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Executive Certificate in Financial Planning

Complete Learning Requirements for the CFP® Certification

Students in an Executive Education program at St. Thomas

Career opportunities in the financial planning field are expected to grow more than 30% through 2024, according to the Labor Department. As baby boomers are approaching or reaching retirement age, and millions of Generation Xers are raising families and saving for retirement, there is a need for qualified professionals to help guide that process.

When clients select a financial advisor, they place their trust in someone they believe is well trained, experienced, capable and committed to serving their best interests. Set yourself up for success as a financial advisor by working toward one of the most recognized and respected credentials in this industry, the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) certification. By earning the CFP® certification, you will:

  • Have the knowledge and skills needed to be a confident, competent and credible advisor. This elevates your practice to the highest level and distinguish yourself from other financial planners.
  • Assure current and potential clients that you have achieved the respect, recognition and preferred status that come only to the top professionals in the field.

Get started with the education requirements for the CFP® certification and earn the Executive Certificate in Financial Planning from the University of St. Thomas. Our convenient OnDemand program allows you to complete the courses online and at the pace that works best for you. 

What is the CFP® Certification?

CFP® certification is earned by knowledgeable, capable and responsible professionals who have proven themselves through their education, experience and a certification process that ensures their competence.

CFP® professionals are uniquely qualified to help their clients develop and implement plans to achieve their financial goals.

Give better advice. Earn more income. Gain greater trust. For all those interested in advancing their career in financial planning or financial services, attaining CFP® certification is the most effective way to achieve success in their career. 

How do I complete the CFP® Certification?

There are four steps to completing the Certified Financial Planner™ Certification. Final verification of these requirements is completed by the CFP Board.

  1. Complete the Education Requirement. By completing the seven courses, OnDemand program, you will satisfy the CFP® education requirement along with earning the Executive Certificate in Financial Planning from the University of St. Thomas. A bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in any discipline from an accredited college or university is a requirement for initial certification. There are also certain credentials that would allow you to waive some of the education hours. For more on waiver requirements, visit: www.cfp.net/education#challenge
  2. Pass the CFP® Exam. This is a six hour, pass/fail exam administered three times per year; March, July and November. For more information about the CFP® exam visit: www.cfp.net/exam
  3. Meet the Experience Requirement. The CFP Board requires you to have 6,000 hours of professional experience related to the financial planning process or 4,000 hours of Apprenticeship experience, that meets additional requirements. For more information about the experience requirement visit: www.cfp.net/experience
  4. Pass the Ethics and Background Check. The CFP Board requires professionals to adhere to the high standards of ethics and practice outlined in the CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct. For more information about the ethics requirement visit: https://www.cfp.net/become-a-cfp-professional/cfp-certification-requirements/ethics-requirement

Partnership with Kaplan Financial Education

The University of St. Thomas partners with Kaplan Financial Education to offer the Executive Certificate in Financial Planning. This education program enables you to satisfy CFP Board requirements necessary to sit for the national exam. This program benefits both experienced professionals seeking to advance their careers and those entering the field for the first time. Taught by working professionals, our flexible and convenient learning options allow you to master the 8 major domains covered on the CFP® exam.

As you consider the program, a representative from Kaplan will be in touch to explain the ins and outs of the certification and answer questions to help determine if this is a good fit for your career goals. If you decide to register, St. Thomas will help you with the registration process and guide you through the steps to complete your certificate.

How does the OnDemand format work?

The OnDemand Course format allows for self-study. You do not need to adhere to a live class schedule. You can start, stop and rewind your class as often as you like. This means, you will have expert instruction and still have the freedom to complete all seven courses within your own timeline.

When you begin the OnDemand program, you will:

  • Purchase one course at a time. Choose when to start studying.
  • Have up to 90 days to complete each course. Once you have registered for the course through St. Thomas, we will be in touch to determine your start date. This determined start date will begin the clock on your 90-day completion timeline.
  • Take advantage of online testing. With the OnDemand courses, there is no need to go to an outside testing facility.
  • Receive an e-Book with your course purchase.

As part of the OnDemand program, you will have access to online tools including:

  • Education QBank to prepare for the exam with custom-made exams and quizzes, access answer explanations for every question.
  • Study Planner
  • Performance Tracker
  • Core Lecture Videos
  • Instructor Email Access
  • “Now What” webinar for Course 107 

How long will each course take? 

Each of the seven courses vary slightly in approximate course hours depending on your background and comfort with the subject matter as well as the specific requirements to complete the course. You'll spend about 24 hours within the OnDemand portal for each course. For simplicity, we'll call these "in-class" hours. On average, students can expect to spend 2-3 hours outside of class for every "in-class" hour or 50-75 study hours per course. The exception to this is course 107 which will require additional time conducting outside work on a formal plan and presentation. Course 107 will likely be about 140 hours to complete. Keep in mind this total will vary from student to student depending on level of experience and estimates may be different depending on your individual circumstances. 

To help you stay on pace, it is recommended that you plan to complete one unit per week. This will assure you can complete the course within the 90 day online access window and correlates to about 5-7 hours per week for 10 weeks. 

Why complete the Executive Certificate in Financial Planning?

Why complete the Executive Certificate in Financial Planning through St. Thomas?

  • Gain the knowledge you need to be effective. No matter if you are new to the profession or looking to advance your career in financial planning, learn the information you need to be effective in this role.  
  • Make yourself more marketable. Your customers need to trust you with their financial future. Take the steps toward earning one of the most recognized and respected credentials in this industry, the Certified Financial Planner™ certification, so you can pass along this knowledge and credibility to your customers.  
  • Earn the Executive Certificate in Financial Planning through St. Thomas. In addition to completing the educational requirements toward the CFP®, you will earn a certificate from the University of St. Thomas upon completion.    
  • Convenient OnDemand format allows you to work on your own time. Your schedule is busy. The OnDemand format will allow you to work through the seven courses at your own speed whether it is using your lunch breaks or carving time out of your evenings or weekends. 

Why St. Thomas Executive Education?

At St. Thomas Executive Education you will:

  • Gain practical tools from experienced faculty
  • Learn current, real-world skills you can apply on Monday (and every day)
  • Network with other professionals working in business
  • Have a personalized experience from program exploration to successful completion

All of this leads to a smart, practical and personalized experience to gain confidence and excel in your career. With over 30 open enrollment programs, we can help you dive into a specific topic area, understand business terminology and further develop your leadership and management skills.


The University of St. Thomas is registered with the Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards, Inc. to fulfill the education requirements of the CFP® certification.*

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the marks CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and CFP® in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements.

*The University of St. Thomas does not certify individuals to use the CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNING™ or certification marks. CFP certification is granted only by Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards Inc. to those persons who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met its ethics, experience and examination requirements.