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Personal Financial Planning Certificate Program

Financial advising is expected to be one of the faster-growing occupations over the next decade, with a projected growth rate of 27 percent through 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Financial adviser salaries are above average — median annual wages were $67,520 in 2012.

The financial planning field remains on an upward swing. A growing need for objective financial planning advice provides a great opportunity for those already in the financial services industry and for those contemplating a new career. A growing number of people are also beginning to manage their own portfolios, so must improve their knowledge of financial analysis and portfolio development. Learn to define and meet goals through smart financial resources management. Gain the knowledge to analyze and provide advice on all aspects of financial planning.

This CFP® Board-Registered Program is designed specifically to cover the body of knowledge needed to prepare for the CFP®Certification Examination. The public’s growing need for objective financial planning advice, combined with the rigorous standards demanded of CFP® cerficants, has placed the CFP® certification at the forefront of the financial planning profession.

About the Program:

Gain practical knowledge that matters

  • Acquire the expertise necessary to be a practitioner in the financial planning industry
  • Gain practical as well as academic experience
  • Enhance your knowledge and build on the experience you already have in the financial services industry
  • Broaden your opportunities by networking with other financial services professionals

Program Director

Chase Armer, M.S., CFP®, EA, is a co-owner of Planned Solutions, Inc., a Sacramento-based financial planning and investment advisory firm. Armer holds several professional designations including Certified Financial PlannerTM Practitioner, Chartered Financial Analyst® and Enrolled Agent. Armer is a past president of the Financial Planning Association of Northern California.

Designed for professionals like you

This program is designed for professionals already in the financial services industry, such as bankers, accountants, stockbrokers and attorneys who want to expand their knowledge and abilities. It is also appropriate for people interested in beginning a new career as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ or those who would like to augment their knowledge of financial planning.

UC Davis Extension does not certify individuals to use the CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and  ® certification marks. CFP® certification is granted only by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., to those persons who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP® Board-Registered Program, have met its ethical, experiential and examination requirements.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., owns the marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and  ®, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Estimated Cost:

Tuition for the entire Personal Financial Planning Certificate Program is $6,385 to $6,760, depending on when you enroll. The certificate application fee ($45), textbooks and parking are not included in the tuition fee. A bachelor's degree, in any discipline, is required to attain the CFP® certificate. For detailed information, visit www.cfp.net.

Program Requirements:

Courses may be taken individually or as part of a certificate program. Participants will be awarded a certificate in Personal Financial Planning upon the successful completion of 27 required units.

Transfer Credit

As a "next step" on your career path, UC Davis Extension has established an articulation agreement with California Lutheran University's (CLU) California Institute of Finance. CLU will accept 15 units from the UC Davis Extension Personal Financial Planning Certificate Program as credit toward their MBA in Financial Planning. For more details on the articulation, contact Cindy Grether, program manager at CLU at cgrether@clunet.edu or (805) 493-3678.


"The Personal Financial Planning classes from UC Davis Extension helped me become a more knowledgeable financial adviser, and gave me the quality of education essential to passing the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® exam. My UC Davis Extension Personal Financial Planning certificate is framed under the same glass as my CFP® certificate, because education is one of the most important parts of being able to use the designation. I am as proud of it as I am of being a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional."

Amanda Johnson, Financial Planner

"The UC Davis Extension Personal Financial Planning Certificate Program was an obvious choice for me. I was looking to change careers and going to school one night a week was manageable. I had considered online programs, but UC Davis offered more. Not only were the instructors experienced financial professionals, but so were many of my fellow students."

Elaine Webb, EA

Quarterly schedule of courses

Introduction to Financial Planning and Analysis4.5CC
Investments in Personal Financial Planning4.0C
Retirement and Employment Benefits Planning3.5C
Risk Management in Personal Financial Planning3.5C
Income Taxation in Personal Financial Planning3.5C
Estate Planning3.5CC
Financial Plan Development and Presentation4.5C
F=Fall W=Winter SP=Spring SU=Summer; Schedules subject to change.
O = Online C = Classroom OC = Online and Classroom H = Hybrid

Required Courses

4.5 quarter units academic credit X420.19

Develop the foundational, technical and mathematical skills you need as a personal financial planner and to successfully complete the Personal Financial Planning Certificate Program.

