Financial Planning Certificate
Pacesetter Path (two nights per week; Dallas campus)
Intensive 11-month Cohort Program (Plano campus)
Our CFP Board-registered curriculum satisfies the educational requirements needed to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination. Taught by industry leaders working in the financial planning field, the curriculum covers comprehensive financial planning services with an emphasis on high-quality client service. The flexible schedule options are designed for working professionals, whether just starting or well established in the financial service industry.
Who Should Attend
- Financial planners
- Investment advisors
- Trust officers
- Retirement or benefits specialists
- Insurance agents
- Anyone considering a career in financial planning
- Learn to perform comprehensive financial planning services with an emphasis on high-quality client service.
- Acquire the educational requirements needed to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination.
- Earn a certificate in financial planning from SMU.
Traditional Path: One course per quarter meets weekly for 3½ hours, for 24 months.
Tuition and Fees
Traditional Path: Tuition is $875 per course—save $100 off this fee when you register and pay before the priority deadline, two weeks before the first class.
Pacesetter Path: Tuition is $675 per course. You must call the SMU Global and Online office at 214-768-2273 to receive the Pacesetter discounted rate.
Intensive Path: Full tuition is paid up front—$4,995 standard rate (approximately $713 per course) or $4745 for priority rate (approximately $675 per course). This path is eligible for Sallie Mae loans.
This program may qualify for veterans’ benefits. Please contact Robert Hurst, Veterans Assistance and Outreach Coordinator, for more details.
Corporate discounts may be available. Please call 972-473-3469 for information.
There are seven courses in the program. On our Dallas campus, students on the Traditional Path may complete the entire program in approximately 24 months by taking one course each quarter,, while those on the Pacesetter Path may finish the program in as little as 12 months by taking two courses each quarter with Tax Planning taken as a stand-alone course. Entry dates are in April and September of each year. Classes are 11 weeks long and are taught on Monday and Wednesday evenings, meeting from 6:00 – 9:30 p.m.
When can I take the CFP Board-administered exam?
Successful completion of the SMU PRO Certified Financial Planning Certificate program meets the educational requirements established by the CFP Board to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination. The examination is administered three times per year in March, July and November.
Courses are taken in the following order, depending on which pacing path you decide upon.
Bachelor’s Degree Requirement
Can I take SMU PRO’s Certified Financial Planning Certificate courses for credit?
SMU PRO’s Certified Financial Planning Certificate courses are noncredit. However, as a CFP Board-registered program, attendance is recorded and grades are issued. To receive a Certificate in Financial Planning from SMU, you must successfully complete all seven courses with a grade of “C” or higher.
Registration opens approximately eight (8) weeks before each quarter begins. Students are encouraged to register early to secure their places in the course(s) of their choice.
Courses are held on the main campus of SMU in Dallas or in Plano. Locations are noted in the course schedule section. Students receive specific classroom locations once registered.
Each course meets for 3½ hours once a week for 11 weeks. Courses are held from 6 – 9:30 p.m.
SMU Global and Online makes every effort to assure a quality learning experience. If you choose to withdraw from the certificate program, please notify us in writing (email firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 214-768-1071). SMU Global and Online professional certificate enrollment is final as of three (3) business days prior to first class start date and programs are intended to be successfully completed in full. Once you are enrolled, withdrawal from the program or not completing the program forfeits your tuition costs. We do not provide any prorated refunds or credits for partial certificate program completion. However, students may transfer to another cohort/class, free of charge, provided there is space available and time remaining for them to successfully complete the program.
All courses are capped at 35 students. A student may choose to be added to the waitlist, free of charge, for any course that has already reached its maximum enrollment. If space becomes available in the course, or if a new section of the course is added to the schedule, those on the waitlist will be notified in the order in which they joined the waitlist. Students on the waitlist are not obligated to register if/when a space becomes available. We encourage students to add their names to the waitlist for courses they are interested in, as this can be a factor in whether or not new sections of the course are added to the schedule.
Advance registration is required. Students may register 24 hours-a-day online. During business hours by phone at 214-768-2273 or by visiting the SMU Global and Online office. Course locations are distributed only to registered, paid students. Instructors are not permitted to accept registration fees at class meetings.
Go to https://go.smu.edu/student-portal and choose "forgot username" or "forgot password."
- I have already registered for my class.
Classroom assignments are sent to students once they are registered, and course information is available online to most students. However, availability of registration information in the online system may vary depending on the method used to register.
- I registered online.
