6 Ways to Get More CFP® Experience Hours

6 Ways to Get More CFP® Experience Hours

If you want to become a Certified Financial Planner™, you have to meet several requirements set forth by the CFP® Board. Along with earning a degree and completing financial planning coursework, you need to log a significant number of hours of financial planning experience.

However, it can be challenging to figure out how to earn thousands of experience hours — especially because it seems like you already need to have the experience to get a job that would give you experience. But that’s not necessarily the case. There are many different types of activities that can count as CFP® experience hours.

CFP® Experience Option #1: Get an Internship 

This may be the “traditional” approach, but that’s not a bad thing. The exact number of qualified experience hours you can earn as an intern varies depending on the employer and the exact nature of your internship. 

In some cases, however, you may be able to continue employment at the firm where you interned, earning more hours as a paraplanner or advisor. 

An internship can offer additional benefits as well. You’ll get the chance to learn on the job and work with real clients. You may be helping a CFP® create or deliver financial plans, and you might have access to professional development programs. Some internships also offer formal mentorship opportunities, giving you the chance to learn directly from an experienced planner.

However, an internship can have some drawbacks. It might be difficult to find one, especially if you live in an area that doesn’t have many financial planning firms. Some internships are unpaid, which may not be feasible. And if you already have a paying job, an internship might be out of the question.

CFP® Experience Option #2: Work in a Relevant Job

Another alternative is to get a paid job that counts as relevant experience. Helping with seasonal tax preparation, working at a financial advisory company, or being a paraplanner are all examples of work that might count toward the experience requirement.

It might seem impossible to get a relevant job before you become a CFP®, but that’s not necessarily the case. Many firms hire people who are working toward their CFP® designation. You might assist one of the planners in the firm or work directly with clients under the supervision of a Certified Financial Planner™. Either way, you’ll get to learn on the job and get the benefit of working under a CFP® professional.

However, it may be difficult to find a relevant job, depending on where you live. And some opportunities, such as working for a tax preparation company, may be short-term positions. 

CFP® Experience Option #3: Subscribe to Amplified Planning

If you want a way to earn qualifying hours without committing to a full-time job in a traditional office, subscribe to Amplified Planning. Our online program is designed to help aspiring planners get experience hours while going to school or working. 

When you subscribe, you’ll get access to our online courses, each of which gives you the chance to earn up to 20 CFP® Board experience hours. You can complete the courses on your own schedule, even if you’re going to school, working, or completing an internship. As a subscriber, you’ll also get access to live educational events, an online forum, and more. 

CFP® Experience Option #4: Volunteer 

Paid work isn’t the only type of experience that counts toward the CFP® Board’s requirements. You can also get credit for certain types of volunteer work. 

As long as your work involves providing education about financial planning topics or helping people with their finances, it may be eligible. For example, you could run a presentation about estate planning at a senior center or teach a budgeting class at a local library.

Experience hours need to be reported to the CFP® Board and attested by an eligible professional. Reporting may happen “automatically” if you’re an intern or AP subscriber — most formal programs are set up to report participants’ hours to the CFP® Board. 

If you volunteer, however, you’ll need to find someone who can attest to your work. Eligible professionals who can attest to your hours include a CFP®, CPA, licensed attorney, or Doctor of Business Administration. 

CFP® Experience Option #5: Complete the FPA Residency Program

You can also earn experience hours via the FPA Residency Program. This comprehensive program is run by expert mentors who will help you work through a range of real-life financial planning scenarios. Participants will get to learn exactly how to work with clients and truly partner with them for long-term success.

This program is a week-long intensive that packs a lot of work and experience into every minute. You can earn up to 28 CFP® continuing education credits or three months of experience toward the three-year requirements. Each cohort is limited to 35 participants, and registration fills up quickly.

CFP® Experience Option #6: Attend The Externship

If you want to earn 180 CFP® Board experience hours in just 8 weeks, attend The Externship. This virtual training program includes various elements, including online courses, presentations from dozens of financial professionals, and hands-on projects that give you the chance to practice your planning skills based on real-world scenarios. 

The Externship is completely online and self-paced, so you can work on your materials whenever your schedule allows. It’s perfect if you want to increase your learning this summer while also being able to work, attend summer school, complete a traditional internship, or spend time with your family. The waitlist for the 2024 Externship is open now.

Earn Experience Hours With Amplified Planning

There are many ways to complete the experience requirement to earn your CFP® certification. And you don’t have to choose just one! In fact, earning your hours through different means can give you the added benefit of diverse experiences.

If you want to complement your education and earn your experience hours faster, subscribe to Amplified Planning. As a Community subscriber, you’ll get access to a featured course each month, most of which offer 20 Standard Pathway experience hours. 

If you subscribe at the CORE tier, you’ll get immediate access to the full course library and the chance to earn more than 500 Standard Pathway experience hours. Subscribers also get access to live events, an online forum, and more! Amplified Planning subscriptions start at just $30 per month. Learn more and subscribe today!