FSCP®

Young advisor working with a client

Get the foundational knowledge you need to establish your practice and provide financial guidance to your clients. FSCP® uses an active learning approach that enables students to translate knowing into doing and information into results.


PROGRAM AT A GLANCE

Tuition

$550 per course, $180 for a required ethics course

Timing

Complete in 14 months

Format

Hybrid (option for 100% online or mix of online and live classes)

Learning Outcomes

Master the foundational skills and knowledge needed to build a successful financial practice, including:

  • How to identify, market to, and build relationships with prospective and existing clients using target marketing principles 

  • How to uncover client needs and identify solutions to them

  • How to make ethical decisions

  • Knowledge of current financial products used in the financial services industry 

  • Knowledge of major financial planning areas

WHAT IS THE FSCP® Designation?

The Financial Services Certified Professional® (FSCP®) designation offers the most essential product knowledge, and marketing and planning skills training available to financial services professionals today. In addition, our program flexibility allows you to set your own path as you lay the foundation for career-long learning and growth.

 

WHY CHOOSE THE FSCP®?

 

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Fully Customizable Curriculum Offerings

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Emphasis on Product Knowledge and Marketing Principles

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Fundamental and Foundation Financial Services Education

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Transform Knowing Into Doing

Program Details

Educational Requirements

There is no education prerequisite needed to take FSCP® courses; however, to receive the FSCP® designation, you must complete a total of seven (7) courses, consisting of five (5) elective courses of your choice and two (2) core courses.

The passing requirements for FSCP® courses involve a gated exam; that is, you first must meet the following eligibility requirements to sit for the final exam:

  • Attend at least 6 of the 8 class sessions. Missing more than 20 minutes of class time is counted as an absence.

  • Obtain a 70% or better on the Moderator’s Grade, which consists of the average of your average quiz, project, and class participation grades.

You must then take the course’s final exam and score a 70% or higher to pass the course and receive state continuing education (CE) credits (if they are available and you apply for them). For FA 290, only the final exam requirement applies.

Students will take each final exam online in the physical presence of an eligible proctor. Make sure to follow all of the continuing education requirements for your state. Guidelines for taking the exam and instructions for registering an exam proctor are found online in Brightspace. The registered proctor will receive exam login credentials once the student has met the exam eligibility requirements. Students have four (4) weeks from the last class to take their final exam.

Tuition & Fees

All Elective Courses and FP 99: $550 per course

FA 290: $180

Your tuition for each course includes a weekly online class facilitated by an experienced moderator and access to Brightspace, where you will engage with all required study materials, assignments, and your final examination. In some instances, there are live classes open to all students. They are held in different locations around the country. See our website for a listing of live classes. Also, check with your company for classes it may sponsor that are exclusively for people in your company.

FSCP CURRICULUM

FSCP® courses are delivered using a facilitated and discussion-based classroom approach that focuses on application and idea-sharing. There are eight live weekly class sessions, available online and in-person (in some instances), each lasting 2 to 2.5 hours (this is determined by the moderator; however, 2 hours is the norm). Expect to spend two to three hours per week preparing for class.

 

FA 200 Techniques for Prospecting: Prospect or Perish

"Teaches advisors industry-proven methods for successfully identifying, selecting and approaching prospects for financial products and services. The course covers procedures for creating prospect awareness, target marketing concepts, and prospect qualification and prioritization techniques. Students learn how to overcome the psychological barriers to prospecting and innovative approaches to setting income and activity goals. Strategic, tactical and operational business planning processes are presented in detail, along with effective contact management systems. In addition, practice management concepts, professionalism, and ethics are explored.

FA 201 Techniques for Exploring Personal Markets

Provides an in-depth look at penetrating the personal markets using the life-cycle marketing strategy and selling/planning process. Learn to segment your market into four adult life-cycle segments and recognize the common insurance and financial needs members of these market segments have. Apply this approach to new prospects and existing clients. Master basic marketing plan creation and learn to apply the life-cycle marketing strategy to your practice. Other topics covered include disability income, life, long-term care and Medicare supplement insurance; overview of investment products; special markets; and retirement and estate planning.

FA 202 Techniques for Meeting Client Needs

Offers an introduction to the life insurance sales career and the sales/planning process in the personal market. Addresses total-needs selling, the consultative selling process, and the needs for personal life insurance. Presents the skills used throughout the selling/planning process, from the initial client meeting, through fact-finding and sales presentations, to servicing and continuing a mutually profitable relationship. Presents a review of insurance products, policy provisions, underwriting and service.

FA 222 Essentials of Multiline Skills

This course provides multiline agents with a strategy for helping clients obtain the various insurance and other financial products they need to achieve their dreams and protect their income and assets. The course provides an overview for how to establish need, gather and analyze information, and develop recommendations for products in the various levels of the revised financial planning pyramid. Products discussed include: disability income insurance, life insurance, long-term care insurance, mutual funds and annuities. Retirement and estate planning are also covered.

