For CFP® Professionals

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Continuing Education Policies

The following outlines in detail the continuing education (CE) requirements for maintaining the CFP® certification. CFP® professionals agree to adhere to the standards, including any future revisions, stated within the following sections. Programs attended and developed to meet CE requirements should meet these requirements and be current, as well as contribute to increasing the professional competency of CFP® professionals.

Section 1: CE Hour Requirements

CFP® professionals are required to complete 30 hours of CE each reporting period:

  • 2 hours of CFP Board approved Ethics CE.
  • 28 hours from one or more of the accepted subject topics.

Each reporting period, two of the required hours must be obtained from a pre-approved CFP Board Ethics CE program. Exceptions are not made. This requirement is designed to ensure that CFP® professionals review and remain informed of the Standards of Professional Conduct to which they agree to adhere as a condition of certification.

SEARCH FOR ETHICS CE 

Ethics programs taken from organizations not on this list may count for general CE credit if they meet CFP Board's CE standards; however, non-approved ethics programs will not satisfy the Ethics CE requirement.

Initial Reporting
The CE requirement is effective immediately upon initial certification. The number of CE hours for newly certified CFP® professionals is prorated for the period from initial certification to the end of the initial certification period.

Earning CE Hours
CE hours must be earned during the current reporting period, which is a period ending the last day of the CFP® professional's renewal month. Any CE hours in excess of the requirement may not be applied to subsequent reporting periods. CE hours earned for any one program may not be split between two reporting periods.

Reporting CE Hours
CE hours from programs registered with CFP Board are reported for certificants by the CE sponsor within four weeks of course completion. Programs not registered with CFP Board may be reported online by the certificant for review. A $25.00 course review fee is required for each non-registered course the certificant submits. Courses will be reviewed to ensure the uphold the below lists standards prior to acceptance.  Course reviews will be completed with 7-10 business days of submissions.

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Section 2: Program Requirements

CFP Board recommends that CFP® Professionals take registered CE Programs. To see if a course has been registered, visit CFP Board's Find a CE Program Search to generate a list of registered CE sponsors and programs.

Programs designed to meet CFP Board's two-hour Ethics CE requirement have additional requirements and must be approved by CFP Board before they will be accepted. Access the current list of active CFP Board Ethics CE programs.

Programs not registered with CFP Board may be reported by the CFP® professional to CFP Board for CE hours but must be reported online with a nonrefundable $25 processing fee per program.

CFP® professionals should only report programs for CE credit that:

  • address one or more topics listed in CFP Board's Job Task Domains or CFP Board's Principal Topics list.
  • contribute to increasing the professional competency of participants.
  • are developed and conducted by persons qualified in the subject matter and in instructional design.
  • are current and correct in program content.
  • provide documentation to the certificant by the program provider.
  • are at least 50 minutes in length.

CE credit is NOT granted for time spent addressing topics of computer hardware and software, marketing, practice management, sales, specific company or product presentations, or for informal discussion groups or pre-licensing programs.

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Section 3: Credit for Live Presentations

CFP Board considers Live Programs to be educational sessions in which the instructor or discussion leader is conducting the program in real-time; the instructor or discussion leader and students are engaged in the educational program at the same time.

  • Examples (non-inclusive): in-person sessions, seminars, sessions at conferences, panel sessions at conferences, structured discussion groups, live webinars, teleconferences, and college/university courses.

CE for Live Programs will be granted in an initial unit of at least one-hour (minimum of 50 minutes constituting one class hour), with half-hour increments accepted after the initial one hour has been satisfied. Total hours will be rounded down to the last full half hour.

  • For example, a 75-minute program equals 1.5 credits. Partial credit may be claimed for those portions of programs that cover material from the accepted subject topics. For example, three hours of CE credit may be claimed for a six-hour program that covers accepted topics during only half of the program.
 

Required Documentation for Manually Reported CE
Non-registered live programs submitted for review require the following documentation before a review will be begun:

  • $25.00 processing fee per course
  • Certificate of Completion/Attendance or unofficial transcript showing successful completion of program
  • Brochure, program outline or program description from the program provider (with actual dates and times), timed agenda or verification of classroom hours attended (minus lunches, breaks, and examination time)

College Level Courses
Non-registered courses offered by colleges and universities (including community colleges) may be submitted for review for the following credit provided they cover topics listed in CFP Board's Job Task Domains or CFP Board's Principal Topics list

Both credit and non-credit courses may be submitted for review.

