Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) Certification Education

An Investment With a Return. The Certified Financial Planner Certification Education program teaches the core curriculum necessary to meet the educational requirement to sit for the CFP examination, including completion of a financial plan development (capstone) course registered with the CFP Board. 

Offered in classroom and online formats, learn the required curriculum to sit for the CFP exam. This course is taught by high-quality instructiors and students who successfully complete this course may earn a Rice Certificate of Achievement. 

To become certified, the CFP Board requires you to meet the following four initial certification requirements. Visit the CFP Board for details on the initial certification requirements (known as the 4 "Es"). CPAs, CFAs, ChFCs, CLUs and others may be able to take the exam on challenge status. Please visit the CFP Board's Education Requirements for a full description of challenge status qualifications.


Section Instructor Format Schedule start date
PCFP1001.S18.1 Andrea K. Freedman, Nelson Gonzalez, John L. Wilson, David Donnelly, Andrew Lewis, Joseph R. Birkofer, Jillian Nel, Jason Danziger On-campus 6-9 p.m. Central time Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Instructor: Andrea K. Freedman

Andrea K. Freedman, CFP®, is an independent financial advisor for IMS Securities, where she conducts in-depth reviews of each client’s financial circumstances and goals. She has approximately 20 years experience specializing in financial planning and asset management. Her expertise extends into areas of retirement and education planning, asset allocation, investment selection and risk tolerance analysis. She has NASD Series 7, 63, 65 and 31 licenses. Ms. Freedman holds a B.S. in communications from The University of Texas at Austin. 


Nelson Gonzalez, MS, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Advisor for Amicus Financial Advisors LLC. Nelson graduated from Texas Tech University with his Masters degree in Personal Financial Planning. He holds a CFP®, a Texas insurance license for Life, Accident, Health and HMO. Additionally he holds his Series 66, and is currently in the process of obtaining his RSP (Registered Settlement Planner). Before joining Amicus Financial Advisors LLC as an Investment Advisor Representative, he served as a paraplanner for two and a half years. He now serves high net worth clientele and lawsuit settlement recipients in the Houston, TX area. Nelson also serves the citizens of Houston as a Houston Firefighter/ EMT and provides pro bono financial education to firefighters he meets in the firehouses and stations when on duty. Nelson holds his Emergency Medical Technician License and State Firefighters License.



John L. Wilson, CFP®, CPA, helps high-net-worth families better achieve their financial goals using the six-step CFP financial planning process. He works with his clients to develop a holistic plan that integrates financial independence, investment, business and estate planning. He designs and implements multi-million dollar portfolios for his clients. Prior to his current role as an advisor to individuals, Mr. Wilson worked in various positions in the sales, marketing and trading of derivatives including swaps, caps, futures, options and other derivative instruments for several Fortune 500 companies. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Rice University.

David Donnelly is the Tax Director in the Houston office of Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC, which is one of the top-25 accounting firms in the country, with more than 30 offices in 9 states. Previously David was the Tax Director of Gainer, Donnelly LLC, a local Houston accounting firm. David has more than 30 years of experience providing tax planning services for clients with an emphasis in real estate and tax planning in the greater Houston, Texas, area. In addition to a generalist practice, his industries of focus encompass professional service firms and real estate investors, developers, and brokers. David serves on the Federal Tax Policy Committee for the TSCPA, the TSCPA Board of Directors, and the HCPAS Board of Directors.

Andrew Lewis, J.D., MBA, is a partner in Lewis and Lewis PLLC. He has approximately 15 years of experience as an attorney and judge, practicing in the areas of litigation, contract law, estate planning and probate, business planning, arbitration and mediation. Previously, he served as a county judge in Cobb County, Georgia, as well as deputy director for the Supreme Court of Georgia, Office of Dispute Resolution. He has experience teaching professionals in government, corporate and university settings. Mr. Lewis is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the State Bar of Georgia. He is board certified in estate planning and probate by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He holds a JD from Tulane University, an MBA from Emory University and a B.A. from Rice University.