Use the View my Registration Information option to find your course location. You may access your information using your Account ID and your initials. If you have forgotten your Account ID, you may have it emailed to you.
- I registered by phone, fax, US mail or in person.
If you provided an email address when registering by phone, fax, US mail or in person, you may request your computer-generated ID be sent to you via email. If you did not provide an email address when registering by phone, fax, US mail, or in person, you will not be able to access your classroom assignment online. You will need to contact the office during business hours, Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at 214-768-2273.
- I have not registered for my class.
Classroom assignments are sent to registered students within 24 hours of registration by US mail, fax, or email. If you have not registered for a course, the location information is not available to you. Course locations are not published in the catalog or on the website. Due to limited classroom space on campus, students must register prior to attending a course so that we can be sure that the classroom size is appropriate for the number of enrolled students.
If possible, inform your instructor in advance to check on arrangements and find out how absences will affect your grade.
A student who misses an announced exam with the instructor’s prior permission may be given an opportunity to make up the work at the instructor’s convenience. Notify the instructor as soon as possible. If the instructor gives you permission, you are eligible to take a make-up exam.
While rare, SMU reserves the right to cancel a course due to insufficient enrollment. Should SMU cancel a course, a full refund will be granted to enrollees. Every effort is made to notify students of a course cancellation in advance. Students are encouraged to register early to secure a place in the course(s) of their choice and to help ensure the course's success.
SMU PRO Certified Financial Planning Certificate program offers courses on a quarter system, which means that classes begin in January, April and September. For specific course dates, please visit our course schedule page.
Course confirmation letters serve as campus parking permits for course dates and times. Using this permit, students may park in any All University Parking lot (AUP) and any Commuter lot (C), as well as in most Faculty/Staff lots (F/S) after 5 p.m., Monday – Friday, and anytime on Saturday. Please note, the first two levels of the Airline Parking Garage are reserved for F/S at all times. Please do not park in Visitor parking areas; these are reserved for patrons without this, or any other, parking permit. More information about campus parking.
The SMU PRO Certified Financial Planning Certificate program curriculum was developed by integrating the CFP Board’s required topic list, traditional textbook curriculum and well-known CFP® Certification Examination review material. The result is a CFP Board-registered program that combines sound financial planning principles, theory and strategy with practical skills in development and implementation.
M.B.A., University of Dallas
Patrick Dougherty is the founder and president of Dougherty Wealth Management, LLC, a fee-only Registered Investment Advisory firm in Dallas, Texas, that specializes in comprehensive wealth management. Prior to starting his own firm in 2005, Patrick began his financial planning career in 1999 at a NYSE member firm.
Along with his passion for his planning practice, Patrick is dedicated to growing the planning profession. Prior to his current teaching position in the SMU PRO Certified Financial Planning Certificate program, he served as an adjunct professor with the University of Dallas’ M.B.A. program for 8 years. He currently facilitates a monthly “practice management” seminar series in Dallas for new planners.
A member of the Financial Planning Association, Patrick serves on the Journal of Financial Planning Editorial Review Board. He is a member of the Investment Management Consultants Association and the Dallas Estate Planning Counsel. Patrick is regularly nominated by his peers to D Magazine’s list of “Best Financial Planners in Dallas.” He received his M.B.A. with a concentration in financial and estate planning from the University of Dallas, having earned a B.A. from the University of North Texas.
Eric C. Dyson
AIF® (Accredited Investment Fiduciary)
B.S., U.S. Naval Academy
Eric Dyson is the Director of ERISA Major Accounts at Wellspring Financial Partners. He is a seasoned professional with over twenty years of financial consulting experience. Eric has worked with private- and public-sector clients as well as nonprofit organizations. He serves on the Board of Directors of Southwest Benefits Association and is a member of the education committee. Eric was recognized by PlanAdviser Magazine in 2012 as one of the country’s top 100 retirement plan advisors.
In addition to the AIF® & CFP® designation, Eric maintains a Series 65 registration as well as holding Texas Department of Insurance Group 1 License.
R. Bradley Fletcher
His estate and trust planning practice involves preparing wills and trusts, probate, marital deduction trusts, life insurance trusts, minor’s trusts, gift planning, marital property agreements and family-limited partnerships. Brad also practices in the area of estate and trust administration, including probate and trust litigation and the preparation of gift and estate tax returns and handling tax controversies and audits.
Brad’s representation of nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations involves creating such entities (trusts and nonprofit corporations as both private foundations and public charities), preparing applications for tax-exempt status (Forms 1023 and 1024), representing nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations before the IRS and state taxing authorities, and advising nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations on issues unique to such organizations.