For Credit Courses
  • semester credit = 15 CE hours (3 semester credits = 45 CE hours)
  • quarter credit = 10 CE hours (3 quarter credits = 30 CE hours)
Non-Credit Courses
  • each 50-minute class session may be counted as one CE hour.

 

  

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Section 4: Credit for Self-Study Programs

CFP Board defines Self-Study Programs as those in which the instructor and student are separated by time and location, or programs for which the student engages in the learning activity without an instructor.

  • Examples (non-inclusive): pre-recorded audio, pre-recorded video, pre-recorded webcast programs, self-paced online courses,  printed material

CE for Self-Study will be based upon average completion time (a minimum of 50 minutes of completion time shall constitute one class hour); with half-hour increments accepted after the initial one hour has been satisfied. Total hours will be rounded down to the last full half hour. Exam time may not be included in the average completion time.               

 Also, each Self-Study Program will require evidence of satisfactory completion, including an examination scored by program provider. The examination needs to contain at least 10 questions per class hour. The Self-Study Program will be considered completed satisfactorily only if the professional receives a score of 70% or higher on the examination. (The Ethics CE programs must have a passing score of 80% or higher.)

 

Required Documentation for Manually Reported CE
Non-registered live programs submitted for review require the following documentation before a review will be begun:

  •  $25.00 processing fee per course
  • Certificate of Completion or unofficial transcript showing successful completion of program
  • Official detailed outline/syllabus or course description
  • A copy of the final examination that was provided by the program provider, or documentation from the program provider verifying number of examination questions and the final exam grade
  

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Section 5: Credit for Completing Professional Licenses and Designation Examinations

Successfully completing the examinations for certain professional license or designation during the reporting period may qualify for CE credit. 

To generate a list of licenses and designations with the number of CE hours accepted by CFP Board, use our Find a CE Program search tool and enter "Designations and Licenses" in the Sponsor Name field. Designations and Licenses not found on this may not be submitted for CE credit. Non-registered Designations and Licenses submitted for review will not be reviewed.

Completion of professional license and designation examinations may be reported to CFP Board by CFP® professionals by logging in to CFP Board's website, selecting the CE Sponsor name "Designations and Licenses," and selecting the appropriate license or designation from the available list.

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Section 6: Credit for Teaching

Credit as an instructor, discussion leader or speaker:

  • is accepted for meetings or engagements that are directed to financial services professionals provided topics covered are listed in CFP Board's Job Task Domains or CFP Board's Principal Topics list.
  • is allowed on the first presentation only per CE reporting period on the basis of two CE credits for each hour of class or presentation time. For example, an instructor may claim four hours for teaching a two-hour class.
  • is accepted for teaching in a CFP Board-Registered Program and for teaching other university courses that cover the accepted topics listed in CFP Board's Job Task Domains or CFP Board's Principal Topics list. (Courses taught in CFP Board-Registered Programs do not count towards the two-hour Ethics CE requirement.)
  • may not exceed 50 percent of the total CE hours required during any reporting period. For example, if total hours required are 30, a maximum of 15 teaching hours may be claimed.
  • is not accepted for presentations designed primarily for persons not engaged in financial services (e.g., presentations to the general public, presentations for marketing purposes, television and radio talk shows, and participation in high school programs).

CE Credit for Teaching may be reported online a cfp.net/login. The following documentation must be submitted in order for the credit to be reviewed:

  • a copy of the syllabus/presentation materials that used in class
  • from the educational provider verifying the amount of time taught

CFP Board will confirm receipt of the documentation and the number of credits granted within 30 business days of receipt.

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Section 7: Credit for Authorship

Credit may be allowed for authorship of published articles and books relating to CFP Board's Job Task Domains or CFP Board's Principal Topics list provided they contribute to increasing the professional competency of the author. Credit for preparation of such publications may not exceed 50 percent of the total CE hours required during any reporting period. Short newspaper articles, Q&As and company newsletter articles for clients are not accepted for credit.

CE Credit for Authorship must be reported online at cfp.net/login.  Follow up documentation must be submitted to CFP Board. Published articles and books submitted to CFP Board must:

  • include the date, publication and number of CE hours requested
  • include copies of articles as published
  • show the CFP® professional as the author of the publication.

