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Best 15 CFP Certification Programs in 2021

February 16, 2021 | Staff Writers

CFP Certification Program

The number of programs that lead to a graduate becoming a certified financial planner (CFP) has surged in recent years. The mid-20th century saw the creation and expansion of the field, which is different from other similar programs, such as a finance degree.

What are the Benefits of Becoming a Certified Financial Planner? 

The history of the certified financial planner profession dates back to 1969, with the cfp certification programs following soon after the group of 13 men met in Chicago to discuss and outline the initial steps taken to develop the profession. The CFP Board explains that the men recognized the fact that people could benefit from a profession that integrated both knowledge and practice across the various financial services industry areas. 

Top 5 CFP Certification Programs

Rank School Location
1University of North Florida Jacksonville, Florida
2Texas Tech University Lubbock, Texas
3University of Miami Coral Gables, Florida
4San Diego State UniversitySan Diego, California
5Franklin University Columbus, Ohio

The cfp certification programs soon followed, resulting in several benefits for financial industry professionals that decided to complete a certified financial planner program. The CFP Board, established in 1985, and other organizations, list several benefits of becoming a certified financial planner. Some benefits include: 

  • Certified financial planner is recognized as the standard of excellence in the financial planner field 
  • Consumers generally view certified financial planners as being able to provide confidence and effective financial planning for their future 
  • Certified financial planners have completed a program that provides them with expertise in financial planning 
  • Financial institutions and other employers trust certified financial planners to provide services resulting in high levels of client satisfaction 

There are a variety of other benefits of completing a certified financial planner program. FINRA, a government-authorized not-for-profit organization, oversees broker-dealers in the U.S. It is their job to protect American investors through a variety of methods, including making sure that any individual that sells securities products is properly qualified, tested, and licensed. The organization stresses that a certified financial planner must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and that the individual must successfully complete a CFP board registered program, unless that person is an attorney, or holds a degree such as a PhD in economics or business. 

The annual median pay was $87,850 for personal financial advisors in 2019, according to statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

These programs meet the certified financial planner requirements.

Best 15 CFP Certification Programs

1

University of North Florida

  • Jacksonville, Florida

The Coggin College of Business at the University of North Florida prepares students in the bachelor’s in financial planning program to work in professional roles as financial planners after graduation. The university points out that the financial planning program was recently recognized as a leading program by Financial Magazine. The program is one of just two programs in the state that meets the requirements for graduates to sit for the CFP exam.

The program curriculum integrates courses in investments, insurance, employee benefits, tax planning and estate planning.

School Overview

Tuition: $105.07 per credit hour
Accreditation: AACSB
Visit School Website
2

Texas Tech University

  • Lubbock, Texas

The Department of Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech University offers an impressive number of programs in financial planning. Some students complete the Bachelor of Science in Personal Financial Planning, which prepares graduates for a career in financial planning in financial institutions, government or social service agencies, or a career in private practice.

Many students continue their education at the school, earning a master’s or doctoral degree in personal financial planning. The university also offers two graduate certificate options. All programs qualify graduates to sit for the CFP examination.

School Overview

Tuition: $276 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC
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3

University of Miami

  • Coral Gables, Florida

The University of Miami, in partnership with Dalton Education, offers a Masters Certificate in Financial Planning program. Individuals with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in any discipline are potentially eligible to sit for the certified financial planner exam after successful program completion. The accelerated program is conducted live over the internet and is led by highly-qualified instructors.

Students have the ability to participate in customized learning experiences as they complete the requirements to sit for the CFP examination.

School Overview

Tuition: $313.88 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC
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4

San Diego State University

  • San Diego, California

The San Diego State University Fowler College of Business offers financial planning certificate and degree programs, including the Financial and Tax Planning MSBA-FTP program. Students in the graduate program gain the knowledge and skills to deliver the highest level of professional financial planning services. Students complete 18 hours of prerequisites and then take courses such as Individual Insurance Management, Decision Making in a World Economy, Federal Taxation of Individuals, and Financial Risk Management.

Students are eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner exam upon graduation from the program, which can be completed in just one to two years.

School Overview

Tuition: $396 per credit hour
Accreditation: AACSB
Visit School Website
5

Franklin University

  • Columbus, Ohio

The Franklin University Bachelor of Science in Financial Planning program prepares students for careers that help individuals and families reach their financial goals. The 100 percent online program includes opportunities for experiential learning, learning from professionals in the field and the opportunity to volunteer to earn college credits.

Graduates of the program are well-prepared to sit for the Certified Financial Planner exam.

School Overview

Tuition: $398 per credit hour
Accreditation: IACBE
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6

University of Wisconsin – Madison

  • Madison, Wisconsin

The Personal Finance: Financial Planning bachelor’s degree program at the University of Wisconsin – Madison is registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. The interdisciplinary coursework of the program focuses on the financial management, and the economic well-being of individuals and families.

Students follow the curriculum sequence that is in place at the time that they enter the program major. Graduates of the program are prepared to sit for the Certified Financial Planner exam.

