Every recognized profession has its top colleges. Medical and law schools in the U.S. date back to the 18th century. As a much more recent profession, financial planning has spent much of the last four decades developing its own system of education and professional certification.

The academic side of planning has certainly come a long way. In December 1969, when a group of 13 financial services professionals met at an airport hotel in Chicago and decided to launch a membership organization and an institution for advisors - the College for Financial Planning, originator of the CFP designation - there were no schools. Today, there are 333 CFP board-registered programs, from certificate programs (183) to undergraduate (103), master's (41) and Ph.D. programs (6).

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