The Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) has announced that Athabasca, Alta.-based Athabasca University (AU) will be the first education provider to offer FPSC-approved core curriculum courses through an online degree program.

The core curriculum program is comprised of eight courses that are part of AU’s updated online Bachelor of Commerce degree program. The courses will qualify students for FPSC Level 1 Certification in Financial Planning and are the first step to earning a CFP certification.

Despite the online nature of the program, students will be able to access professors, a student-support centre and a help desk for guidance on course content and exam preparation, the FPSC says in a news release.

“Many of our students see great value in earning the CFP designation, says Deborah Hurst, Dean of AU’s Faculty of Business, in a statement. “It’s a certification that is increasingly relevant and we expect demand for CFP professionals to increase dramatically across Canada.”

AU has always adopted a “digital first” approach towards education, Hurst says. “We’re seeing every sector of industry and society move to a similar model for developing competitive advantage,” she adds.

Students who complete the core curriculum courses and the FPSC Level 1 Examination in Financial Planning can apply to become FPSC Level 1 Certificants in Financial Planning, the FPSC says. Students who finish an FPSC-Approved Capstone Course and the CFP examination, in addition to three years of qualifying work experience, can also apply for CFP certification.

“AU’s online delivery model expands the opportunities for students from across the country to pursue a degree at the same time they pursue a career as a professional financial planner, regardless of their geographical location,” says Cary List, FPSC president and CEO, in a statement.

For a list of current FPSC-approved core curriculum providers, please visit the Directory of FPSC-approved Core Curriculum Providers.

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