Alternative Path Capstone Program

Alternative Path Capstone Program

Self-study options for select CFP® professionals

The CFP Board, which administers CFP® certification, maintains an Alternative Path Capstone Program allowing students with certain academic degrees or professional credentials – including ChFC®, CLU®, CPA, CFA®, licensed attorney, PhD in business or economics, or Doctor of Business Administration —  the ability to opt-out of the classroom hours requirement and instead work on the required capstone project as a self-study course.

The American College of Financial Services offers Personal Financial Planning: Comp. Case Analysis (HS 333) as the approved capstone course for our CFP® Certification Education Program.

What makes the Alternative Path Capstone Program different?

Participating in the Alternative Path Capstone Program is distinct from the standard CFP® Certification Education Program pathway in two ways: 

Contact hours - The capstone course, HS 333, requires 45 hours of classroom contact before students may begin their capstone case study. Participants in the Alternative Path Capstone Program proceed directly to working on their capstone project — developing a financial plan. There is no need to meet the classroom contact hours requirement.

Eligibility - Students who enroll in the Alternative Path Capstone Program must have a Certificate of Eligibility from the CFP Board stating their ability to enroll in the alternative program. (See below.)

Students participating in the Alternative Path Capstone Program work directly with a dedicated grading faculty of charismatic professionals and academics. We limit the ratio of students to grading faculty, ensuring that you will have a great experience working on a case. As you complete your self-study coursework, the grading faculty is ready to help guide you through the process.

Participation requirements:

According to the CFP Board, to meet the requirements the Alternative Path Capstone Program students must have “extensive experience in developing comprehensive financial plans independent of financial planning software".

Eligible students must have a familiarity in the following: 

  • Education planning
  • Estate planning
  • Investment planning
  • Retirement savings and income planning
  • Risk management and insurance planning
  • Tax planning

To be eligible for the Alternative Path Capstone Program, the CFP Board requires that students complete four steps:

  1. Meet CFP Board’s education coursework requirement through the accelerated path option
  2. Meet CFP Board experience requirement
  3. Submit an eligibility request form

How to enroll:

Eligible students may enroll by calling 888-795-6306. Note that online enrollment for the CFP® Certification Education Program capstone self-study is not available.

Call an academic advisor to learn more and enroll in HS 333 self-study. 

Have questions?