The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. has approved two changes in the process of attaining the initial CFP designation, the board announced Tuesday.

Under the existing regulations, candidates who want to take the CFP exam can fulfill some of the education requirements by completing certain courses of study at a college or university or by attaining certain other designations -- earning a Ph.D. in business or economics, having an attorney’s license or being a Chartered Financial Analyst, for example.

Before the change, those candidates also had to take a “capstone” CFP course before sitting for the CFP exam. After the change goes into effect on or before July 1, those candidates will be able to submit a comprehensive financial plan that will be reviewed by a CFP professional reviewer instead of taking the course.

The second change expands the definition of “experience” for those who want to sit for the CFP exam to include such things as being responsible for employee benefits administration or financial compliance at a firm or having experience in journalism on financial planning topics. The qualifications will be judged on a case-by-case basis to fulfill the requirement for three years of experience.

“Taken together, these initiatives now recognize the quality of experience that many aspiring CFP professionals have in the industry, while retaining the high standards the certification is known for,” says Ray Ferrara, chair of the board of directors for the CFP Board of Standards.

Additional information on the existing and new requirements for a CFP designation can be found on the board’s website at