Financial Opinion and Insights

Want To Be A CFP®?

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

Here are ten schools worth a look.

Believe it or not, I actually knew what a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® was back in 1984.   I had just sold my weeklies and was finishing my two-year transition into a career in speaking and management consulting… a career that involved a lot trips to LAX and baggage claims all over the U.S., Canada, and even the U.K. 

Even then, the thought of a consulting career with less travel – and particularly one with recognized credentials and barriers to entry – became quite attractive.   But, what attracted me most – and I suspect most others – was that this was a career where you actually make a difference in other peoples’ lives.   It was the chance to live a ‘life of significance’ beyond simply making a living.

Many individual investors were just beginning to learn what a CFP practitioner was back in those days; but, even today, many don’t know…. Or do they?

They must be figuring it out, because the number of schools meeting the demand for professional education is rising.  According to Financial Planning’s November 2011 issue, there are now 333 CFP board-registered programs in the U.S.  183 are certificate programs, 103 are undergraduate programs, 41 are master’s programs and 6 are Ph.D. programs!

Financial Planning’s list is not a ranking.  It’s just a list of 10 schools are appear to be stand-out schools based on feedback from some industry leaders.  Interestingly, The American College, which has been providing education to financial professionals for more than 80 years, was omitted.  So were some pretty well-known schools with strong academic standards, including Pepperdine University. 

Nevertheless, if you have a son, daughter, niece, or nephew who’s thinking about a career in financial planning, here are some schools they might want to consider.  Remember, though, there are many excellent highly-regarded programs at schools not on this list; it’s a just a ‘starter’ that may help.

The College for Financial Planning

Greenwood Village, CO, 2 Programs – Online certificate program; Online graduate program for MS degree in Personal Financial Planning

University of Georgia

Athens, GA, 5 Programs – Undergraduate degree program; Masters program; Doctoral program; Terry College of Business, 2 programs (online and classroom)

Boston University

Boston, MA, 2 Programs – Online and classroom certificate programs

Kansas State

Manhattan, KS, 4 Programs –  undergraduate, master’s, Ph.D., and graduate certificate


Online + classrooms in New York and San Francisci, 2 Programs – Self-paced and accelerated/virtual certificate programs

San Diego State University

San Diego, CA, 3 Programs – B.S. in Financial services with certificate in personal financial planning; M.S. in Business Administration with concentration in financial and tax planning; Executive financial planner advanced certificate

William Patterson University

Wayne, NJ, 2 Programs – Undergraduate B.S. in Business Administration/financial planning; Certificate program

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX, 11 Programs – From undergraduate to Ph.D., including minors and dual graduate degrees in financial planning and business or law.

Utah Valley University

Orem, Utah, 1 Program – Undergraduate major in personal financial planning

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA, 2 Programs – Undergraduate B.S. in either finance or applied economic management


Happy hunting and Good luck!






Jim Lorenzen is a Certified Financial Planner® and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® in his 20th year of private practice as Founding Principal of The Independent Financial Group, a fee-only registered investment advisor with clients located in New York, Florida, and California.   IFG provides investment and fiduciary consulting to retirement plan sponsors and selected individual investors. Plan sponsors can sign-up for Retirement Plan Insights here.  IFG does not sell products, earn commissions, or accept any third-party compensation or incentives of any description.  Nothing contained in this material is intended to constitute legal, tax, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment to the individual reader.  The general information provided should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from an appropriate licensed professional.

Written by Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

November 29, 2011 at 8:05 am