FA 251 Essentials of Business Insurance

This course provides multiline agents with a strategy for helping clients obtain the various insurance and other financial products they need to achieve their dreams and protect their income and assets. The course provides an overview for how to establish need, gather and analyze information, and develop recommendations for products in the various levels of the revised financial planning pyramid. Products discussed include: disability income insurance, life insurance, long-term care insurance, mutual funds and annuities. Retirement and estate planning are also covered.

FA 257 Essentials of Life Insurance Products

Begins with an overview of the two basic types of life insurance policies — term and whole life — and then builds on that knowledge with an overview of the many product variations sold in today’s markets. The course also explores personal, family, and business uses of life insurance products, as well as policy illustrations, cost comparison methods, income and estate taxation, policy provisions, marketing ideas, and ethical issues facing the financial advisor. Provides a review of the selling/planning process for life insurance product solutions.

FA 261 Foundations of Retirement Planning

Guides professionals in examining the retirement planning process, fact finding, methods of analyzing facts, retirement planning software, and sales tracking. Discusses the role of Social Security, Medicare, and tax policies in retirement planning and the suitability of various accumulation vehicles, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance and annuities for retirement planning. Explains how retirement planning creates estate planning needs and addresses payout options, spousal benefits and investment strategies.

FA 290 Ethics for the Financial Services Professional

Provides a practical framework for making ethical business decisions in the financial services industry. This course examines legal, compliance and practice standards that apply to the financial services professional. It also investigates ethical approaches to placing financial products, determining suitability and assessing risk. Concludes with a final exam. The format is textbook self-study, with online exam (requires a proctor). (Students licensed in New York take paper exams.) Exam is required for state continuing education (CE) credit.

FP 99 Foundations of Financial Planning

This course provides an overview of the major planning areas that financial professionals need to understand when serving clients. It summarizes the more common financial needs and the financial products used to address them. The course outlines the big picture needed to effectively offer financial products and services that are consistent with clients’ overall financial situation and needs.

 

See the Student Resources and Policies page for comprehensive details on refunds, learning policies, guidelines, and more.

Program Director & Faculty

Professor Kirk Okumura
Kirk S. Okumura

Professor of Practice

FSCP® Program Director

O. Alfred Granum Chair in Practice Management

C.W. Copeland

Adjunct Professor of Insurance

Professor Kevin Lynch
Kevin M. Lynch

Instructor of Insurance

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

FAQs

Students can enroll through this webpage, or by contacting an Admissions Advisor at 888-263-7265.

Before each class, you will have assignments to complete in Brightspace: a reading, a quiz, some breakout questions to prepare you for the classroom, and projects. Your moderator may also assign a case study or case history to review. You will then attend a 2-hour (possibly 2.5 hours, depending on the moderator) weekly class, most likely live online. This will go on for eight weeks. If you meet the exam eligibility requirements, you will then be able to sit for the final exam. If you score a 70% or higher on the final exam, you pass the course. 

Individual course tuition is $550 per course for all electives and FP 99, while tuition for FP 290 is $180. Students can pay for all courses at once or on an individual basis.

Final exams for all FSCP® courses are accessed through Brightspace during the 4-week exam window and must be taken in the presence of an eligible proctor that the student identifies. Students must satisfy the attendance requirements and have a moderator grade of at least 70% to be eligible to take the final exam. Guidelines for taking the exam and instructions for registering an exam proctor (identified by the student) can be found online in Brightspace. Students have four weeks from the last class to take their exams.

The American College of Financial Services requires every examination to be proctored by a disinterested third party who is not the moderator, not a relative, an immediate supervisor, nor an employee of the producer, and one that has no financial or personal interest in the outcome of the examination.

Moderating a course—either in-person (live-local) or virtual—is a great way to help newer financial professionals lay the foundation for a successful practice. In addition, some of the courses can help any financial professional explore new opportunities in the financial services industry, such as retirement planning, financial planning, estate planning, or business insurance. Continue the tradition of using FSCP® to leave your mark on the next generation of financial professionals!

The FSCP® moderator’s main role is to guide and facilitate the classroom discussion. A successful class is one in which students share ideas and experiences, and learn mostly from each other—not the moderator. Effective moderators skillfully:

  • Ask thought-provoking questions.

  • Focus students on how they can apply what they learn to their practice.

  • Keep students engaged by using different learning activities and strategies.

  • Motivate students to complete readings, breakout questions, case studies, projects, and other learning activities.

  • Challenge students to reflect on their experiences so they can repeat what works and change what doesn’t work.

  • Explain concepts, when necessary.

In addition to facilitating the classroom discussion, a moderator also will:

  • Prepare for class by customizing PowerPoint slides and corresponding notes.

  • Keep track of student attendance.

  • Grade projects.

  • Evaluate students’ class participation.

A moderator must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a minimum of five years in the financial services industry, preferably in a client-facing role as an agent, advisor, planner, or other.

  • Have experience training and, ideally, facilitating discussions.

Moderating FSCP® courses provides many benefits including the following:

  • Equip new financial professionals in your company or firm with the basic marketing, prospecting, selling, and planning skills needed to succeed in this industry.

  • Take the final exam free of charge and earn designation credits (your course section must have at least five students, not including any moderators, and the offer only applies if you are the primary moderator).

