Earn 500 CFP Board Experience Hours

Updated 5/17/24: We are happy to announce that the CFP Board has increased The Externship’s experience hours from 180 to 500, starting with the 2024 Externs!

If you’re an aspiring Certified Financial Planner™, you know how important it is to make a plan to earn your required experience hours. 


If you’re following the Standard Pathway, that means 6,000 hours in the 10 years before and/or the 5 years after you take the CFP® certification exam. For the Apprenticeship Pathway, the number of hours drops to 4,000, but there are stricter requirements. All those experience hours must include working with individual clients under the direct supervision of a CFP® professional. 


Either way, that’s a lot of experience hours! To put it in perspective, it takes 150 40-hour work weeks (nearly three years) to hit 6,000 hours. And while working as a financial planner isn’t the only way to earn Standard Pathway experience hours, it still takes a lot of planning and dedication to fulfill the requirement.  


That’s one of the reasons we created The Externship. It gives you an opportunity to earn 500 experience hours in just two months over the summer. How exactly does that work? Let’s dive in and see.

How to Earn Experience Hours at The Externship

So, how do you earn your CFP Board Standard Pathway experience hours at The Externship? Basically, you just do the work laid out for you.


Externship work is a mix of reading educational materials, watching video lectures, practicing with financial planning software, and completing your homework assignments. For most people, it takes between 15 and 25 hours per week to complete everything. 


If you’re worried you can’t dedicate that much time to The Externship during June and July, don’t worry. You have some extra time to complete your assignments afterward, which lessens the amount of time you need to put in each week.

Deadline for Completing Externship Work

While The Externship itself lasts eight weeks, we know that you might not have time to get all your assignments done during that time frame, especially if you’re balancing The Externship with other responsibilities. 


So we’re giving you an extra month to complete all your work. As long as you turn in all your homework assignments by Saturday, August 31, 2024, you’ll receive your 500 experience hours.

Fitting Externship Hours Into Your Schedule

Still not sure you can complete your Externship assignments by the deadline? It might take a little time to optimize your schedule, but it’s completely possible. We’ve had thousands of externs earn their hours even while working, going to summer school, or being full-time parents or caregivers. Here are some of the ways you could organize your schedule to get in all of your hours.

Twilight Trailblazer

Got a full-time job during regular working hours? That’s OK — there’s plenty of time to fit in your Externship work. Here are some suggestions:


  • Catch up on recorded meetings and guest expert office hours sessions during breakfast and/or your morning commute.

  • Schedule your lunch breaks so you can join each week’s Live Technology Support Hour and get expert tips on using essential financial planning software and tools.

  • Use your evening commute to listen to more recordings.

  • Schedule a couple of hours in the evening to work on your homework assignments.

With some strategic planning, you can keep up with your Externship work in the mornings and evenings. 

Naptime Navigator

Are your days filled with time parenting young children or taking care of elderly parents? You can still get your experience hours, and you don’t even have to leave the house! As long as you’ve got your laptop and a comfy spot on the couch, you’re good to go:

  • Set your alarm a bit earlier than your kids wake up and use that time to watch a homework walkthrough and check your work.

  • Set aside naptime to watch some video content: client meetings, recordings of office hours, or tech sessions.

  • Set the kids up with some toys or a favorite show, and spend an hour working on your homework. 

  • After the kids are in bed, spend some time browsing the extern forums to catch up and unwind.

If you have one of those weeks where naptime doesn’t happen or you need to spend more time on your parenting duties, just plan on catching up in August.

Daytime Devotee

Is The Externship your main “job” this summer? Maybe you have the summer off of school or you’re interning at a firm that’s participating in our Internship/Externship program. Either way, here’s an example of how you could structure your days:

  • Add all the live sessions to your calendar for the week and plan to attend them.

  • In between, you can go through your notes and work on your homework assignments.

  • If you start feeling a bit mentally worn out toward the end of each week, that’s OK. Maybe take Thursday or Friday off from live Externship content and work over the weekend instead.

If you need to take a break at any point in the program, remember that you can catch up over the weekends or in August. Don’t forget that “informal” activities, like browsing the externship forums, are great ways to keep your brain engaged without the formal structure of watching a client meeting or working on a homework assignment.

Holiday Halter

Got a vacation planned during The Externship? Enjoy it! Don’t stress about fitting in your work or finding a reliable internet connection wherever you’re traveling. 


You could stay on track before your trip, enjoy your time away, and then catch up once you return. Whether that means putting in a few more hours each week, working a couple of weekends, or planning to finish everything up in August, you have the flexibility to choose the approach that works best for you.

Secure Your Spot at The Externship

If you’re working toward your CFP® certification, The Externship is a fantastic way to make progress on your required experience hours. And of course, you’ll also learn practical financial planning skills, network with other planners, hear from dozens of financial experts, and practice using professional software.


Are you ready to invest in your career this summer and check off some of those required experience hours? Sign up for The Externship today!