CFP Board will confirm receipt of the publication(s) and the number of credits granted within 30 days of receipt. The publication will not be returned to the CFP® professional unless specifically requested.

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Section 8: Reporting and Recordkeeping

Electronic Reporting by CE Sponsors
CE sponsors are required to electronically report CE hours earned by CFP® professionals who complete programs registered with CFP Board within four weeks of program completion. Upon receipt, it takes CFP Board 3-5 business days to upload the report into CFP® Professionals online account. When CE hours are reported by a sponsor, email notification is sent to the individuals receiving credit.

Certificants can access up-to-date information on CE hours that have been reported by CE sponsors by logging in to CFP Board's website at www.CFP.net/login. If all required CE hours are reported to CFP Board directly by CE sponsors, including the required two-hour Ethics CE program, the certificant does not need to report additional CE hours.

Self-Reporting
Certificants may self-report courses not directly reported to CFP Board by a CE sponsor. Programs not registered with CFP Board may be reported online with a nonrefundable $25 processing fee per program to cover the cost of review.

CFP Board accepts only programs that meet the above listed CE Standards.

Documentation Retention Requirement
Documentation for CE hours reported to CFP Board must be retained by the CFP® Professional for at least two years after the end of the reporting period.

Documentation confirming attendance should not be sent to CFP Board unless specifically requested. CFP Board may request these documents at any time up to two years from the end of a reporting period.

Live Program Documentation
  • Certificate of Completion/Attendance or unofficial transcript showing successful completion of program. 
    • Certificate of Completion/Attendance  should include, CFP® professional name, name of program, name of CE sponsor, date of program, location, number of CE credits and signature of sponsor representative.
  • Brochure, program outline or program description from the program provider (with actual dates and times), timed agenda or verification of classroom hours attended (minus lunches, breaks, and examination time)
Self-Study Program Documentation
  • Certificate of Completion or unofficial transcript showing successful completion of program.
    • Certificate of Completion/Attendance should include, CFP® professional name, name of program, name of CE sponsor, date of program, location, number of CE credits and signature of sponsor representative.
  • Official detailed outline/syllabus or course description
  • A copy of the final examination that was provided by the program provider, or documentation from the program provider verifying number of examination questions and the final exam grade

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Section 9: Failure to Comply

Each CFP® professional is responsible for demonstrating full compliance with the CE requirement. CFP Board may at any time request documentation of any CE credits self-reported by the certificant.

Unsupported, misstated or fraudulent reporting of CE credits is a violation of CFP Board's Rules of Conduct. Such reporting is cause for action by CFP Board and may be grounds for disciplinary action up to revocation of the CFP® certification.

Failure to fulfill and report the required CE hours by the end of the CE reporting period will result in non-renewal of the CFP® certification, precluding any use of the CFP® marks. If all CE hours, including the two-hour Ethics CE program, are reported electronically by CE sponsors, no further action is required.

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Section 10: Audits

CFP Board conducts random audits of self-reported CE hours for the most recent reporting period. When audited:

  • the CFP® professional is notified of the audit and asked to send documentation of hours that were reported manually to CFP Board.
  • the reported CE hours and any supporting documentation are reviewed by CFP Board, and a determination is made as to whether the hours are accepted or denied.
  • the certificant receives confirmation from CFP Board regarding the audit and any further action needed.

If any CE hours are denied during the audit and a deficiency results, the certificant will be given 90 days to report additional hours to cure the deficiency. Additional hours must be reported electronically by a CE sponsor or listed on a signed CE reporting form and submitted to CFP Board with supporting documentation. The certificant will remain authorized to use the CFP® marks during this 90-day period.

If the deficiency is not cured, a deficiency notice will be sent to the individual. If the necessary hours remain unreported the individual will no longer be certified and will not be authorized to use the CFP® marks. Unsupported or misstated CE reporting is a violation of CFP Board's Rules of Conduct and may be grounds for disciplinary action up to revocation of the CFP® certification.

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Section 11: Waivers

Requests for a waiver of the CE requirement due to extenuating circumstances are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Written requests along with supporting documentation should be made to CFP Board through the Policy Exception Request Form.

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Section 12: Revisions

The Continuing Education Standards and requirements stated in these sections are subject to revision from time to time. Changes and additions are published in revised booklets and on CFP Board's website. Certificants are responsible for staying up-to-date and meeting the current standards.

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