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Advanced financial planning for every person and every need. Get comprehensive and applied financial knowledge to serve a wide variety of modern clients.

Designation at a Glance


$5,895 (may vary based on course/package choices)


Complete in 24 months or less


100% online with Personal Pathway® e-learning experience

Learning Outcomes

Empower yourself for greater success in the financial services industry with a wide variety of specialized knowledge, including:

  • The basics of financial planning and risk management
  • Income tax strategies for individuals, small businesses, corporations, and more
  • Retirement planning, investing, and estate planning strategies for success
  • Special needs planning, gift planning and inheritance, insurance, and more

What is the ChFC® Designation?

Advanced financial planning for every person and every need: that’s the credo of the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation. The ChFC® program covers a must-have list of requirements for financial advisors, from knowledge on tax and retirement planning to special needs advising, wealth management, insurance, and more. If you’re looking for financial classes online that will give you a stronger baseline understanding of what it takes to be successful as a financial consultant, ChFC® certifications for financial advisors can help open doors and expand your business while putting you in a position to branch out and take your chartered financial practice to the next level.


Why Choose ChFC®?


Courses designed for immediate, real-world application of knowledge


Network of over 40,000 financial professionals who have earned ChFC®


Advise a full range of clients on 10+ key areas of financial services knowledge


Flexible yet structured learning and customizable tuition with Personal Pathway® learning experience

Program Details

Educational Requirements

There are no prerequisite courses required before you can begin the ChFC® program, but three years full-time, relevant business experience and a high school diploma or the equivalent ARE required to use the designation.

To receive the ChFC® designation, you must:

  1. Successfully complete the eight required courses
  2. Agree to comply with The American College Code of Ethics and Procedures

Participation in the annual Professional Recertification Program (PRP) is required to maintain the designation.  For more information, see our Continuing Education (CE) FAQ and PRP pages.

Tuition & Fees

Our ChFC® curriculum courses combine engaging live and on-demand instruction options — and no webinar fees — for one flat tuition rate. Whether you prefer self-paced or structured learning experience, your tuition is the same.

  • Individual course: $895
  • Case-study course (HS 333): $1,095
  • Contemporary Applications in Financial Planning (HS 347): $1,595
  • 8-course package: $5,895
  • 3-course package (excludes HS 333 and 347): $2,365

Tuition covers all course fees, required study materials, access to convenient online learning tools, your examinations, and other fees. Supplementary study materials and review classes are also available for an additional cost.

Annual participation in the Professional Recertification Program (PRP).

ChFC® Curriculum

HS 300 Financial Planning: Process and Environment

This course provides an overview of the financial planning process, including communication techniques, behavioral finance, financial planning approaches and applications, financial statement preparation and analysis, time value of money concepts and applications, education planning and funding, economics and the external environment, and ethics and standards of conduct. Additionally, the course offers a deeper understanding of the role and responsibilities of a financial planner, along with some analytical skills to aid in the financial decision-making process.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of and apply the steps of the financial planning process
  • Differentiate between various communication techniques used by advisors and understand how behavioral finance concepts can be used to improve client-advisor communications
  • Utilize the various financial planning approaches to quantify goals and provide actionable recommendations
  • Review personal financial statements, calculate financial ratios, and perform financial statement analysis
  • Build a foundation in quantitative techniques needed to calculate the present value and future value amounts, and solve for other relevant financial variables
  • Apply education planning and funding techniques to help clients achieve their goals
  • Build a foundation in basic economic concepts and understand how external factors may impact the financial planning process
  • Review and apply the ethics of personal financial planning within CFP Board, American College, and SEC frameworks

HS 311 Fundamentals of Insurance Planning

This course focuses on the role of planning for risk management needs. The topics covered in this course include fundamental principles and characteristics of risk management, credit risk and protection, and the concepts and applications of health insurance, life insurance, disability and long-term care insurance, annuities, property, liability insurance, and social insurance (Social Security).

