Earning Your Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Designation

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Financial freedom means being able to satisfy our needs and attain some of our ‘wants’ without breaking the bank.

Many people dream of travelling the world – some would like to sail on a luxury yacht, others would rather go on a backpacking adventure. Many also have altruistic goals such as supporting ailing relatives, or starting a nest-egg for their children.

Financial advisors see their clients as the unique individuals that they are, and create a personalized plan to help them attain financial freedom. Financial advisors provide guidance that can help their clients get out of debt, save and invest their earnings and create a long-term financial plan.

Curious? See how Freedom 55 Financial advisors helped some of their clients achieve financial freedom.

In addition to helping your clients with their finances, becoming a financial advisor can be your first step in achieving personal financial freedom. With 44% of Certified Financial Planners age 50 or over, plenty of job opportunities are becoming available as these seasoned veterans begin to retire.

Also, there is an ever-greater demand for financial planners as baby boomers seek specialized retirement planning.

Career Profiles projected an industry growth rate of 30% from 2008 to 2018, and Canadian Living recently listed “financial manager” in its list of 10 hottest professions that are in demand, citing a high employment rate.

Working in this field will also give you practical financial knowledge that you can apply to your own life.

What is the CFP designation?

The CFP represents an internationally-recognized ‘gold standard’ of excellence. By obtaining your CFP, you’ll indicate to employers and clients alike that you meet the industry’s highest standards of competence and professionalism.

Many job postings for financial advisors and planners require a CFP designation. Even if you’re applying to financial services positions that do not require the CFP, having it could help you stand out from the crowd.

In Canada, The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is administered by the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC).

Becoming a Certified Financial Planner

CFP certification is a rigorous process that involves taking courses, passing two examinations and building work experience.

To ensure a solid knowledge base, CFP candidates must complete an FPSC-approved Core Curriculum education program. The curriculum is offered in various colleges and training schools throughout Canada.

Once you have completed these courses, you can apply to write the Financial Planning Examination level 1 (FPE1).

Upon passing your level 1 examination, you will formally register with the FPSC and complete at least one year of relevant work experience, followed by a Capstone Course. Once you have completed these requirements, you can write your level 2 (FPE2) examination.

After passing the PFE2, you continue to work in the field until you have amassed a total of three years of experience before becoming eligible for CFP certification.

Plan for your future as a CFP

If you’re a student in certain post-secondary business or finance programs, you might be eligible to use some of your post-secondary credits toward your Core Curriculum education requirement.

Also, it is never too early to begin gaining experience in the field.

Take opportunities as a student to earn experience in a relevant summer job or co-op. The sooner you begin building your experience in financial planning, the sooner you can earn your CFP and be recognized as an industry professional.

Be sure to refer to the FPSC guidelines to see if the experience you’re earning in your entry-level finance job can be applied to the three-year experience requirement.

A great opportunity for recent graduates

Don’t fret if you’ve already graduated from school and didn’t pre-plan for a career in financial planning.

The CFP Core Curriculum is designed for University graduates of any discipline. A previous background in finance is not necessary, because the curriculum is a comprehensive course of study.

There are several post-graduate FPSC-approved Core Curriculum programs available, which will prepare you for the FPE1 in just a few months.

Learn more about careers in the financial services industry with TalentEgg’s Financial Services Career Guide!

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About the author

Shannon Mandel is a Marketing and Editorial intern at TalentEgg. A proud graduate of the #CCPR program at Centennial College, Shannon also holds a BA in Geography and a B.Ed from York University. In her spare time, Shannon enjoys feeding her Pinterest addiction and cooking with lots of butter. You can connect with her through Twitter or on LinkedIn.