Gain a comprehensive understanding of the financial planning process and ethical requirements for the various personal financial planning disciplines, including:

  • Taxation
  • Investment analysis
  • Insurance
  • Employee benefits
  • Debt/cash flow management
  • Estate planning
This course is not currently scheduled.
4.0 quarter units academic credit X420.5

Gain in-depth, practical knowledge of both U.S. and international investments. Learn about valuation techniques, expected rates of return, yield curves, fundamental and technical analyses, and portfolio construction and management. Specifically, you will examine:

  • Alignment of financial goals and risk tolerance
  • Client assessment
  • Types of risk
  • Investment environments
  • Securities markets
  • Regulatory environment
  • Investment theories and strategies
  • Types of investment vehicles
  • Municipal bonds and mutual funds

You will also acquire a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of stocks, bonds and U.S. government securities.

This course is not currently scheduled.
3.5 quarter units academic credit X420.8

Gain an understanding of fiduciary responsibility requirements in connection with retirement plans, as well as how to evaluate taxation of benefits received and alternatives in choosing the appropriate plan. 

Learn to evaluate qualified plans such as pension and profit sharing, 401(k), 403(b) and Employee Stock Ownership. Examine individual retirement alternatives, including traditional and Roth IRA, SEP and SIMPLE IRA programs as well as group medical plans, cafeteria, disability, stock options and nonqualified deferred compensation.

This course is not currently scheduled.
3.5 quarter units academic credit X420.7

Gain an understanding of risk management, primarily in the areas of life annuity, health, casualty and liability insurance. Learn to determine insurance needs, evaluate various insurance plans and assess contract selection criteria from a cost/benefit standpoint. Topics include alternative methods of funding insurance premiums, the role of insurance in retirement and estate planning, and the role of property and casualty insurance in the business environment.

This course is not currently scheduled.
3.5 quarter units academic credit X420.6

Learn to recognize the many opportunities for successful income tax planning, as well as the occasional dilemmas that arise in personal financial planning. Focus on the interrelation of the more common income tax rules, regulations and planning techniques applicable to individuals, tax shelters and corporations. Topics include income, deductions, real estate and tax shelters; retirement plans; rates and credits; sales and exchanges; corporations and planning vis-à-vis the individual shareholders; and employees, partnerships and sub-chapter S corporations.

Sections of this course open for enrollment:
3.5 quarter units academic credit X420.9

Learn what all accountants, trust officers, attorneys, life insurance underwriters and financial planners need to know to solve estate planning problems. Examine tax objectives, business interests, the unlimited marital deduction and saving the "second tax." Acquire the knowledge to advise on holding title to property, lifetime gifts and trusts, wills and living trusts, life insurance and annuities and post-death tax and legal problems. Review recent tax law changes. 

There is a reading assignment due for the first class meeting: Chapters 1, 2 and 3.

This course is not currently scheduled.
4.5 quarter units academic credit X420.12

This capstone to the Personal Financial Planning Certificate Program helps you integrate the knowledge gained from previous classes into an indepth understanding of your clients’ needs and increases your comprehension of the content found in prior program courses. Using the financial planning process, you will learn to:

  • Gather and analyze data within the context of clients’ goals
  • Evaluate the impact of economic, political, ethical and regulatory issues
  • Synthesize client recommendations
  • Communicate your findings both orally and in writing
  • Assist clients in implementing their plans 

Learn to create individualized plans and achieve client objectives, so they move toward their financial life goals. Through case studies and collaboration, apply what you have learned from the other financial planning courses.

This course is not currently scheduled.

Declare Your Candidacy Now

Declare your candidacy for the Personal Financial Planning Certificate Program and pay the $45 candidacy fee to receive these benefits:

  • Lock in the program requirements (which are otherwise subject to change).
  • Track your progress in the program in your student account.
  • Work with a program adviser to answer your questions and help you navigate through the program.

Apply Now