Additional menu

What Is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC)?

CRPCs are professionals that can help you plan for retirement, as well as life after. In this article, we explain what they do and how to find one.

Depending on your age, retirement could feel like a long way out or just around the corner. However, it’s always a good time to begin planning for it, even at a young age. One type of professional who can help you do exactly that is one with the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) designation.

This article will provide an overview of what a CRPC is and what they do, including the steps to becoming one, how they’re governed, and what services they typically offer. We’ll also detail who may benefit from hiring one beyond simply those planning for retirement, as well as how to find one.

CRPC Definition

A title issued by the Kaplan-owned College for Financial Planning (CFFP), those with the CRPC designation are financial advisors who concentrate on retirement planning. To receive the credential, candidates must complete a training program comprising online coursework centered around helping clients prepare for life after work, including topics such as investing, dealing with benefits and health care, and planning for taxes and a client’s estate.

CRPC professionals wield a strong understanding of how to develop an effective plan that enables clients to reach their retirement goals, as well as help them with managing their lifestyle following their transition into their post-working life. In short, according to the CFFP’s website, they can help you put together a “road map to retirement.”

As we’ll detail further in the article, CRPC charterholders must adhere to high ethical and professional standards. Combined with the thorough educational requirements they must complete, this makes the title a signal of a high-quality advisor.

Becoming a CRPC

As is true with most advisory credentials, the CRPC title takes significant time, effort, and money to receive. This helps ensure the person holding the mark has the proper skillset to aid clients with their retirement needs.

Specifically, while there are no prerequisites to enter the CRPC program, individuals must complete a program of study and agree to follow the CFFP’s code of conduct.

Below is a more detailed description of what it takes to earn the designation:


The first step to receiving the CRPC credential is enrolling in the CFFP’s “CRPC® Professional Designation Program.” Unlike other designations, such as CFP, there are no professional or education requirements to meet before entering. To enroll, however, the tuition cost is $1,375.

Once in the program, students receive a varied and complete education on retirement planning concepts and strategies. The coursework takes place through an online learning system and may be completed at a student’s preferred rate. As per the CFFP, below is a list of the topics the course covers:

  • Investing with retirement in mind
  • Asset management
  • Tax optimization
  • Designing income streams in retirement
  • Managing health care
  • Understanding and maximizing social security, military, and government benefits
  • Psychology related to retirement
  • Estate planning
  • Ethical and fiduciary standards in the financial advisory industry

At the end of the course and at least within 120 days of beginning the program, students must take and pass a 3-hour, 85-question final exam. To pass, they must receive a minimum score of 70%.

Ethical and Professional Standards

Charterholders must adhere to specific standards of professional conduct set forth by the CFFP. This ensures that anyone with the role prioritizes their clients’ best interests and practices with a strong level of integrity and transparency.

Labeled the “Tenets of Professional Conduct” by the CFFP, below is a summarized version of the five standards CRPCs must abide by:

  • Work with integrity and honor.
  • Maintain objectivity.
  • Maintain and convey competency.
  • Emphasize privacy and confidentiality.
  • Be professional and follow all laws.

Professionals who violate the governing body’s rules will receive disciplinary action, which may include either the temporary suspension of their title or in more extreme cases, permanent revocation. On its website, the CFFP notes that this will be publicly available.

How to Find a CRPC

Because CRPCs primarily specialize in helping clients prepare for and navigate their golden years, they’re likely optimal for people at an age or portfolio value where retirement is an upcoming reality. Moreover, the CFFP highlights that the role is valuable as members of the baby boomer generation and, eventually, Generation X shift from the workforce to retirement.

You’ll often find CRPC titleholders working at or owning registered investment advisor (RIA) firms that focus on providing financial planning options, either holistically or with a particular focus on retirement. It’s also not uncommon for them to hold the title alongside other reputable designations, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), or Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC).

To locate professionals in your area, we recommend using a free matching tool such as this one. After answering a few qualifying questions, it will present up to three experts who practice near you. Another way to verify a CRPC’s background is by using the CFFP’s lookup tool.

Difference Between CRPC and CFP

As mentioned, you may come across experts who carry both the CFP and CRPC designations.

While both titles reflect a focus on financial planning, they’re not the same. They differ primarily in the scope of the expertise they provide and the requirements to earn each role.

CFPs have a broader range of expertise than CRPCs, focusing on planning almost every area of a client’s finances. Meanwhile, CRPCs focus squarely on helping clients with retirement-centric needs, including detailed preparation and management.

Individuals must also jump through significantly more hoops before receiving their CFP title; they must collect several thousand hours of coursework and planning-related work experience, as well as earn a bachelor’s degree before enrolling in the CFP Board’s program. Conversely, there are no prerequisites to become a CRPC, and candidates can fulfill the program in four months or less.

Though the two roles have their differences, as noted, they often complement each other. Often, an advisor may hold both titles to denote a specialization or enthusiasm for helping clients plan retirement. It’s also possible for people to use CRPC coursework as a means of completing requirements for the CFP Board’s program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a CRPC a fiduciary?

As required by their issuing organization, the CFFP, CRPCs follow strict professional standards that closely coincide with that of fiduciary duty. As part of the curriculum they must complete, they also learn specifically about ethics and fiduciary issues in the advisory field.

How much do CRPCs cost?

The cost to hire a CRPC may vary depending on the nature of your relationship and the fee structure they use. Financial planners might charge you on a flat-fee schedule if you only require one project, such as retirement planning, or if you have a relatively simple arrangement. Others may use an asset-based structure, especially if they’re performing investment management tasks or will be meeting with you on an ongoing basis.

Is a CRPC better than a CFP?

Because of its difficulty and the breadth of knowledge commensurate with attaining it, the CFP designation holds a prestigious status that almost no other title can surpass in the financial advice industry. Even so, however, the CRPC role is valuable and means that an expert is capable of navigating most retirement-related scenarios and needs clients may have.

How long does it take to get a CRPC designation?

Students have a maximum of 120 days from when they can log in and access their course materials to complete and pass the final exam. They must complete the coursework at their own pace, which means they could finish the program in a shorter period.