April 23, 2023

Financial planning has become increasingly important in Canada, and many people are looking to obtain financial planning designations to advance their careers. Two of the most popular designations in Canada are the QAFP and the CFP. Although they may seem similar, some key differences between them set them apart.

Education Level for QAFP and CFP

One of the main differences between the QAFP and the CFP is the level of education required to obtain the designation. To become a QAFP, candidates must complete a minimum of a high school diploma, along with 2 years college diploma and a QAFP education program. The QAFP education program is designed to provide a broad-based knowledge of financial planning concepts. You can expect the program to cover topics such as financial planning fundamentals, taxation, retirement planning, and estate planning. Conversely, to become a CFP, candidates must have a 3 years bachelor’s degree, complete a CFP education program, and have three years of relevant work experience. You’ll need at least 10 years of relevant work experience if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree.


Another difference between the QAFP and the CFP is the cost of obtaining the designation. The QAFP education program is less expensive than the CFP education program. This makes it a more affordable option for those who are just starting their careers in financial planning. This cost difference may be a factor for some individuals in deciding which designation to pursue.

Professional Development CE Requirements

In addition to the differences in education and cost, the QAFP and CFP also have different requirements for ongoing professional development. QAFPs must complete 12 hours of continuing education every year. Meanwhile, CFPs must complete 25 hours of continuing education every two years. This difference in requirements for ongoing professional development may be a consideration for those who value continuous learning and staying up to date with the latest developments in the financial planning industry.

Scope of Practice

One significant difference between the QAFP and the CFP is the scope of practice for each designation. QAFPs are qualified to provide financial planning advice on a limited range of topics. These topics include cash flow management, debt management, retirement planning, and tax planning. CFPs, on the other hand, are qualified to provide advice on a much wider range of topics, including investment planning, insurance planning, and estate planning. This difference in scope of practice may be a factor for those who want to specialize in certain areas of financial planning or who want to provide a more comprehensive range of financial planning services to their clients.

QAFP and CFP Career Paths

In terms of career paths, the QAFP and CFP can both lead to exciting and rewarding careers in financial planning. However, the CFP is generally considered to be the gold standard in the financial planning industry. Those with the designation can expect to see more opportunities and doors opening in the future. This may be a consideration for those looking to advance their careers or seeking greater recognition within the financial planning industry.

Ultimately, the choice between the QAFP and the CFP will depend on individual career goals and aspirations. Some individuals may prefer the QAFP for its affordability and more limited scope of practice. In contrast, others may prefer the CFP for its prestige, comprehensive scope of practice, and potential career opportunities. Regardless of choice, both designations require dedication, hard work, and ongoing professional development to maintain the highest standards of excellence in the financial planning industry.


In conclusion, the QAFP and the CFP are both financial planning designations in Canada that require rigorous training and education. While they share some similarities, key differences exist between the two designations, including education requirements, cost, scope of practice, professional development, and career paths. Both designations have their own unique strengths and benefits, and the choice between them ultimately depends on individual preferences and career goals. However, regardless of which designation one chooses, the financial planning industry in Canada offers many exciting and rewarding career opportunities. Those who are dedicated, hardworking, and committed to maintaining the highest standards of excellence in their profession can find success and fulfillment in this field.


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