  • Earn state Continuing Education (CE credits) if you take and pass the final exam (check your state for availability).

  • Hone your own skills.

Moderators teaching courses that are open enrollment (not limited to financial professionals from a specific company or firm) will be compensated as follows:

  • 5-9 students: $800 per course (minimum of 5 students required to hold a course)

  • 10-14 students: $1,000 per course

  • 15-19 students: $1,500 per course

  • 20-25 students: $2,000 per course

Moderators can also choose between leading live, local classes or real-time online sessions from their home or office.

To apply to be a moderator, send your résumé or curriculum vitae to Kirk Okumura at Kirk.Okumura@TheAmericanCollege.edu. He will contact you for an interview.

If you are accepted as a moderator, you must attend Moderator Training, a three-hour training experience designed to teach you about the FSCP® active learning approach, the logistics of running a course, as well as skills and strategies for effectively facilitating an FSCP® course.

In addition, there will be a 30-minute training session for Brightspace, The American College’s learning management system.

Completed course set-up applications must be submitted 30 days prior to the start date of the class in order for students to be able to register and receive books in time for class. This is a secure form and all of your private information is protected.

For more information, see our FSCP® Course Set-Up Application page.

The general rule for all transfers of credit is that you may receive a maximum of three (3) electives, internal and external, toward the FSCP® designation. Thus, the student must take two more electives, the Ethics course, and FP 99 (FSCP® Certification Course) to receive the FSCP®.

If you hold the LUTCF® awarded by The American College of Financial Services, you will need to take FP 99 (FSCP® Certification Course) to obtain the FSCP®. You may display both designations.

If you hold the LUTCF® awarded by The College for Financial Planning, you are eligible to receive two credits for the College for Financial Planning’s LUTCF® — one for FA 222 and the other as an elective. The transfer of credit agreement is only valid until Dec. 31, 2023.

If you hold the LUTCF® awarded by The American College of Financial Services and the FSS designation, you may apply to receive the FSCP® designation but in doing so must agree to relinquish the FSS designation. The student may display the LUTCF® and the FSCP® designations only.

If you hold the FSS designation awarded by The American College of Financial Services, you will need to complete one additional elective course that you have not previously taken, as you have already satisfied the FSCP® certification requirement.

If you have successfully passed one RICP®, ChSNC®, CLU®, ChFC®, or CFP® course, you are eligible for credit toward one elective course in the FSCP® program.

Transfer of credit for certain courses will be granted to individuals who hold the FIC or FICF designation, provided the specific course(s) identified for transfer were based on course revisions produced in April 2007 or later.

For the FIC Basic Introduction to Life Insurance, course credit will be granted for The American College’s FA 202 (Techniques for Meeting Client Needs), provided that the student has completed the FIC designation. [Holders of the FIC/FICF designations who enrolled with Kaplan beginning April 2007 or later may receive up to 60 percent or 6 credits of total credits. Confirmation letter from Kaplan is required.] Credit for The American College’s FA 271 (Foundations of Estate Planning) and/or FA 251 (Essentials of Business Insurance) courses will be granted if the student has passed the FICF Graduate I Estate Planning and/or FICF Graduate II Business Insurance Concepts courses, respectively.

For questions about transfer of credit towards the FSCP® designation, please contact us at 888-263-7265.

Program discounts and promotions are offered occasionally to our email subscribers. Scholarships are available for certain qualifying applicants. Some partner companies also offer exclusive tuition rates. For more information, check with your employer or contact our Admissions team at 888-795-6306.

How do I get a CFP® certification without a degree?

To obtain CFP® certification, you must complete a certificate program and pass the CFP® certification examination. Applicants for the CFP® certification must also hold a post-secondary degree from an accredited college or university within five years of passing the CFP® exam. 

 

Do you need a masters to be a CFP® professional?

There is no requirement to hold a masters degree in order to obtain your CFP® certification. However, candidates do require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university within five years of passing the CFP® exam.

 

Do I need a CFP® certification?

Becoming a CFP® professional is not a requirement to be a financial planner professional. However, the designation helps to distinguish you as more credible. For this reason, many financial advisors decide to complete a CFP® certification program.

 

What is harder: CPA® or CFP® certification?

Both the CPA® and CFP® certification designate you as a financial planner professional. CFP® professionals work with clients on personal financial matters, while CPA®s work with taxes and accounting. Obtaining a CPA® license takes more time than a CFP® certification, with a more vigorous testing process (a 4-section exam to be completed in an 18-month time frame).

 

Which is better: MBA or CFP® certification?

Choosing between a CFP® certification or an MBA will ultimately depend on the individual. For some, the MBA might be a better option because of their desire to continue with their studies or go into teaching. It's also dependent on what one wants out of an education. If a person is looking for further job prospects that require advanced degrees, then they may want to look at a CFP® certification instead of an MBA.

 

Are CFP® certification education courses tax-deductible?

Your expenses for a CFP® certification education program are tax-deductible. The annual CFP® certification fee is also tax-deductible so long as the certification is necessary to perform your job.