School Overview

Tuition: $495.45 per credit hour
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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7

Western Michigan University

  • Kalamazoo, Michigan

The Western Michigan University Department of Finance and Commerical Law offers the Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance degree for students that want to work as a leader in the finance industry, and that wants to sit for the CFA exam.

The program is recognized by the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute University Affiliation Program. It is also certified by Bloomberg.

School Overview

Tuition: $503.92 per credit hour
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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8

Kansas State University

  • Manhattan, Kansas

Students that complete an undergraduate degree sometimes choose to continue their education, earning a Personal Financial Planning Master’s degree at the University of Kansas. Successful students that enroll in this program are truly dedicated to helping their clients reach their financial goals. The online program prepares graduates to guide clients through important financial steps in their life, such as investments, family economics, real estate and estate planning.

Students that complete the 30-credit hour program are eligible to sit for the CFP examination. The school also offers a Personal Finance doctorate degree.

School Overview

Tuition: $565.50 per credit hour
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, AACSB
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9

University of Missouri

  • Columbia, Missouri

The Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning program at the University of Missouri Online offers students the opportunity to complete the 36-credit hour program with no campus visits.

Students typically complete one or two classes per semester, which includes topics such as housing and real estate, tax planning, risk management, estate planning, and other topics. Most students complete the program in two years.

Program graduates are prepared to take the Certified Financial Planner exam.

School Overview

Tuition: $575.64 per credit hour
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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10

Louisiana State University

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana State University offers the Master of Science in Finance that provides students with the required analytical communication skills to succeed in the profession. The school considers the program to be challenging and advanced as it prepares students for CFP certification. The program also carries Bloomberg Certification. Students have a choice of eight concentrations.

The university also offers a Certified Financial Planner Certificate program.

School Overview

Tuition: $786 per credit hour
Accreditation: AACSB
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11

University of Georgia

  • Athens, Georgia

Start your financial planning education at the University of Georgia, with the Bachelor of Science in Financial Planning degree program. The program prepares students for a variety of careers in finance. The program meets all requirements for graduates to be able to sit for the Certified Financial Planner exam, the Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) exam, and the Certified Retirement Counselor (CRC) exam.

Some students continue their education at the university, which also offers a master’s degree program, and a doctoral degree in financial planning.

School Overview

Tuition: $805.33 per credit hour
Accreditation: AAFCS
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12

University of Delaware

  • Newark, Delaware

The University of Delaware offers the Bachelor of Science in Financial Planning and Wealth Management for individuals that want a career working as a certified financial planner. Students in the program complete specialized courses that focus on investments, income tax, retirement planning, and estate planning, along with courses on other topics. Students complete a capstone project while working closely with members of the Financial Planning Advisory Board.

Students have the opportunity to sit for the Certified Financial Planner exam immediately after graduating from the program.

School Overview

Tuition: $850 per credit hour
Accreditation: AACSB, Certified Financial Planning Board
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13

Temple University

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Temple University offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Financial Planning that paves the way for graduates to have a rewarding career as a certified financial planner. The school recognizes the growth of the profession, and offers the important analytical and interpersonal skills necessary for the profession. Students gain knowledge in income tax, retirement planning, estate planning, and an understanding of investment allocation. Students also learn knowledge and skills related to employee benefits and insurance as they prepare to sit for the CFP exam after graduation.

School Overview

Tuition: $859 per credit hour
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education, AACSB
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14

Golden Gate University

  • San Francisco, California

Golden Gate University offers a Master of Science in Financial Planning for individuals with a bachelor’s degree that want to become a certified financial planner. Students prepare for a rewarding future by completing the program in either the classroom or online setting. The program focuses on interpersonal skills as well as the technical and analytical skills required to address complex financial situations and issues. Gain the latest skills to help clients achieve their financial and life goals.

The university refers to program graduates as ‘ethical problem solvers’ with the educational requirements to earn the premier Certified Financial Planner designation.

School Overview

Tuition: $1,090 per credit hour
Accreditation: WASC
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15

Santa Clara University

  • Santa Clara, California

The Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University is home to both undergraduate and graduate finance programs, including the online Master of Science in Finance and Analytics program. The university designed the program to include cutting-edge quantitative skills, and other skills and knowledge that prepares graduates to assume leadership roles in finance.

Complete the 36-credit hour program in as little as one year, and sit for the CFP exam after graduation.

School Overview

Tuition: $1,312 per credit hour
Accreditation: AACSB
Visit School Website

Our Methodology 

We understand the importance of finding programs that meet educational requirements for graduates to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) exam. We did the hard work of searching for accredited programs that meets the stringent guidelines set forth by the governing bodies.  

The tuition for each of these CFP certification programs is based on one credit hour of study at the rate for resident students. The tuition does not include other costs such as required fees, books, or materials. 

Do you need help finding the right school that meets your educational goals and interests? We can help you find the right school based on your selected program. 

Would you like to update the information that we currently have for your school? Please contact us and we will gladly update the information. 

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