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How do I get Financial Planning Certification?

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  • Written By: Florence J. Tipton
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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You may follow one of several paths to receive a financial planning certification. Enrollment in a training program that focuses on financial planning certification is one possibility. With certain credentials recognized by local financial planning agencies, you could obtain certification without completing a training program. Typically, receiving financial planning certification is based on paying professional licensing fees after passing an examination. Once you receive certification, you could pursue a career in advising clients on various financial planning topics.

Generally, enrollment in a financial planning training program is required to receive financial planning certification. The enrollment process may vary, but usually requires completing an application and paying enrollment and course fees. Officials review the application materials and send a notification of your acceptance into the training program.

You may want to select a program that is recognized and accredited by the local or regional financial planning associations. Typically, these programs are credible because of ethical and professional standards set by the associations. In general, these standards are based on the regulatory requirements for practicing financial planning your area.

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The time you want to devote towards becoming a certified financial planner might play a factor in your selection of a training program. An undergraduate degree usually lasts four years and is often required to obtain an initial certification status. For the postgraduate degree, most programs last up to two years and will expand on the basic knowledge obtained during the undergraduate program. The certification process itself typically takes the shortest amount of time. In some cases, a certificate program usually requires having an undergraduate degree, previous work experience, or a combination of both.

Most certification courses target material often covered in the certification exam. Generally, the certification examination covers current topics related to financial planning. These topics may include investment products, financial industry trends, and regulatory guidelines for the financial market.

Preparing for and taking the exam is essential to obtaining a financial planning certification. Industry experts usually recommend studying financial planning-related topics to prepare for the exam. Some institutions might provide study materials for you to review before taking the exam.

If you have certain credentials, you might be able to forgo enrolling in a certification program before taking the certification exam. You might have several years of work experience in the financial planning field, for example. The possibility of bypassing a training program usually depends on the requirements in your area for practicing financial planning.

Be prepared to pay fees for a financial planning certificate. Generally, there is an initial fee that covers the cost of the examination and association membership dues. Subsequent fees are paid annually or biennially if you choose to maintain the certification.

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