Joseph R. Birkofer, CFP®, is principal and founder of Legacy Asset Management in Houston. A consultant to individual and corporate clients for the evaluation of retirement plans, Birkofer also works with plan sponsors to improve communications, monitor investment performance and streamline administration. As a certified financial planner professional and a registered investment advisor, he helps clients concentrate on financial planning and asset allocation. Prior to founding Legacy Asset Management, he served as a trust officer with Texas Commerce Bank. An active member of the community, Birkofer serves on local boards including The Periwinkle Foundation and The Houston Society of Financial Service Professionals. He has been published in or provided commentary for the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Business Journal, Benefits & Compensation Solutions and local radio and television shows. Mr. Birkofer earned his B.S. degree in foreign service from Georgetown University and his MBA from The University of Texas at Austin. He has several securities licenses, including the NASD Series 7, 24, 27, 63 and 65, as well as various insurance licenses. 

Jillian Nel, CFP®, CDFA is the director of financial planning for Legacy Asset Management in Houston.  She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) and was hired by Legacy in 2011 to open and direct a financial planning practice for the firm. Ms. Nel and her team provide comprehensive financial planning and risk management to individual clients, business owners and their families. She also provides consulting and advisory services for the Qualified Retirement Plan practice of the firm to business owners, plan administrators, and participants. 

Ms. Nel has a passion for education and the empowerment it provides to both clients and the general public. She regularly speaks at financial planning seminars and employee educational meetings on how goal setting and risk management is essential for success in any financial planning scenario. She contributes commentary regularly to financial planning articles and was featured on the cover of the Retirement Advisor magazine in March 2015 as a dually licensed advisor and for the Women in Insurance cover feature in October 2015. Ms. Nel has also served as an instructor of Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits for this program since March 2013 and continues to teach on a regular basis. 
Ms. Nel has the Series 7 & 66 securities license, as well as the Series 24, general securities principal, and is licensed as a general lines insurance agent for the State of Texas. Ms. Nel received a B.S. in business administration from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She earned the CFP® designation in 2011 and became a CFDA in 2015.  
She is an active member of the Financial Planning Association, the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce and serves on the board of the Women’s Finance Exchange. Ms. Nel also serves the community thru charitable efforts. She is a member of the Corporate Guild for Dress for Success Houston and an active member of Women of Wardrobe. She is on the board of directors for the Women’s Fund, the board of directors for the HER Foundation that supports the Women's Fund and the advisory board of directors for the Periwinkle Foundation, all local Houston charities. 

Jason Danziger, CFP®, CPA, is a vice president with Goldman Sachs, where he works with clients and their own advisors to help achieve long-term goals using a variety of income tax, gifting and estate planning techniques. Prior to his current role, he assisted clients in the Texas region with the construction of comprehensive financial plans and general income tax and estate planning advice. Before joining Goldman Sachs, Mr. Danziger was a financial planner and assistant vice president for a regional trust company in Houston. He began his career in public accounting, specializing in tax compliance for flow-through entities and oil and gas companies. He holds a B.S.B.A. in finance and accounting from Washington University of St. Louis and an M.P.A. in tax from The University of Texas at Austin, as well as the Series 7 and 66 licenses.

Term: Spring/Summer 2018

Start Date: Jan. 09, 2018

End Date: Dec. 13, 2018

Schedule: 6-9 p.m. Central time

Length: Tuesdays and Thursdays (no class May 25- Aug. 9 and Nov. 22)

Location: Rice campus

Fee: $5,175 Fee does not include cost of textbooks, approximately $900. A textbook list and ordering instructions will be provided after registration for the program.

Early Registration: $4,875 if registering by Dec. 6, 2017

CEUs: 22.8

CPEs: 272

  • Financial Planners
  • Accountants
  • Investment advisors
  • Stockbrokers
  • Trust officers
  • Attorneys
  • Bankers
  • Retirement or benefits specialists
  • Insurance agents
  • Investors


Attention CPAs:

We have registered with the Texas State Board of Accountancy (Registration no. 600) to meet the requirements of the continuing professional education rules covering maintenance of attendance records, retention of program outlines, qualifications of instructors, program content, physical facilities and length of class hours. This registration agreement does not constitute an endorsement by the Board as to the quality of the program or its contribution to the professional competence of the licensee.

