How to get your CFP®
To obtain your CFP® Designation, you must:
- successfully complete a Core Curriculum Course;
- pass the FPSC Level 1™ Examination;
- successfully complete a Capstone Course;
- have at least one year of work experience;
- pass the CFP® Examination; and
- complete the remainder of three years of work experience (the one year from step 4 can be included).
Core Curriculum Course
Before writing the FPSC Level 1™ Examination, you will have to successfully complete a Core Curriculum Course. There are a number of Core Curriculum Courses offered in a classroom setting or by distance learning. There is a list of approved Core Curriculum Courses.
Financial Planning Examination Level 1
The FPSC Level 1™ Examination consists of a single four-hour, competency-based exam paper with 93 multiple-choice questions: 73 stand-alone, technical questions and two case studies each with 10 multiple-choice questions. The Guide to Examinations for CFP® Certification describes the structure of the Examination.
The FPSC Level 1™ Examination Blueprint sets out the weightings for the financial planning functions of collection, analysis and synthesis; and the components of financial management, asset management, tax planning, etc.
Our study aids to prepare you for the FPSC Level 1™ Examination include Gobeil's Collection of 1,000 Questions™.
Capstone Course and Work Experience
Before writing CFP® Examination, you will have to successfully complete a Capstone Course, which involves the preparation of a plan using the six-step financial planning process. You do not have to pass the FPSC Level 1™ Examination before you take the Capstone Course. There are a number of Capstone Courses offered in a classroom setting or by distance learning. There is a list of approved Capstone Courses.
Before you can write the Financial Planning Examination Level 2, you must also have at least one year of work experience as a financial planner. You must complete a Capstone Course and your work experience within the four years prior to applying to write the CFP® Examination.
The CFP® Examination
The CFP® Examination consists of two, three-hour, competency-based exam papers that include about 26 multiple-choice questions and several case situations with constructed-response questions requiring written answers. You will take the exam at a computer centre, which suggests that your typing speed and accuracy will be a factor in your success.
The Guide to Examinations for CFP® Certification describes the structure of the CFP® Examination. Constructed-response questions are questions that require you to produce answers in your own words. These questions will range from short-answer questions to longer, extended-response questions. The constructed-response questions will involve client situations that require you to complete an analysis, outline a plan or write a letter to a client.
The CFP® Examination Blueprint says that 28% to 38% of the questions will be the dreaded synthesis questions: the development, evaluation and recommendation of strategies resulting from the assessment of information. The synthesis questions caused great anxiety because it is very difficult to select the best answer; having narrowed the answer to two choices and not being able to get any further.
The CFP® Examination will require you to have the same knowledge about financial planning as the FPSC Level 1™ Examination, but it will require additional knowledge about strategies.
While you will have successfully completed a Capstone Course before writing the CFP® Examination, the Capstone Courses require you to apply the six-step financial planning process, but do not have to include any preparation for constructed-response questions.
Our study aids to prepare you for the CFP® Examination include Gobeil's Strategic Financial Planning Study Aid™.
Before you can receive your CFP® designation, you must also have at least three years of work experience as a financial planner. The one year required to write the CFP® Examination can be used as part of the three year requirement.
At least one of the three years must be completed within four years of writing the CFP® Examination. All three years must be completed within eight years of obtaining CFP® certification.
For further information, you can refer to the Financial Planning Standards Council’s website for Path to CFP® Certification.
Certified Financial Planner® and CFP® are certification marks owned outside the U.S. by the Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. The Financial Planning Standards Council is the marks licensing authority for the CFP marks in Canada, through agreement with FPSB.