For CFP® Professionals

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Continuing Education Policies

The following outlines in detail the continuing education (CE) requirements for CFP® certification. CFP® professionals agree to adhere to the standards, including any future revisions, stated within the following sections. CFP Board CE programs must meet the below requirements and contribute to 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 of General CE.

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 agreed to adhere as a condition of certification.

FIND A CE PROGRAM 

The CE requirement is effective immediately upon initial certification, or after the 12th month following successful completion of the Exam, whichever comes first. 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 ends on 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.

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Section 2: Program Requirements

CFP Board recommends that CFP® professionals take registered CE Programs for their General CE credit requirements. 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.

 Courses eligible for General CE credit:

  • address one or more topics listed in CFP Board's Principal Topics list.
  • contribute to 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.

Exclusions: CE credit is not granted for time spent addressing topics of practice management,  computer hardware and software, marketing, sales, specific company or product presentations, or for informal discussion groups.

CFP Board defines practice management as programs focused on the planning, development and management of a CFP® certificant's business operations, including topics such as office management, business model design, budgeting processes, leadership training, and other activities that don't directly contribute to the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for a CFP® certificant to provide competent and ethical financial planning to clients.

Ethics CE programs have more requirements than General CE courses and must be pre-approved by CFP Board before they will be accepted for credit.

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Section 3: Live Presentation Standards

CFP Board considers Live Programs to be educational sessions in which the instructor or presenter conducts the program in real time; the instructor and students are engaged in the educational program at the same time.

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

CE for Live Programs will be granted in an initial unit of at least one CE hour (minimum of 50 minutes constituting one CE hour), with half-hour increments accepted after the initial CE 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.

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 Principal Topics list.

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

For Credit Courses

  • one semester credit = 15 CE hours (3 semester credits = 45 CE hours)
  • one 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: Self-Study Program Standards

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 video, or webcast programs, self-paced online courses,  printed material.

Self-Study programs are reviewed based on a two part requirement. First, the average completion time (as determined either through CFP Board’s word count formula or pilot testing standard) requires a minimum of 50 minutes to constitute one CE 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 towards completion time.              

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

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Section 5: Professional Licenses and Designations Standards

Successfully completing the examinations for certain professional licenses or designations 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.

Completion of listed 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: Teaching and Authorship Standards

Teaching

CE credit for teaching may be reported online, through the Non-Registered CE Self-Reporting form, accessible at 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 were used in class from the educational provider verifying the amount of time taught

CE credit for being an instructor, discussion leader or speaker may also be accepted:

  • for meetings or engagements that are directed to financial services professionals, provided the topics covered are listed CFP Board's Principal Topics list.
  • 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.
  • for teaching in a CFP Board-Registered Program and for teaching other university courses that cover the accepted topics listed in CFP Board's Principal Topics list. (Courses taught in CFP Board-Registered Programs do not count towards the two-hour Ethics CE requirement.)

Potential exclusions:

  • Teaching and authorship may not exceed 50 percent of the total CE hours required during any reporting period. For example, if 30 total hours are required, a maximum of 15 teaching and authorship hours may be claimed.
CE credit is not granted 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). 

Authorship

CE credit for authorship may be reported online, through the Non-Registered CE Self-Reporting form, accessible at CFP.net/login. The following documentation must be submitted in order for the credit to be reviewed:

  • published articles and books must be submitted to CFP Board in full, clearly identifying the CFP® professional as the author, and include the number of CE hours requested.

 CE credit for being an author may be accepted:

  • for published articles and books relating to CFP Board's Principal Topics list, provided they contribute to the professional competency of the author.
  • for courses authored for pre-registered CFP Board CE credit. CFP Board’s ethics CE programs focusing on the Standards of Professional Conduct do not count towards the two-hour Ethics CE requirement.

Exclusions:

  • Teaching and authorship may not exceed 50 percent of the total CE hours required during any reporting period. For example, if 30 total hours are required, a maximum of 15 teaching and authorship hours may be claimed.
  • Short newspaper and magazine articles, Q&As and company newsletter articles for clients are not accepted for credit.
  • CE credit is not granted 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).

Section 7: Reporting CE

Certificants may access up-to-date information on CE hours that have been reported to their account by logging into their secure CFP Board account 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.

Registered CE

Attendance Reporting by CE Sponsors
Registered CE sponsors are required to electronically report CFP Board CE credits earned by CFP® professionals within four weeks of program completion. Upon receipt, it may take CFP Board 5-7 business days to upload the records into the CFP® professionals’ accounts. When CE hours are reported by a sponsor, an email notification from CFP Board is sent to the individuals receiving the credit.

Self-Reporting
A CFP® Professional may also self-report registered programs through their online account in order to apply credit in advance of the four week time-frame allotted for CE Sponsors.

Non-Registered CE

Programs not registered with CFP Board may be reported online by the CFP® professional for review. A $25.00 course review fee is required for each non-registered course a CFP® professional submits for consideration. Courses will be reviewed to ensure they meet CFP Board’s CE requirements prior to acceptance. Course reviews will be completed within 7-10 business days of submissions.

Required Documentation for Manually Reported Live Non-Registered CE
Non-registered live programs submitted for review require the following documentation before the review will begin:

  • $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)

Required Documentation for Manually Reported Self-Study Non-Registered CE
Non-registered live programs submitted for review require the following documentation before the review will begin:

  •  $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 the number of examination questions and the final exam grade

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Section 8: Record Keeping and Failure to Comply

Documentation Retention Requirement

Documentation for CE hours reported to CFP Board must be retained by the CFP® Professional for at least four years after program completion. CE sponsors are now required to provide program attendees with a certificates of completion. The Certificate of Completion should include: the CFP® professional’s name, the name of the program, the name of the CE sponsor, date of program completion, location, number of CE credits, and signature of sponsor representative.

Documentation confirming attendance should not be sent to CFP Board unless specifically requested.

Each CFP® professional is responsible for demonstrating full compliance with the CE requirement. CFP Board may at any time request documentation of any registered 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 and may be grounds for disciplinary action up to revocation of the CFP® certification.

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Section 9: Audits

CFP Board conducts random audits of registered 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 fix the deficiency. Additional hours must be reported electronically by a CE sponsor or self-reported through the non-registered CE reporting process. 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 after the 90 day period, 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 10: 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 11: Revisions

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

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