Rice University is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website learningmarket.org.

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

The Glasscock School of Continuing Studies at Rice University does not certify individuals to use the CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame logo). CFP® certification is granted solely by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. to individuals who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met ethics, experience and examination requirements.


Search for a job using the CFP Board Career Center.

General Principles

CPEs: 33.5      CEUs: 2.8
This course provides an overview of the financial planning process and the economic and legal environments in which it takes place, the time value of money, analysis of financial statements, and the code of ethics and professional responsibility to which practitioners must adhere.

Objectives: Upon completion, students are able to:

  • Perform time value of money calculations by understanding the underlying concepts and utilizing technology
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the inter-relatedness of insurance, investments, retirement planning, income tax, and estate planning in the financial planning process and how the changing economic environment affects that process
  • Identify and quantify debt management and education planning objectives as well as overall financial objectives of a client through evaluation of financial statements and other data. Assess deficiencies, recommend corrections, and develop and maintain a financial plan
  • Articulate the code of ethics and professional responsibility to which practitioners must adhere plus the Financial Planning Practice Standards employed during each step of the Financial Planning process

Insurance and Risk Management

CPEs: 30             CEUs: 2.8
This course will give an overview of risk assessment and the management of risk through a variety of insurance instruments.

Objectives: Upon completion students will be able to:

  • Communicate the concepts of risk assessment in a manner understandable to clients
  • Address the broad range of insurance instruments and how they may be evaluated and employed to manage the risk of loss of income and risks associated with property ownership and legal liabilities
  • Incorporate insurance into a client’s overall financial plan
  • Understand the ethical aspects of insurance advising

Investment Planning

CPEs: 40.5              CEUs: 3.4
This course will provide an overview of investment terminology, the fundamentals of investing including the efficient market hypothesis, the role of financial intermediaries, securities trading, risk, and portfolio theory. Special attention will be paid to the analysis and selection of common stocks and fixed income securities.

Objectives: Upon completion students will be able to:

  • Assess a client’s risk tolerance and exposure to determine which investments provide the best approach to reach objectives of the client’s financial plan
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of common stock and fixed income securities and the variety of ways these instruments may be analyzed
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of riskier vehicles such as options, commodities, and financial futures
  • Utilize a wide range of resources to evaluate various investment vehicles and strategies
  • Employ the concepts of portfolio planning and management to provide diversification to a client’s portfolio with sensitivity to tax considerations
  • Explain the taxation of investment vehicles
  • Apply the ethical aspects of investment advising in their practice

Income Taxation Planning

CPEs: 40.5              CEUs: 3.4
This course will give an overview of the federal tax system and its impact on financial planning for individuals and business entities.

Objectives: Upon completion students will be able to:  

  • Access and apply the resources that are required to meet the challenge of annual changes to the tax code
  • Explain income taxation fundamentals, tax consequences, and tax computations
  • Identify the options available to individuals and business owners for reducing their tax burdens while preserving their wealth accumulation strategies
  • Recognize the ethical and legal implications of tax advising

Retirement and Employee Benefits Planning

CPEs: 40.5              CEUs: 3.4
This course will introduce and explore the concepts involved in developing retirement and employee benefit plans from both the employer and employee perspectives. Participants will study the legislation that impacts plan design and the tax advantages and disadvantages of various qualified and non-qualified plans including IRAs and pension and profit sharing plans. Also addressed will be Federal Social Security, Medicare, and employer-sponsored health and welfare plans.

Objectives: Upon completion students will be able to:

  • Define and differentiate between the types of plans that can be developed
  • Analyze a client’s financial health and develop the most advantageous retirement and employee benefit options to meet the long-term needs expressed in the overall financial plan
  • Identify the needs and objectives of businesses to determine the best design for their employee retirement and benefit plans

Estate Planning

CPEs: 40.5              CEUs: 3.4
This course will provide students with an understanding of the basic concepts and constraints of estate and gift tax planning as the primary method of orderly and intentional wealth transfer. They will learn the major strategies employed by practitioners when developing estate plans.

