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Certified Financial Planner

  • Certified Financial Planning is available as a concentration of the Economics/Finance degree (B.S.)
    Through the Certified Financial Planning program, Olivet graduates are prepared to compete successfully in the evolving business world. They will have more opportunities to use their skills and talents to influence that world for Christ.

  • What is Financial Planning?

    A relatively young profession, financial planning emerged as a unique discipline about 30 years ago. Distinguishing it from other financial professions is its basic philosophy: financial planning is a process, not a product. Simply put, it is the process of determining how an individual can meet life goals through the proper management of his or her financial resources.

    A financial planner takes a “big picture” view of a client’s financial situation and makes financial planning recommendations based on the client’s needs in areas such as budgeting and saving, taxes, investments, insurance and retirement planning. Or, the planner may work with a client on a single financial issue but still within the context of that client’s overall situation.

    The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification was created to meet the professional development needs of those seeking to become financial planners. As the financial planning profession has grown, so too has the CFP® certification matured and strengthened to become the gold standard for those seeking to demonstrate their competency as financial planners. The rigorous certification standards, which are regularly updated to reflect the current needs of practitioners and their clients, have become the bedrock for a global financial planning population.

    Particularly within the last decade, demand for financial planners has risen as individuals have had to assume more responsibility for their own retirement and other financial decisions. Not surprisingly, consumer demand for competent financial planners has led to significant growth in the numbers who hold the CFP® certification marks. Worldwide, there was a 128 percent increase in the number of CFP® professionals from 2000 to 2010.

    Working as a Financial Planner

    Recognizing financial planning’s occupational benefits, the 2001 Jobs Rated Almanac ranked financial planning as the top career choice in the country. The survey considered a number of factors while ranking hundreds of jobs and concluded that financial planners enjoy relatively low stress, have a high earning potential and enjoy a high degree of workplace autonomy. The personal satisfaction element cannot be underestimated. In 2011, CNN/Money Magazine reported that demand for personal financial advisers is expected to grow 30% between 2011 and 2021.

    But just as important as the satisfaction gained from finding client solutions is the satisfaction derived from solid career development. Some establish their own businesses, like many of the financial planning profession’s pioneers. But for those who want solid, big firm experience, the opportunities are plentiful and growing fast. Firms such as Ameriprise Financial, Merrill Lynch and AXA Advisors actively recruit CFP® certification holders to staff their expanding advisory divisions. Many of these firms have even begun to offer attractive incentives, both financial and developmental, to employees who earn CFP® certification.

    CFP® Certification: How to get it and why

    Much more than an educational designation, the CFP® certification is a professional certification that helps to set apart those serious about a career in financial planning. Certification requirements include initial and ongoing education, examination, experience and ethics components.

    There are more than 330 programs registered with CFP Board to cover the nearly 100-topic curriculum that represents the body of knowledge for financial planning. Along with the educational requirements, candidates for CFP® certification must pass the10-hour, two-day CFP® Certification Examination, hold at least a bachelor’s degree, verify at least three years of full-time experience in the financial planning process, and agree to abide by rigorous ethical and practice standards. Once certified, individuals must meet 30 hours of continuing education every two years.

    Olivet is one of the more than 200 colleges and universities that offer education programs registered with CFP Board. Olivet offers the B.S., Economics/Finance with a Concentration in Certified Financial Planning program.

    Steps to achieving CFP® certification

    • Complete an educational curriculum covering the financial planning topics
    • Pass the CFP® Certification Examination
    • Hold at least a bachelor’s degree
    • Meet the experience requirement
    • Agree to adhere to CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct and pass background check
    • Pay certification fees
    • Receive authorization to use the CFP® certification marks
    Benefits of being a CFP® practitioner

    • Enhanced career opportunities
    • Personal satisfaction in knowing you have earned the profession’s highest standard
    • Satisfied clients who appreciate the comprehensive approach financial planning

    Olivet Nazarene University does not certify individuals to use the CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) marks. CFP® certification in the U.S. is granted solely by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. to individuals who, in addition to completing an educational curriculum such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met ethics, experience and examination requirements.

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

    For more information

    For information about Olivet’s Certified Financial Planning program, contact Matthew Dwyer, CFP®, at 815-928-5452 or

    To further research the profession, visit CFP Board’s website

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  • Gain the skills and the knowledge you need to build a successful career in financial planning.

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