David C. Gair
J.D., University of Denver Strum College of Law
M.A., Middlebury College
B.A., Bates College
Board Certified in Tax, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Admitted to State Bar of Colorado in 2005, admitted to State Bar of Texas in 2007, U.S. Tax Court, all U.S. District Courts in Texas and Colorado; U.S. Court of Federal Claims; U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
Vice-Chair Tax Section of Dallas Bar Association, Council Member of Tax Section of State Bar of Texas, Chair of 2016 Tax Section Annual Meeting, Member of the Board of Directors for AVANCE-Dallas, Inc., an early childhood education nonprofit.
David is a former teacher from Denver, Colorado. He has over a decade of legal experience with focuses on tax, business, estate and asset protection planning for high net worth and entrepreneurial clients. David also represents clients in complex Federal and State tax litigation matters as part of his practice.
David is a shareholder at Gray Reed & McGraw in downtown Dallas where he has been practicing since 2007. He is a frequent speaker on tax and estate planning topics.
Roy E. Gray
Spartan University of Aeronautics
Roy Gray is the Director of Financial Planning with Munn & Morris Financial Advisors, Inc., an independent branch of Raymond James. Roy has been assisting clients in the development of financial plans and strategies to help individuals and families achieve their goals since 2001. Roy's practice involves all areas of financial planning, including the development of spending plans, family protection plans, risk tolerance assessment, development and implementation of investment and income plans, tax reduction strategies and wealth transfer strategies. Roy has been recognized as one of America's top financial planners in 2008 by the Consumers Research Council of America and regularly volunteers his expertise to the young men and women of our nation’s military.
In addition to the CFP® designation, Roy maintains a Series 7, 63 and 65 registration as well as holding Property & Casualty, Life, Health and Long-term Care insurance licenses in many states. Roy is a member of the Financial Planning Association, the Dallas Estate Planning Council and the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas.
Roy Gray teaches SMU CPFP 102: Insurance and Risk Management.
Bryan C. Jackson, Program Director
B.B.A, James Madison University
Bryan C. Jackson, CFP®, is an investment advisor with Vision Point Advisory Group. Since 2004, Bryan has focused his practice on the complex planning needs of the business community. Bryan specializes in institutional qualified and non-qualified retirement plan design. He works closely with C-Suite executives, business owners and human resource professionals to create retirement plans that will help achieve a dignified and meaningful retirement. Bryan also provides comprehensive financial planning and specialized consulting tailored to the unique needs of the business community, including succession planning and executive retention.
Bryan holds a Texas Department of Insurance Group 1 License, and a Series 65 Securities License. He is also a member of the Financial Planning Association.
CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
B.S., Southwest Missouri State University
Diana Jenkins provides effective solutions to clients’ financial planning needs, no matter how complex. During her 25 years of experience, Diana has worked with two of the country’s largest independent financial planning firms, as well as Ernst and Young, LLP. Diana has managed an independent registered investment advisor and worked with all levels of clients, from those with basic planning needs to those with complex, specialized business and tax planning needs. Diana is now part of the First Horizon’s Wealth Management Team in Dallas. She was named one of the “Best of Financial Planners in Dallas” in 2002 and again in 2004 in D Magazine. She has volunteered in the past at the SPCA and likes to care for abandoned animals.
Diana Jenkins regularly teaches SMU PRO’s CPFP 105: Tax Planning.
CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
B.B.A., University of Notre Dame
Bill’s financial planning practice targets the underserved markets of those just beginning their careers, middle income workers and retirees to educate his clients to take ownership of their financial position. He charges strictly a per-hour fee.
In two previous careers, he was an audit partner at Touche Ross (now Deloitte) where practice areas included steel manufacturing, fabrication, metals recycling, machine tooling, plastic resin manufacturing, real estate leasing and development, property and casualty insurance, cafeterias, pension and welfare benefit plans. Teaching experience includes numerous national training programs and local technical subject areas.
Bill was also the SVP and CFO of Commercial Metals Company (NYSE – CMC, a Fortune 400 company) where he had oversight for corporate accounting, treasury, tax, information technology, investor relations, SOX compliance and control monitoring, human resources and payroll, shared services, business risk management assessment and office administration.