Objectives: Upon completion students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of wills, trusts, and estates 
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of the concepts of risk management, insurance, portfolio management, retirement planning, and taxation and how they are synthesized in the estate and gift tax planning process
  • Analyze and evaluate a client’s financial and non-financial status and goals in order to develop, communicate, and implement the most advantageous estate and gift tax plan

Financial Plan Development Course

CPEs: 46.5              CEUs: 3.9
This capstone course will provide students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge they have gained through the curriculum in a synthesized manner. Included in this course is a module on improving communications with clients. One class will be devoted to a presentation on how to use the financial planning process to set client expectations and answer any questions or concerns clients have before agreeing to a financial planning engagement.  

Objectives: Upon completion students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the content found within the financial planning curriculum and effectively apply and integrate this information in the formulation of a financial plan  
  • Effectively communicate the financial plan, both orally and in writing, including information based on research, peers, colleague or simulated client interaction and/or results emanating from synthesis of material
  • Collect all necessary and relevant qualitative and quantitative information required to develop a financial plan
  • Analyze personal financial situations, evaluating clients’ objectives, needs, and values to develop an appropriate strategy within the financial plan
  • Demonstrate logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches to a specific problem
  • Evaluate the impact of economic, political, and regulatory issues with regard to the financial plan
  • Evaluate the impact of economic, political, and regulatory issues with regard to the financial plan
  • Apply the CFP Board Financial Planning Practice Standards to the financial planning process

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements.

The Glasscock School of Continuing Studies at Rice University does not certify individuals to use the CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame logo). CFP® certification is granted solely by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. to individuals who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met ethics, experience and examination requirements.

Rice Certificate of Achievement

Whether you choose the classroom or online format, you will complete seven, consecutive courses in approximately nine months in preparation for the exam. Each course offers a series of quizzes, a mid-term exam, and a final exam, which are delivered online outside of regular class hours. Upon successful completion of each course with a grade of at least 70, students will be awarded a Rice University Certificate of Achievement, which fulfills the educational requirements to apply and sit for the CFP examination. The exam is administered by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. Completion of the Rice CFP Graduate Certificate Program does not guarantee success on the CFP Certification Examination. Individuals preparing for the exam should consider an exam preparation course.

“The Rice CFP Certification Education program exceeded all of my expectations. It was very well organized with top notch instructors, and provided me with a rigorous review of all of the topics in preparation for the exam. For anyone interested in sitting for the CFP exam, I would highly recommend enrolling in Rice’s program.”
, CMT, Vice President-Investments at Houston Trust Company

“The CFP Certification Education program at Rice was very rigorous, but with such interesting topics it was also enjoyable. I appreciated the experience that each instructor was able to share as they were all actively working in the respective fields they presented on and had real world experiences to relate the material to. I certainly recommend this program to anyone wanting to pursue financial planning. It will prepare you with a solid foundation to then study for and sit for the CFP exam.”
- Vivecca A. Hartman, CPA, CFP, Principal & Accounting Manager at Fayez Sarofiim & Co.

“As a career changer, the CFP Certification Education program at Rice University provided practical and rigorous preparation for a career in the financial services industry. The program instructors were both knowledgeable and accessible and did an outstanding job of preparing me for the CFP exam.”

Students in most professional development programs must have access to a computer and the Internet to complete the coursework required to earn the Certificate of Achievement.


Minimum System Requirements for Online Courses

The online courses are delivered through Blackboard Collaborate. Before you get started in a Blackboard Collaborate session, you should ensure that your computer is able to support the needs of the collaboration environment. As a first-time user, to test whether your computer is ready to access Blackboard Collaborate, visit https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Participant and click on “How do I get started”.


Connecting to Blackboard Ultra

Students in online format courses must have the following:

  • Headset or earbuds with a microphone attached to your computer
  • High-speed Internet connection (Ethernet preferable)
  • Google Chrome or FireFox (versions 49+) installed on your computer*

Blackboard Ultra can be accessed on a mobile device. The Blackboard app is available on iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices. Join the webinar directly from your session link in Canvas — the app will open automatically. Please be sure to use your earbuds or headphones, as your built-in speakers may cause echoes during the recorded session.



Kindle Fire

Financial assistance information can be found on Rice Financial Aid's Visiting and Continuing Education Students page.