How to Become a CCPS®? | List | NICCP

CCPS® (Certified College Planning Specialist™) is the ONLY college financial planning certification and designation program in the financial industry. Since 2002, the CCPS® (Certified College Planning Specialist™) designation has been recognized by both the Certified Financial Planner CFP® Board of Standards and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants CPA® Board of Standards for continuing education credit. Each board allows 8 hours of continuing education for passing the CCPS® (Certified College Planning Specialist™) course. The CCPS® (Certified College Planning Specialist™) designation not only separates you from every other financial advisor, it also separates you from others that call themselves ‘'college planners”.

Step 1: Sign up 

The CCPS® program is only $885 plus $50 per month. To sign up for the CCPS® program go here and choose the CCPS® plan.

Step 2: Access the courses in the Members Area

Once you’ve registered and paid, you can access your courses by going to the Member’s Area of the website. Please allow up to 24 hours for access (especially if you signed up late at night or over the weekend). Once you are at the members area, log in and then click the COURSES link: 

Clicking this link will open up our training platform where you can access the three CCPS® (Certified College Planning Specialist™) Study Modules, the three exam cram course audios, and the three exam tests.

Then click on any Module to get instructions on:

  1. How to download the module study materials,
  2. How to access the Module 1 Exam Cram Course audios, and when you are ready,
  3. How to take the CCPS® (Certified College Planning Specialist™) Examination Tests.

Step 3: Access the Study Modules

There are three parts to the examination and candidates are tested on each module separately. Each of the three examinations has a self-study module, which contain approximately 150 pages of materials and can be reviewed online or downloaded by clicking on the COURSES link in the Members Area of the website. Some of the topics covered in each module are:

Module 1 - Paying for College
  • Financial aid overview
  • Student resources, grants, scholarships
  • Work-study
  • College loans
  • Alternative loans
  • College admission issues
  • Advanced financial aid topics (EFC worksheet, Federal vs. Institutional Formulas, etc.)
Module 2 - Saving  for College
  • Section 529 qualified tuition programs
  • Coverdell education savings accounts
  • UGMA/UTMA
  • Roth and traditional IRAs
  • Savings bonds
  • Life insurance
  • Tax efficient mutual funds
  • Real estate
  • Associated financial planning considerations
Module 3 - Advanced College Funding Strategies
  • Academic strategies
  • Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits
  • Parent and child tax planning opportunities, implications, and tax capacity
  • Coordinating investment contributions and withdrawals
  • Cash flow & creative borrowing strategies
  • Funding college and retirement at the same time
  • Parent and grandparent estate planning considerations
  • Middle and upper income family issues

Step 4: Listen to the CCPS® (Certified College Planning Specialist™) Exam Cram Courses

Once you’ve completed your study for Module 1, we suggest that you then access the Module 1 CCPS® (Certified College Planning Specialist™)exam cram course audio, which will make passing the Module 1 exam an almost surety. This audio study course is great for CCPS® candidates as it provides a review of the material you are tested on.

Step 5: Pass Exams

Once you’ve studied the Module 1 materials and listened to the Module 1 exam cram course audio, then you are ready to take the Module 1 exam test. Once you’ve taken and passed the Module 1 exam, then you should repeat the above for Module 2 & Module 3.