CFP Board’s work experience requirement is defined as “the supervision, direct support, teaching or personal delivery of all or part of the personal financial planning process to a client.” Qualifying experience must fit within one or more of the six primary elements of the personal financial planning process described as follows:

  • Establishing and Defining the Relationship with the Client
    This includes explaining the issues and concepts related to the personal financial planning process. You must specify the services you or your firm will provide and clarify the client’s and your responsibilities.
  • Gathering Client Data Including Goals
    Data gathering includes interviewing or questioning the client about various aspects of his or her financial resources, obligations and expectations. During this process, you will need to determine your client’s goals, needs and priorities; assess your client’s values and attitudes; and determine the client’s time horizons and risk tolerance. In addition, you will collect applicable client records and documents.
  • Analyzing and Evaluating the Client’s Financial Status
    This process involves analyzing and evaluating client data such as current cash flow needs, risk management, investments, taxes, retirement, employee benefits, estate planning and/or special needs.
  • Developing and Presenting Financial Planning Recommendations and/or Alternatives
    Financial planning recommendations should meet the goals and objectives of the client, and reflect his or her values, situation and risk tolerance. This process includes presenting and reviewing the recommendations with the client, working with the client to ensure that the plan meets his or her goals and expectations, and revising the recommendations as necessary.
  • Implementing the Financial Planning Recommendations
    This is the process of helping the client put the financial planning recommendations into action. This could include coordinating with other professionals, such as accountants, attorneys, real estate agents, investment advisers, stockbrokers and insurance agents.
  • Monitoring the Financial Planning Recommendations
    Areas to be monitored or reviewed include the soundness of the recommendations and the client’s progress. This process also involves discussing with the client any changes in his or her personal circumstances, evaluating changing tax laws, and making recommendations based on new or changing conditions.

Work Experience Standards 

Your work experience must comply with the following standards:

  • Three years full-time, or the equivalent part-time (2,000 hours equals one year full-time).
  • Six months of experience must have been gained within 12 months of reporting your work experience.
  • Experience may be gained up to 10 years before or up to five years after the exam date.
  • The bachelor’s degree and experience requirements must be fulfilled within five years of passing the CFP® Certification Examination. If these requirements are not completed within this time frame, your candidacy for CFP® Certification may be terminated. A one-time, three-year extension may be granted on a case-by-case basis.