Certifications and Designations

Only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of the CFP® Board are eligible to use the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification. CFP® certification requires the following:

  • Education
    CFP® professionals must develop their theoretical and practical financial planning knowledge by completing a course of studies at a college or university offering financial planning curriculum approved by the CFP® Board.
  • Examination
    After completion of all classes, CFP® practioners must pass a comprehensive, two-day, 10-hour CFP® Certification Exam that tests their ability to apply financial planning knowledge in an integrated format. The exam covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits, retirement planning, estate planning, investment management, and insurance. This test is similar to the bar exam for attorneys or the CPA exam for accountants.
  • Experience
    CFP® professionals must have a minimum of three years' experience prior to earning the right to use the CFP® certification.
  • Ethics
    CFP® practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct, known as the CFP® Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
  • Continuing Education
    A minimum of 30 hours of continuing education is required biannually to maintain CFP® status.

CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, and CFP® are certification marks owned by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. These marks are awarded to individuals who successfully complete the CFP® Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

The Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation demonstrates that a certificant has gained advanced training and competency in the subject of fiduciary responsibility. AIF® designees must complete a specialized program on investment fiduciary standards, then subsequently pass a comprehensive examination.

The designation signifies that those who follow the appropriate planning procedures will implement a prudent process into their own investment practices, as well as being able to assist others in implementing proper policies and procedures.

With the importance placed upon fiduciary responsibility and suitability, the AIF® was named one of the “Ten Most Wanted” designations in the investment industry by Financial Planning magazine.

The Certified Family Business Specialist (CFBS) designation is offered by The American College. Candidates must have two years experience in the financial services industry. Candidates must complete the following three classes: Financial Statements & Business Valuation Analysis, Business Succession Planning I and Business Succession Planning II.

The "Certified in Long-Term Care" (CLTC) designation was created in 1999. It focuses on the discipline of extended care planning. It provides professionals the critical tools necessary to discuss the subject of longevity and its consequences on their client's family and finances. Students learn how to mitigate these consequences by developing a plan to protect their clients and their families.

The CLTC designation has been recognized and supported by the College for Financial Planning, The American College, NAIFA and major insurance carriers

The AEP® designation is a graduate-level specialization in estate planning, obtained in addition to already recognized professional credentials within the various disciplines of estate planning who support the team concept of estate planning. It is awarded to estate planning professionals who meet stringent requirements of experience, knowledge, education, professional reputation, and character.