CFP Education Courses - Which One is Right for You?


If you are considering a career in financial planning, you may want to know “how do I become a CFP”. One of the important areas to explore is satisfying the education requirement to sit for the CFP® certification examination.  If you have visited the CFP Board’s website  you’ll notice there are hundreds of CFP education programs and courses across the country, including traditional classroom, online CFP, virtual, web-delivered, and live-online.  Here’s a summary of the differences between the types of certified financial planner courses.

Traditional Classroom CFP – just like high school or college, you drive to school and attend classes on the university’s campus.

Online CFP – this is self study, over the Internet.  Most of the content is online and you work at your own pace.  These programs will give you access for a period of time and cost less than the other types of CFP education programs.  The disadvantage to these programs is that many students don’t complete the program.  The content is either poorly organized, the technology and design is out of date or the material is just too difficult for students to learn on their own.  Only 10% of students that start an online CFP program actually finish the program.

Web Delivered CFP (Virtual Classroom or Live-Online) - Students attend class by logging into a website and listening to and watching the instructor present class.  Classes meet on a regular basis and offer students the convenience of attending the live lectures or watching the recorded lecture at a time that is more convenient.  The primary advantage to these types of programs is convenience and over 90% of students that start these programs, ultimately become a CFP.  These programs are similar in cost to traditional classroom CFP courses.

Which CFP education program is right for you?  It depends on what’s important to you.  If price is a concern, then an online CFP certification course may be appropriate.  Alternatively, if you prefer the convenience and flexibility of attending both live and recorded lectures, then the web-delivered certified financial planner course may be more appropriate for you.  If your learning style is more comfortable with attending classes on campus, then a traditional classroom CFP education course is the way to go.

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