Best Online Certified Financial Planning (CFP) Programs

TBS Staff Writers
Updated June 5, 2023
Certified financial planners need certification in order to practice. Discover the best online CFP programs, along with information about this career.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Certified Financial Planner Courses and Programs

An online Certified Financial Planning (CFP) program provides students with a strong option for entering the financial planning field.

These programs take less time than a Master’s degree program and allowing students to study on their own time, without having to make major sacrifices in their professional or personal lives.

Certified financial planners must earn certification through passing the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) exam. The best online Financial Planning Certificate programs prepare students for this exam through a curriculum geared toward CFP standards. All the online Certified Financial Planning programs in our list prepare students to pursue careers as financial planners, and to earn CFP certification.

Most people lack the qualifications to accurately develop their own long-term financial plans, often not knowing where to start. However, a professional certified financial planner can simplify the process of financial planning for individuals and families and try to help them get the most of out their money for the long run.

Featured Online Bachelor’s in Finance

Loading...Learn More
Visit Site
Loading...Learn More
Visit Site
Loading...Learn More
Visit Site

The Best Online Certified Financial Planning Programs

#1 Best Online Certified Financial Planning (CFP) Programs

North Dakota State University

  • Location-markerFargo, ND
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,275
  • Out-of-state$12,413
  • Retention Rate79%
  • Acceptance Rate94%
  • Students Enrolled13,173
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment40%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Online Certified Financial Planning (CFP) Programs

Husson University

  • Location-markerBangor, ME
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$17,770
  • Out-of-state$17,770
  • Retention Rate73%
  • Acceptance Rate85%
  • Students Enrolled3,744
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment51%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best Online Certified Financial Planning (CFP) Programs

Bryant University

  • Location-markerSmithfield, RI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$44,498
  • Out-of-state$44,498
  • Retention Rate87%
  • Acceptance Rate71%
  • Students Enrolled3,640
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment2%
  • AccreditationYes

Online Certified Financial Planning Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Rankings Methodology

What is a Certified Financial Planner?

Also known as a financial advisor, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), having earned their designation through approval with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, provides their clients with financial advice, helping develop a plan toward the future to achieve financial goals. Whether aiding individuals, families, or companies, a Certified Financial Planner assesses the needs and resources of their clients in order to help them accomplish what they desire financially. The CFP certification shows an individual has met professional standards.

What is a Certified Financial Planning Certificate Program?

Certified Financial Planning Certificate Programs cover the same core curriculum; however, they vary in length, style and the delivery method. The programs, typically composed of six to nine courses, provide students with the education and training necessary to pursue or advance careers in the financial planning field, without requiring the time or monetary commitments a full graduate degree involves. A Certified Financial Planning Certificate Program allows students to focus on the fundamentals of financial planning, taking a direct route toward developing their careers.

The CFP Board, a non-profit organization, fosters professional standards in personal financial planning through establishing and enforcing education, examination, ethics, experience and other requirements for CFP certification. Schools meeting the requirements can provide a CFP Board – Registered program.

How to Become a Certified Financial Planner

To earn the title of Certified Financial Planner, an individual must pass the Certified Financial Planner exam, offered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. A certificate in financial planning helps prepare students for CFP certification and meet CFP prerequisites through advanced education, curricula designed to CFP standards, and professional experience opportunities.

Certified Financial Planner Certification

CFP certification requires individuals to meet the “four Es” of initial certification requirements: Education, Examination, Experience, and Ethics. Individuals must pass the CFP exam to achieve financial planner certification, but must meet the qualifications to do so.

Prerequisites for qualification include, at a minimum, individuals have a relevant bachelor’s degree, and must have at least 6,000 hours of professional experience (about three years) via the Standard Pathway or 4,000 hours (about two years) via the Apprenticeship Pathway. Also, CFP professionals agree to follow a code of ethics, set forth by the CFP Board of Standards.

See also: What Can I Do with an Economics Degree? and What Can I Do with a Business Degree?

Certified Financial Planner Jobs & Salary Information

Certified Financial Planners have the option to pursue a variety of general or niche careers in the field of professional finance. Many Certified Financial Planners find success through self-employment, such as through small advisory firms, while plenty of others work for banks, large investment firms, insurance companies, or financial brokerages.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Planner Jobs currently enjoy growth at a much faster rates than other jobs. Considering the rising retirement population in the US due to the Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement age, sound retirement and financial planning advice from well-qualified financial planners may remain in high demand. Also, lifespan expectancy continues to increase, making for longer retirement periods, and a greater need for people to have effective, long-term financial plans. Also, many companies no longer offer retirement benefits for their employees, as a result, many people develop personal retirement plans of their own, often consulting with personal financial planners.

Due to many financial planners receiving their payment based on a percentage of the money they handle, an ever-growing client base (and an ever-growing pool of money) means average salaries for financial planners may see a steady increase across the board in coming years.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average annual salaries for Certified Financial Planner jobs include:

Average Annual Salaries for CFPS
Financial Analyst $81,760
Financial Manager $121,750
Personal Financial Advisor $90,530
Securities, Commodities, or Financial Services Sales Agent $67,310
Source: BLS

Header Image Credit: Moyo Studio | Getty Images

What Can I Do with a Finance Degree?