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts and principles of risk management
  • Compare and contrast the different health insurance options available to clients in the individual and group marketplaces
  • Differentiate among the various types of life insurance, including term and permanent insurance
  • Discuss principles of disability income insurance and its place in insurance planning
  • Discuss the principles of long-term care insurance and its place in insurance planning
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the different types and proper use of annuities in insurance planning
  • Identify the sources and uses of homeowners, property, and liability insurance for both personal and business uses
  • Identify the sources of identity theft, review a consumers credit report, and utilize debt management techniques
  • Demonstrate an understanding of social insurance programs such as the Social Security benefits system

HS 321 Fundamentals of Income Taxation

This course examines the federal income tax system with particular emphasis on the taxation of individuals. The topics covered in this course include the fundamentals of income taxation, the taxation of income generated from personal, professional, and investment related activities, deductions, credits, basis rules, depreciation, the taxation of capital assets, nontaxable exchanges, passive activity loss rules, the alternative minimum tax, and the taxation of business entities.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental principles and concepts of federal income taxation
  • Compare and contrast the taxation of income generated from personal and investment activities
  • Explain the taxation of income and expenses generated from employment and profit-motivated activities
  • Understand and apply the fundamentals of deductions against adjusted gross income with emphasis on itemized deductions
  • Identify different types of tax credits and compare and contrast tax credits with tax deductions
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how basis is determined for purposes of determining taxable gains and losses, and also explain the purpose of cost recovery through various depreciation methods
  • Identify the tax advantages that certain types of business assets receive when compared to assets used for nonbusiness purposes
  • Explain how provisions in the tax code allow for tax avoidance and tax deferral through certain property exchanges
  • Explain the complexities of the passive activity loss rules along with the purpose of the alternative minimum tax system
  • Compare and contrast the tax consequences of distributions from business entities, such as partnerships, S corporations, and C corporations, to their respective owners

HS 326 Planning for Retirement Needs

This course focuses on helping businesses and individuals plan for retirement. The topics covered in this course include asset accumulation and distribution planning, qualified pension plans, qualified plan setup, administration, and termination, profit sharing plans, stock bonus and employee stock ownership plans, IRAs, SEPS, SIMPLEs, 403(b) and 457 plans, deferred compensation and nonqualified plans, Social Security benefits, and employee benefits.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Analyze the factors affecting retirement planning, such as determining the remaining work life expectancy, retirement life expectancy, annual savings needed, and understanding investment considerations
  • Understand the fundamental principles of qualified plans
  • Compare and contrast the various types of qualified pension plans and determine which is the most appropriate given the needs and goals of an employer
  • Compare and contrast profit sharing plans, stock bonus plans, and ESOPs along with the advantages and limitations of each
  • Understand the tax treatment of distributions from qualified plans
  • Describe the steps involved to install a qualified plan, requirements needed to administer a plan, and what events would call for the termination of a plan
  • Discuss the advantages, limitations, and taxation of IRAs and SEPs
  • Compare and contrast SIMPLE, 403(b), and 457 retirement plans along with the advantages and limitations of each
  • Discuss the taxation of nonqualified plans and compare and contrast Social Security claiming strategies given the impact of taxation and other limitations that may apply
  • Compare and contrast employee fringe and group benefits along with the advantages and limitations of each

HS 328 Investments

In this course, students learn about the principles of investments and their application to financial planning. The topics covered in this course include an overview of securities laws and market structure, asset classifications, the taxation of investments, risk and return, portfolio theory, investment decisions and attributions analysis, market efficiency and behavioral finance, fixed income security analysis, equity security analysis and valuation, alternative investments, investment companies, and derivative securities.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Understand the institutional framework surrounding investments, categorize investments by asset class, and evaluate the impact of taxation
  • Measure investment returns using various methodologies and quantify risk within a statistical framework
  • Apply the modern portfolio theory framework to the task of assembling portfolios and evaluating their performance
  • Evaluate portfolio performance using attribution and ratio analysis, and identify cognitive and emotional biases exhibited by investors along with their consequences
  • Understand how fixed income securities function and explain their role in structuring a well-diversified investment portfolio
  • Compare and contrast the various types of equity securities and the different ways to invest in these securities
  • Evaluate the factors that can affect the performance expectations of equity securities
  • Identify the features of valuing securities using absolute and relative valuation models, and identify different types of alternative investments, including the risks and benefits associated with this asset class
  • Identify the features of investment companies and evaluate fund selection techniques
  • Compare and contrast the features of derivative securities including forwards, futures, and options contracts

