Capstone Alternative Program

Capstone Alternative Program

Self-study options for select CFP® students.

The CFP Board, which administers CFP® certification, maintains a Capstone Alternative Program allowing students with certain academic degrees or professional credentials – including ChFC®, CLU®, or a PhD in business or economics —  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 CFP® certification education.

What makes the Capstone Alternative Program different?

Participating in the Capstone Alternative Program is distinct from the standard CFP® certification education 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 Capstone Alternative 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 Capstone Alternative Program must have a Certificate of Eligibility from CFP Board stating their ability to enroll in the alternative program. (See below.)

Students participating in the Capstone Alternative Program work directly with a dedicated grading faculty of charismatic CFP® 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 Capstone Alternative 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 Capstone Alternative Program, the CFP Board requires that students complete four steps:

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

How to enroll:

Eligible students may enroll by calling 888-263-7265. Note that online enrollment for the CFP® capstone self-study is not available.

Call a Professional Education Counselor to learn more and enroll in HS 333 self-study. 

Have questions?