You have a unique set of needs regarding your financial situation. How do you know who is the right person to work with in solving those needs? Who can be trusted? Who has the knowledge base and experience to competently lead you on the path to financial independence?

To help answer these questions, the CFP® Board of Standards created the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation to assist consumers in assessing any financial advisor they may be considering. Advisors designated as a CFP® have voluntarily submitted themselves to a rigorous education and certification process and made a commitment to serving their clients with a steadfast commitment to ethical standards and professional conduct.

No two advisors are exactly the same. However, when you work with a CFP® professional, you can count on that individual to act with integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism, and diligence, which collectively make up the CFP® Board Code of Ethics & Professional Responsibility. Being placed in a position of trust by their clients, CFP® practitioners must demonstrate these qualities in order to build confidence and trust when dealing with such an important element of people’s lives, their financial well-being.

What does it take to earn the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation?

Prior to be being able to use the CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ marks, individuals must prove their competence and commitment to ethical behavior through what are known as the 4 E’s.


Attain practical industry knowledge through the completion of college-level curriculum covering the areas of general principles of financial planning, insurance planning & risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning. Complete ongoing continuing education to stay abreast of developments in the financial planning profession and to better serve clients, all as part of the recertification process every two years.


Prove comprehension and application of financial planning knowledge in an integrated format by passing a comprehensive two-day, 10-hour CFP® Certification Examination.


Attain a minimum of three years’ experience directly applying the financial planning process prior to earning the right to use the CFP® marks, allowing the certificant time to apply their knowledge in a real world setting and develop their financial counseling skills.


Agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct that, among other things, commits planners to offering objective advice, putting the client’s interest first, keeping client information confidential, and disclosing compensation and conflicts of interest.