Candidates to become certified financial planners can take an online exam for the designation this fall, joining those who are now able to take financial licensing tests remotely as a result of social distancing related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. announced Thursday that it will add a remote proctoring option for CFP exams scheduled for Sept. 22-29.
The online exams are being offered in addition to in-person tests at testing centers run by Prometric, the firm that administers the CFP exam. Eligible CFP candidates can take exams remotely if they are located more than 50 miles from a Prometric center or have health concerns and meet technology requirements. Test takers will be monitored remotely via audio and video.
“The health and safety of our stakeholders has been paramount as CFP Board has considered how best to continue our examination program during this uncertain time,” CFP Board Chief Executive Kevin Keller said in a statement. “We believe that a remote proctoring option for candidates who have health conditions and other situations that may prohibit them from safely visiting a testing center will support their goal of becoming CFP® professionals and protect public health. We will work closely with Prometric to ensure the same high level of integrity and security for the CFP® exam.”
In May, the CFP Board postponed exams originally scheduled for this month until September. It plans to offer remote proctoring for exams scheduled for Nov. 3-10 as well. More than 8,000 people take the CFP exam annually.
Earlier this week, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. and the North American Securities Administrators Association announced that candidates and financial firms can begin scheduling remote exams for Finra’s Securities Industries Essential test as well as the Series 6, 7, 63, 65 and 66 exams.
The organizations delayed scheduling online exams earlier in the year as they worked kinks out of the system. They expect high demand for exams given the restrictions on test taking this year due to social distancing.
“Online appointments will be limited initially so we can monitor program performance under increased volume and adjust if necessary,” Finra said in a statement on its website. “We expect to be able to increase appointment availability during the months of July and August.”
Brian Marks, president of Knopman Marks Financial Training, anticipated more test-taking disruption when test centers shut down at the beginning of the pandemic in March. But the reality has been much more workable.
“Most people have been able to schedule exams within a week or two of the when they wanted an exam date,” Marks said. “Plus, now, you can schedule an online exam, which will help even more.”
Test takers will have to change their habits to fit the online environment, where they are not able to return to previous questions or use scratch paper and calculators. Marks is confident they’ll adjust.
“I think people will become very comfortable very fast,” he said. “I think it’s going to be very popular.”
Increased online testing likely will be a lasting legacy of the pandemic.
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