Certified Financial Planner (CFP): Path and Benefits


The world of finance is ever-evolving, and so is the need for expert financial planning. This is where Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) come into play. CFPs are professionals who have earned the certification by meeting strict requirements in education, experience, and ethics. In this article, we will discuss what a CFP is, the requirements to become one, and the benefits of pursuing this path.

What is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?

A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a professional who has been certified by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board). A CFP is equipped with the knowledge and expertise to provide clients with comprehensive financial planning advice. This includes investment planning, retirement planning, tax planning, estate planning, and more.

Requirements to become a CFP

To become a CFP, there are three main requirements that must be met.

Education requirements

CFP candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. The degree can be in any field, but the CFP Board requires specific coursework in financial planning. This coursework covers topics such as retirement planning, investment planning, tax planning, and more.

Experience requirements

CFP candidates must have at least three years of full-time experience in financial planning. This experience can be gained through working with clients, managing investments, or other related activities.

Exam requirements

CFP candidates must pass a comprehensive exam that covers all aspects of financial planning. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and case studies that test the candidate’s knowledge and ability to apply financial planning principles.

Benefits of becoming a CFP

Becoming a CFP has numerous benefits, both personally and professionally. Let’s discuss some of the most significant benefits.

Credibility and trust

By earning the CFP certification, you demonstrate your commitment to ethical and professional standards in financial planning. This certification gives clients confidence in your abilities and expertise, which can help build trust and credibility.

Enhanced career opportunities

Becoming a CFP opens up new career opportunities. You can work in a variety of settings, including banks, investment firms, insurance companies, or start your own financial planning practice. With the increasing demand for financial planning services, the career outlook for CFPs is excellent.

Increased earning potential

CFPs have the potential to earn higher salaries than non-certified financial planners. According to the CFP Board, the median salary for CFPs in 2021 was $122,000. This earning potential increases with experience and expertise.


Becoming a Certified Financial Planner is a significant accomplishment that can have a positive impact on your career and personal life. The rigorous requirements ensure that CFPs are highly qualified and knowledgeable in all aspects of financial planning. If you are interested in pursuing a career in financial planning, becoming a CFP is an excellent path to consider.


What is the difference between a CFP and a financial advisor?

A financial advisor is a broad term that encompasses many different types of professionals who offer financial advice. A CFP is a specific type of financial advisor who has earned a certification from the CFP Board.

How long does it take to become a CFP?

The time it takes to become a CFP depends on the individual’s pace and schedule. The education requirements typically take 18-24 months to complete, and the exam can be taken after the education and experience requirements have been met.

Can I become a CFP without a degree?

No, a bachelor’s degree is a requirement to become a CFP. However, the degree can be in any field, and the CFP Board requires specific coursework in financial planning.

What are the ethical standards that CFPs must adhere to?

CFPs must adhere to the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct. This code includes principles such as integrity, objectivity, professionalism, and confidentiality.

Do I need to renew my CFP certification?

Yes, CFPs must renew their certification every two years by completing continuing education requirements and adhering to the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct.