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Online Courses Providing CFP Exam and Career Preparation
The following courses are a sample of some of the most common online offerings in CFP preparation programs:
- Introductory Financial Planning Course: This course introduces students to financial planning as a career field. Common topics include the planning process, ethics, budgeting, regulation, licensing and the time value of money.
- Introductory Insurance Planning Course: This course explores the idea of risk management and how to insure against risk. Instructors may schedule online chats for students to discuss the different types of risk involved with financial planning. Students may attend online lectures that teach them about the different types of insurance with which financial planners work, including liability, casualty, property, life and health.
- Income Tax Planning Course: In this course, students learn how the income tax system works and how it relates to the individual. Instructors often provide online lectures that cover such topics as deductions, gross income, calculations and refunds. Students may participate in online labs that allow them to practice the individual income tax concepts they learn.
- Estate Planning Course: Students will be introduced on the basic strategies of estate planning in this course. Instructors may schedule online discussion meetings for students to learn about trusts, marital deductions, valuing assets, wills, power of attorney or gratuitous transfers. Some instructors also include a section on the client interview process in their curriculum for an estate planning course.
- Financial Planning Review and Exam Preparation Course: Some schools offer a final review, or capstone, course at the end of a CFP program to help students prepare for their CFP certification exam. In a course like this, students will often take practice exams online that are similar to the certification exam. Many instructors will provide students with online case studies where they can review and practice the concepts they learned in their previous CFP courses.
- Investment Planning Course: In this course, students will learn about the importance of investment portfolios. A well-constructed portfolio is essential to any business strategy, and this course shows students the features of a strong portfolio, such as derivatives, fixed-income investments, and risk management. The course also examines the federal regulations concerned with portfolio management.
- Retirement Planning Course: In this course, students learn to evaluate the financial circumstances of individuals and use that information to help them develop feasible retirement plans. The curriculum covers retirement possibilities for individuals in both employer and employee positions.
- Customer Relationship Management Course: For aspiring CFPs who plan to offer their services independently, it can be helpful to take a course that covers the basics of developing and sustaining a client base. Topics of study include sales strategy, social networking and ethical issues.
Many online options are available to students who want to take CFP courses to prepare for certification. Some schools offer online financial planning courses as part of an MBA program, while others offer certificate programs specifically on CFP topics. Most programs require students to have Microsoft Word or another, instructor-approved word processing program. Some courses require students to purchase textbooks to supplement the online CFP materials on each course's website. Graduates of a CFP program who pass the CFP certification exam are qualified for employment at large financial firms or as self-employed financial planners.
Individuals who want to work as CFPs can prepare for the exam and for career success by taking online courses in different areas of financial planning. Courses may be part of a certificate or MBA program and prepare students for the CFP exam.