Norman A. Lofgren
J.D., Oklahoma City University
LL.M., Taxation, Southern Methodist University
Case Oklahoma City University Law Review, 1976–77
State Bar of Texas—admitted 1978; District of Columbia (inactive); Dallas Bar Association (past chair of Probate, Trust & Estate Section); U.S. Tax Court; U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas; U.S. Court of Federal Claims; U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th and 11th Circuits; Pilot, U.S. Navy, 1969–75 (active duty) and 1975–94 (reserve), retired rank of Captain.
Norm Lofgren began his law practice as a trial attorney for the IRS Office of Chief Counsel where he litigated a wide range of tax cases on behalf of the government, evaluated criminal tax cases and chaired a group responsible for identifying abusive tax shelters. Subsequently, he served as tax and international tax counsel for a major international energy company. He entered the private practice of law in 1988; his practice has mainly focused on representing and advising high net worth and entrepreneurial clients on tax, estate, business- and asset-protection matters. He has also litigated a number of cases against the Internal Revenue Service, including a test case involving the estate and gift tax aspects of family-limited partnerships.
Mr. Lofgren is a member of Gray, Reed & McGraw, where he is co-chair of its Trusts & Estate Section.
He regularly teaches SMU PRO CPFP 106: Estate Planning.
Eric MichaudCFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
M.B.A., University of Dallas
B.B.A., Management, Baylor University
Eric Michaud started in the industry in the brokerage business with a national brand in 2005, working in Margin and Credit Risk Management. He is currently working in an advisor role for a retirement planning firm in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Along with his current work and helping his clients with their financial planning needs and preparing for retirement, he is passionate about mentoring new advisors within his firm as well as providing ongoing assistance within his team. His interest in coaching new advisors with his current role and past roles as a manager has lead him to continue his efforts by reaching outside of his organization to a teaching position in SMU PRO’s CFP program.
Eric is a member of the Financial Planning Association.
Phil H. Nguyen
Certified Portfolio Manager (CPM®)
Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®)
Phil H. Nguyen is a branch director and a wealth management advisor[AK1], and he has been in the financial services industry since 1998. Phil helps clients develop strategies to manage their personal and business finances. He specializes in investment strategies and portfolio and risk management. Phil previously worked at HP for 16 years as an Engineer, Project Manager, District Manager, Corporate Finance Manager and a Venture Capitalist. He holds an E.E. degree and an M.B.A.
Clark D. Randall
CRPC® (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor)
CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter)
AEP (Accredited Estate Planner)
B.B.A., Finance, Texas A&M University
Clark D. Randall, CFP®, is the founder and owner of Financial Enlightenment, a financial planning firm offering fee-based services.
Clark currently holds FINRA Series 6, 7, 63 and 65 licenses.
Clark works closely with clients as their “Personal CFO” through his comprehensive fee-based financial planning approach. The creative design strategies he offers have provided his clients stability and reassurance to help ensure that their plan is on track and in alignment with their goals.
Clark is involved with many professional activities, having served on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Financial Planning and the Dallas/Fort Worth Financial Planning Association Board of Directors. He currently teaches financial planning at Southern Methodist University.
B.S., Finance, University of Texas at Austin
CLTC, (Certified in Long Term Care)
Southern Methodist University Certificate in Financial Planning Program
Lisa has 16 years of experience in the financial services industry. She is an advisor with Allegiant Wealth Management/MassMutual. She has tailored her practice to the needs of business owners, attorneys, physicians, executives and professional athletes.
Lisa was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. She moved to Dallas 11 years ago to expand her practice and holds a Texas Insurance Group 1 License and Series 6, 7 and 63 Securities Licenses. She is also a member of the Financial Planning Association.
Lisa teaches SMU PRO CPFP 102: Insurance and Risk Management.
B.A., Southern Methodist University
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Tom Ricks is President of ETEXfinancial, Inc., a Texas Registered Investment Adviser. Tom has more than forty years of experience providing clients with comprehensive wealth management strategies designed to provide the most tax-efficient acquisition, use and distribution of assets. Specializing in assisting medical professionals, business owners and mid- to high-net worth clients, Tom’s practice involves every facet of comprehensive financial planning, including needs assessment, goal identification, risk tolerance analysis, development and implementation of investment strategies focused on wealth accumulation, current tax management and asset protection strategies. Tom has been recognized as one of the “Best Financial Planners” in Dallas by D Magazine.
Tom is a General Lines Agent–TX Group 1. He is a member of the Financial Planning Association, Dallas Estate Planning Council.
Tom Ricks regularly teaches SMU PRO CPFP 102: Insurance and Risk Management, CPFP 103: Investments, and CPFP 107: Financial Planning Strategies and Case Studies.
