CFP Certification

Heidelberg University offers online courses for individuals looking to earn Certified Financial Planner certification.

The seven-course curriculum is designed for individuals in the financial services industry and specifically those looking to complete necessary coursework toward the Certified Financial Planner exam, considered the gold standard in the personal financial planning field.

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Any financial services industry professional with a bachelor's degree is eligible to enroll for any or all of the courses in the series.

Program Format

General Principles of Financial Planning

This course provides a comprehensive examination of the general principles of financial planning, professional conduct and regulation, and education planning. These topics constitute thirty percent of the principle knowledge topics tested on the CFP® Certification Examination. The course introduces students to the financial planning process and working with clients to set goals and assess risk tolerance. In addition, student will learn to process and analyze information, construct personal financial statements, develop debt management plans, recommend financing strategies, and understand the basic components of a written comprehensive financial plan. The course also covers the regulatory environment, time value of money, and economic concepts.

Risk Management and Insurance Planning

This course provides students with an understanding of risk management and the tools and techniques available to minimize exposures to risk. Students will learn how to conduct an insurance needs analysis for clients and evaluate insurance contracts for life, disability, long-term care, and health insurance. The course also covers how insurance rates are developed, what types of contracts are available, how to read insurance proposals, and how life insurance is used in financial planning. Students also learn about property and casualty insurance, including homeowners’, liability, and auto insurance. Other topics include group life and health insurance plans, business uses of insurance, and annuities.

Investment Planning

This course explores the securities market, sources of information, risk/return, debt and equities, stocks, bonds, options, futures, and security analysis, and culminates in portfolio construction and analysis. Students will learn how to evaluate different asset classes for different investment objectives, and determine their suitability for investors considering investment goals, time horizons, risk tolerance, and tax situations. Quantitative investment concepts, investment theories and strategies, and asset pricing models are also examined.

Tax Planning

This course covers taxation for individuals, sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations, as well as the tax aspects of investments, insurance, annuities, and retirement planning. Students will be able to identify the likely tax consequences of personal and business financial activities and select appropriate and lawful tax-minimizing tactics and strategies.

Retirement Savings and Income Planning

This course educates students on how to conduct a retirement needs analysis for individuals and to recognize the key factors that affect retirement plan selection for business owners. Students will be able to evaluate and compare the characteristics of various retirement plans and recommend which plan is appropriate in a given situation. The course covers tax-deferred retirement plans, IRAs, nonqualified plans, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, distribution strategies, taxation of distributions, and regulatory considerations.

Estate Planning

This course provides an introduction to federal gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer taxes and the many planning techniques used to minimize the impact of these taxes on transfers of wealth. It also explores the income-tax effects of gifts and bequests, with particular attention to the limitations on income-shifting to family members. The nontax aspects of estate planning, including the estate planning process, property ownership, planning for incapacity, and planning for business owners are examined as are the need for estate planning documents for individuals, spouses, and unmarried couples. The course stresses the need for balancing tax and non-tax considerations in creating successful estate plans.

Capstone Course in Financial Planning

This course integrates financial planning topics learned in the previous courses and demonstrates how to apply this knowledge to the development of a comprehensive financial plan. Students will learn how to construct a plan according to CFP Board’s Financial Planning Practice Standards and client objectives.

Course Dates & Cost

Term I - September 2 - October 27
Investment Planning

Term II - October 28 - December 22
General Principles of Financial Planning
Tax Planning

Cost is $750 per course. 


Who may register for a CFP® course?

Any degree or continuing education student who has completed a minimum of 30 semester hours of credits.

How long is the course?

Each of the seven courses is held during an 8-week session.

How do I register for the course?

Register for the course through our online application.

Who is teaching the course?

Faculty are appropriately credentialed and meet CFP® Board requirements.

Do I need a textbook for the course?

Generally, yes. However, textbook requirements are determined by the course faculty member. The cost of the online textbook is included in the cost for each course.

Does completion of a CFP course permit me to take the CFP exam?

To be eligible to sit for the CFP Certification Examination, an individual must have completed a minimum of an undergraduate degree and all courses in a CFP registered program.

Do I need to take all courses in the CFP sequence?

Yes, in order to sit for the CFP® Certification Exam.

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