026 time period, the field can expect to see 40,400 new workers.
The Bottom Line
When combining above-average salaries with high levels of job satisfaction and growing job availability, the certified financial planner is a standout career path for the financially-minded individual. The CFP Board website provides in-depth coverage of the certified financial planner designation and instructions regarding entry into the profession.