HS 330 Fundamentals of Estate Planning

This course covers various aspects of estate and gift tax planning, including the probate process, an overview of basic estate planning documents, types of property interests, transfer strategies during life and at death, the use of trusts, generation-skipping transfers, charitable giving, the use of life insurance in estate planning, special elections, and other post-mortem planning strategies.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Identify the steps in the estate planning and probate processes
  • Identify and describe the basic estate planning documents along with the advantages and limitations of each
  • Compare and contrast the most common types of property titling along with the advantages and limitations of each
  • Understand and apply the fundaments of the gift tax system and respective planning strategies
  • Identify and classify different trust arrangements and explain the advantages and limitations of each
  • Compare and contrast advanced strategies that can be used either during the life or upon death of the client
  • Understand and apply the fundamentals of the generation-skipping transfer tax system and respective planning strategies
  • Compare and contrast advanced charitable planning strategies along with the advantages and limitations of each
  • Understand and apply the fundamentals of the estate tax and respective planning strategies, and explain the benefits of the unlimited marital deduction
  • Demonstrate the advantages of using life insurance in estate planning and explain the benefits of various post-mortem planning strategies

HS 333 Personal Financial Planning: Comprehensive Case Analysis

This course applies students' knowledge and skill set in personal financial planning techniques to a comprehensive case study. Students will integrate into a prioritized comprehensive financial plan core financial planning disciplines of: -Retirement -Investment -Risk management -Income tax -Employee benefits -General principles * Students are eligible to enroll in the capstone course (HS 333) after completing the first 6 courses of the curriculum in both the CFP Certification Education Program and the ChFC program (HS 300, HS 311, HS 321, HS 326, HS 328, HS 330). HS 333 is a course designed to bring together elements from all of the previous foundation courses, and prepares students to synthesize and apply their knowledge of the financial planning process, insurance, taxation, investments, retirement, and estate planning through the delivery of a comprehensive financial plan.

HS 347 Contemporary Applications in Financial Planning

This course examines the unique challenges associated with estate planning; special needs; divorce; business succession; behavioral finance; financial plan development; and retirement planning. Up-to-date content and compelling case studies provide students with a complex yet comprehensive understanding of financial planning in these important areas.


Enhanced Online Learning: Webinar Classes Available

For select courses, a webinar study option is available for those who want a more familiar classroom feel as part of their student experience. Attend weekly classes online and ask questions in real-time. Many of these webinar classes come complete with smartphone- and tablet-ready material. 

Program Faculty

Chet Bennetts
Chet R. Bennetts

CFP® Program Director

ChFC® Program Director

Assistant Professor of Financial Planning

Larry R. Pike Chair for Insurance and Investments

Michale Finke Chief Academic Officer
Michael Finke

Professor of Wealth Management

WMCP® Program Director

Director for the Granum Center for Financial Security

Frank M. Engle Distinguished Chair in Economic Security

Adjunct Professor Steve Parrish
Steve Parrish

Adjunct Professor of Advanced Planning

Co-Director of the American College Center for Retirement Income

Professor Kevin Lynch
Kevin M. Lynch

Assistant Professor, CFP® and ChFC®

Clark/Bardes Endowed Chair in Retirement Planning and Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation

Thomas M. Brinker, Jr.

Adjunct Professor of Taxation and Special Needs Planning

ChSNC® Program Director

Professor Sophia Duffy, Associate Dean
Sophia Duffy

Associate Vice President of Curriculum Quality

Associate Professor of Business Planning


Cydney F. Albert
Cydney F. Albert

Adjunct Professor of Insurance Planning

Christopher Coles
Christopher Coles

Adjunct Professor at the American College of Financial Services teaching in the ChFC® program curriculum