Sol S. Reifer
J.D., Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles, California
LL.M., Estate Planning – Taxation, University of Miami
Sol is a partner in the Trusts and Estates Department of a North Dallas law firm. He has received the designation as an Accredited Estate Planner from the National Association of Estate Planners, 1995, and was listed in "Who's Who in American Law," 1994, as well as being nominated for "Outstanding Young Men in America" in 1980 and 1984.
Sol has been an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, Graduate School of Business Administration, the University of North Texas, and Southeastern Paralegal Institute. He has been invited to speak as a continuing education instructor for various life insurance companies and stock brokerage companies.
Sol Reifer teaches SMU PRO CPFP 106: Estate Planning.
John RoundB.B.A., University of Florida
J.D., St. Mary's University
LL.M., Taxation, University of Florida
Senior Associate Editor St. Mary's Law Journal
John Round has 28 years of experience advising clients on all phases of estate planning probate and trust law. His practice involves the preparation of wills and trusts, marital deduction trusts, life insurance trusts, minor's trusts, charitable trusts, private foundations, tax-exempt entities, gift planning, marital property agreements, and estate and business planning for closely held businesses including Family Limited Partnerships. He is also active in estate, trust and fiduciary administration practices including: probate and trust litigation, litigation practice involving fiduciary duties and responsibilities, probate and trust administration, gift tax return preparation, estate and inheritance tax return preparation, and gift and estate tax audit and litigation.
Mr. Round currently serves as chair of Strasburger's Taxes, Estate Planning & Employee Benefits Practice and regularly teaches SMU PRO CPFP 106: Estate Planning.
PFS (Personal Financial Specialist)
CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
B.S., University of Virginia
M.S., Accountancy with Tax Specialization, University of North Texas
Trudy Turner is a senior wealth manager with United Capital Financial Advisors.
She served as the 2007 Chair of the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the Financial Planning Association and has worked on committees for the Financial Planning Association, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and the American Institute of CPAs.
For several years, she co-moderated the "You Are a Financial Planner: Now What?" education and career development series for the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the Financial Planning Association. This series, along with active mentoring, demonstrate her passion to assist and encourage the next generation of competent, ethical and compassionate financial planning professionals.
She serves as the Chair of the Parkland Foundation Planned Giving Council and as a Board of Director for the Parkland Foundation. Previous leadership assignments have included the Greater Dallas Business Ethics Awards Steering Committee and Board of Directors for Denton County Collaborative Professionals.
She has been named by D Magazine as one of "The Best Financial Planners in Dallas" every year awarded since 2002, the inaugural year. Honorees are voted upon by certified members of the DFW Chapter of the Financial Planning Association.
B.S., Actuarial Science, Drake University
John Williams is a Certified Financial Planner® certificant specializing in retirement issues. Previously, Mr. Williams was a Principal and Senior Retirement Consultant with Mercer. He has over thirty years of experience in providing services to individuals and companies in administration, design, funding, and accounting of retirement plans and post-retirement welfare plans. His experience includes all facets of retirement plan management efforts, including strategy, design, and ongoing financial management such as: projections of retirement needs and funding of targeted retirement benefits; valuing of executive benefit packages and projections for estate planning purposes; design of retirement programs to meet business, financial and workforce objectives; managing the financial impacts of retirement plans on the corporation’s balance sheet and income statement; analyzing changes in funding regulations, funding policies, actuarial assumptions, and investment returns on long term retirement plan goals; development of specific plan changes to support workforce needs, such as plan terminations and early retirement windows; broad-based consulting on retirement plan compliance issues, including nondiscrimination testing, government forms and other required statutory issues.
John Williams teaches CPFP 101: Fundamentals of Financial Planning.
Rowena ZhangC.F.A. (Chartered Financial Analyst)
C.P.A (Certified Public Accountant)
M.B.A., Texas A&M University
Rowena Zhang is the Investment Officer at City of Dallas. She directly manages $2 billion of total assets in the investment portfolios with annual trading volume exceeding $1 billion. She applies portfolio management techniques and risk management skills to ensure funds are invested in a manner that provides security and optimizes investment returns to the maximum extent possible while meeting the short-term and long-term cash flow demands of the city. Her prior career experiences include working as project manager at City of Dallas Auditor’s Office, senior accountant at a CPA firm, and international investment banker at the headquarters of Industrial Bank Co., Ltd., in China.
Rowena is a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder. She also holds multiple professional credentials including Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).
Rowena teaches SMU PRO CPFP 103: Investments.
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Top job titles include wealth management advisor and financial planner.