The top-ranked certificate programs generally display a mix of the following: a high number of completions reported to the CFP Board; high retention, graduation and pass-fail rates; and a high ratio of faculty who have earned CFP credentials. In addition, given that the CFP Board makes adherence to ethics one of the core requirements for the CFP examination (see Requirements for Attaining CFP Certification), we gave extra points to programs that offer students a dedicated ethics course. To be fair, programs that do not offer a dedicated ethics course incorporate ethics into the individual classes. Finally, since we believe students who have gone through a program are often the best judge of quality, we awarded extra points to schools that give students online access to evaluations from former students.
Here are the top 15 programs in financial planning delivered by colleges and universities for programs enrolling students in an online, instructor-led educational format. This list is necessarily limited to the programs that submitted responses to the WealthManagement.com questionnaire by the deadline.