Ruthann M. Driscoll

Adjunct Professor

CFP® Certification Education, ChFC®, and RICP® Programs

Ray Fallen headshot
Ray Fallen

Adjunct Instructor

Zipporah Evania

Adjunct Professor of Retirement Planning

CFP® Certification Education and ChFC® Programs

James Karthaus headshot
James Karthaus

Assistant Professor of Financial Planning

CFP® Certification Education and ChFC® Programs

Mark McLennon, Adjunct Professor of Business Planning
Mark McLennon

Adjunct Professor of Business Planning

Kimberly Turner

Adjunct Professor of Financial Planning

Audrey Snell, MBA, CFP®, RICP®, ChFC®
Audrey Snell

Assistant Professor, Academics

Steven H. Steidinger

Adjunct Professor

ChFC® Program

Andrew Zumwalt
Andrew M. Zumwalt

CFP Adjunct Professor of Taxation


A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) and a Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) do similar work in helping clients with their financial planning needs. For people looking to acquire these certifications, the practical difference is in the coursework and exam structure. CFP® students take a single exam at the end of all coursework from the CFP Board, while ChFC® students take tests upon completion of each course from The American College of Financial Services. Because these two designations share a core of seven common courses, CFP® professionals and those who have completed the required CFP® certification education coursework are just one course away from ChFC®.

View our ChFC vs. CFP course comparison chart to see how these courses overlap — and how you can earn multiple designations faster.

Students should expect to spend 7-12 hours per week for each course in the CFP® (or ChFC® program). Each course contains 10 weeks worth of material.

Note: The course content for Personal Pathway™ courses is required to be completed in 10 weeks.

Learning shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach, and working professionals shouldn’t have to choose between their education and their career. With Personal Pathway®, you can tailor your coursework to your busy schedule, all with the convenience of accessing materials and resources anytime and from anywhere. Choose from:

  • A structured, guided 14-week learning path with timed, benchmarked objectives
  • A true self-study experience you can customize to your learning goals and pace

Personal Pathway™ is a unique, state-of-the-art, and responsive e-learning experience. Powerful features include:

  • Flexible, yet structured and customizable learning paths
  • Cutting-edge digital course resources accessible from anywhere and from any device
  • Engaging online webinars and discussion forums 
  • Interactive lesson reviews, weekly office hours with instructors, and more
  • One flat tuition rate, regardless of the options you choose

Upon enrolling in each ChFC® course, students have 10 weeks to complete all of the required course requirements.  Upon completion of all of the coursework a 4 week exam window opens for the student to schedule, prepare and take their exam.    

Tuition includes all fees, your final exam, and course materials. For a complete listing, view the Tuition & Fees section.

Program tuition can be paid on a per-course basis, or packaged together as a program for a reduced rate, with multiple options available. To see our current tuition rate and options, view the Tuition and Fees section.

We are proud to offer scholarship opportunities for qualifying active-duty military personnel, veterans, and spouses. For more information, visit our Center for Veterans Affairs.

There are no prerequisites required to take ChFC® courses other than a high school diploma or the equivalent; you may begin at any time. However, in order to be awarded the designation, you must have at least three years of experience in financial planning or a related profession. For more information, view our Designation Requirements page.

To enroll in the ChFC® program, contact an admissions advisor at 888-263-7265 or enroll online.

Yes. The coursework can be done in a continuing education format at your own pace, although there is a limited timeframe to complete all coursework.  The CE credit value of ChFC® courses depends upon your individual state. For more information, see our CE Credit Listing page or check your state’s guidelines.

The ChFC® and CFP® certification are both general financial planning certifications and demonstrate the certificant has expertise in the foundational issues all planners face when working with clients. 

This similarity is demonstrated most notably in the education requirement for each certificate: all seven of The College’s CFP® Certification Education Program courses are also courses in the ChFC® program. Many students take the eighth course in the ChFC® program and sit for the CFP® exam to earn both certifications.

Another similarity is that both certifications require 6,000 hours of financial planning experience within five years of meeting the other requirements. In addition, both have ethics and continuing education (CE) requirements to keep the certificate active.

While their education requirements are similar, there are differences between the ChFC® and CFP® certification requirements. As mentioned above, the ChFC® program includes an eighth course, Contemporary Issues in Financial Planning. Through this course, ChFC® students learn about specialized fields of financial planning, including planning for blended families, divorcees, and more fields that are not included in the CFP® Certification Education Program curriculum.

Another major difference is the board exam requirement. After completing all necessary education and preparation, an aspiring CFP® professional is required to take a thorough exam overseen by the CFP® Board. Unlike CFP® certification, however, there is not a comprehensive board exam to pass to earn your ChFC®

A bachelor's degree from a recognized institution or university in any discipline is also required to receive the CFP® certification. ChFC® candidates, in contrast, do not need a bachelor’s degree.