The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards recently announced that it has registered 20 new financial planning education programs, bringing the grand total to 253. The number of such programs has more than doubled since 1997.

The newly registered programs are scattered across the country, headquartered at schools including Boston University, Mississippi State University, Roosevelt University (Chicago), and San Diego State University. They include on-site classroom programs, online courses, and correspondence courses.

“We are always very attuned to the idea of providing diversity, not only geographically, but also in terms of method of delivery,” says Lance Ritchlin, a spokesman for the CFP Board. “We want people to have a lot of options, because we know that people come to financial planning from various backgrounds. However they want to get there, and whatever stage of life they’re in, we want to make sure there are programs out there for them.”

A fairly new development on the CFP education front is the Ph.D. program in financial planning; among the 20 new programs are two Ph.D. programs at Texas Tech (a Ph.D. with a major in business administration-finance and a minor in family financial planning; and a Ph.D. in agricultural and applied economics and a minor in family financial planning). Such programs are an encouraging sign to the CFP Board’s CEO Lou Garday, who has made it a priority to increase the number of “top-line professional educators” in financial planning, says Ritchlin. “It’s going to take more Ph.D.s to teach the increasing number of courses around the country, so we have to make sure they have programs in which they can earn those Ph.D.s.”