For CFP® Professionals

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the CE requirement?

CFP® professionals must report 30 hours of CE each reporting period. This period is the same as the certification period, a two-year period ending with the last day of the certificant's renewal month. A newly-certified CFP® professionals' initial CE requirement is prorated for the period from initial certification to the end of the initial certification period. Credit must be earned from programs that cover the financial planning topics in CFP Board's Job Task Domains or Principal Topics. Two of the 30 hours must be earned from a pre-approved CFP Board Ethics CE program. The other 28 hours may be earned in one or more of the accepted topics. Access the current list of active CFP Board Ethics CE programs.

2. What can I do to earn 30 hours of credit?

Credit can be earned in many ways including seminars, classes, webcasts, online or other self-study courses, in-house training programs, meetings, tapes, teaching and authoring publications. A list of CE sponsors registered with CFP Board can be accessed online. This CE sponsor database can be searched in a variety of ways. You can obtain lists of CE sponsors by course type (classroom or self-study), city, state or sponsor name. Access the current list of active CFP Board Ethics CE programs.

3. What programs are acceptable for credit?

College and university courses that relate to financial planning are accepted. In-house training and programs offered by nonprofit and commercial organizations are also accepted if they have been registered with CFP Board and/or meet the program requirements listed below:

  • Programs must address subject topics listed in CFP Board's Job Task Domains or Principal Topics.
  • Programs must contribute to increasing the professional competency of participants.
  • Programs are developed and conducted by persons qualified in the subject matter and in instructional design.
  • Programs must be current and correct in program content.
  • Programs should be at least 50 minutes in length.
  • CE sponsors should provide documentation to the CFP® professional.

list of CE sponsors registered with CFP Board can be accessed online. Access the current list of active CFP Board Ethics CE programs.

4. What is not accepted for CE credit?

CE credit will not be accepted in the following situations: informal discussion groups and programs in which the subject content pertains to public accounting, computer hardware and software, marketing, practice management, sales, specific company or product presentations, or any other topic not included in CFP Board's Job Task Domains or Principal Topics.

5. I am newly certified, when must I begin meeting the CE requirement?

The requirement is effective immediately upon certification. There is no grace period.

6. Does my reporting period end two years from my initial certification date?

No. The initial CE requirement for newly certified CFP® professionals is prorated as of the date of certification through the end of the CE reporting period. The CE reporting period is the same as the certification period which ends the last day of your birth month in an odd or even year, depending on your birth date. For example, if you are certified 10/1/11 and you have an August, odd-year birth date, your certification period and your CE reporting period will be 10/1/11 - 8/31/12 (11 months). Your CE requirement is prorated for 13 hours, which includes the two-hour CFP Board Ethics CE requirement, for that 11-month period. The initial CE requirement can be found by logging in to your online account.

7. When do I submit my CE hours?

CE hours can be reported by CE sponsors or reported on CFP Board's website by a CFP® professional at any time during the reporting period. If you receive a renewal reminder from CFP Board that indicates your CE requirement is not yet complete, please log in to your CFP Board account at www.CFP.net/login to view the CE hours reported for you and report any additional hours you have completed that have not been reported for you.

8. Do I need to fax or e-mail my certificates of completion?

No. Please do not send in your certificates of completion to CFP Board, except when requested. Documentation for self-reported CE hours should be kept on file for two years after the end of your reporting period. If we have questions or if your CE hours are audited, we will contact you for this documentation.

9. If I earn more than 30 hours during a reporting period, can I carry any excess hours over to the next reporting period?

No. Hours in excess of the 30 hours required for the reporting period may not be carried over to subsequent reporting periods.

10. I am already required to earn CE for a professional license. Can these credits be counted?

If the CE program has been registered with CFP Board, it will be accepted for up to 28 hours of CE credit. Courses taken to maintain state or federal licensing in closely related fields (e.g., accounting, insurance, securities and law) that are not registered with CFP Board may be reported to CFP Board online with a nonrefundable $25 processing fee and will be accepted for CE credit if the courses relate to the subject topics listed in CFP Board's Job Task Domains or Principal Topics and meet the CE requirements listed in Q&A #3.

11. Can I earn CE credits by obtaining professional licenses or designations in a closely related field?

Passing the exam(s) for earning certain professional licenses and designations is accepted by CFP Board for up to 28 CE hours. Generate a list of the licenses/designations that CFP Board accepts for CE hours by visiting www.CFP.net/sponsors and entering "Designations and Licenses" in the Search by Sponsor Name field. CFP® professionals may go online to report completion of examinations for these licenses and designations by using the CE sponsor name "Designations and Licenses" and selecting the appropriate designation or license from the list.

12. How is the number of credits determined for a program?

One CE hour (credit) equals one hour of class time (50 minutes). Credit for self-study programs is determined as the sponsor's recommended number of study hours. Check with the sponsor or with CFP Board for the number of credits accepted.

Credit for teaching is accepted on the first presentation only per CE reporting period on the basis of two CE credits for each hour of class presentation time up to a maximum of 50 percent of the reporting period requirement.

Credit for authorship of a publication may be given, up to a maximum of 50 percent of the requirement, provided that the publication is first submitted to and approved by CFP Board.

13. If I teach a course in a CFP Board-Registered Program, can I count that teaching as CE?

Yes. You may count up to one-half of your CE requirement per CE reporting period (i.e., every two years) for teaching a course in a CFP Board-Registered Program. You may count teaching the same course in successive reporting periods. Courses taught in a CFP Board-Registered Program do not count towards the two-hour Standards of Professional Conduct requirement.

14. Are there any limits on the number of credits that can be earned by one program or type of program?

Yes. CE hours earned for teaching or authorship of a publication may not exceed 50 percent of the requirement during any reporting period. Otherwise, CE hours may be earned from any registered CE program or any non-registered CE program meeting CFP Board's CE requirements.

15. Do I need a certain number of credits in each of the subject topics?

Two hours must be earned from a pre-approved program on CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct. Access the current list of active CFP Board Ethics CE programs.

The remaining 28 hours may be earned from one or more of the subject topics listed in CFP Board's Job Task Domains or Principal Topics.

16. Where can I find a list of CE Programs or CE Sponsors?

Lists of CE sponsors registered with CFP Board and the programs they have registered with CFP Board can be generated on CFP Board's website at www.CFP.net/sponsors. Lists of CE sponsors can be selected by course type (classroom or self-study), city, state or sponsor name. All CE sponsors are required to electronically report CE hours directly to CFP Board for CFP® professionals who complete registered CE programs. Contact individual CE sponsors for information about the programs they have registered with CFP Board.

Access the current list of active CFP Board Ethics CE programs

17. How are CE hours reported?

CE sponsors are required to electronically report CE hours directly to CFP Board for CFP® professionals who complete registered CE programs. If sufficient hours have been reported electronically to your account by CE sponsors, no further action is required.

CFP® professionals may also report completed CE hours to CFP Board by logging in to CFP Board's website at www.CFP.net/login. CE programs not registered with CFP Board must be reported online with a nonrefundable $25 processing fee per program to cover the cost of review. CFP Board accepts only CE programs that meet its CE requirements; any processing fee paid for self-reported CE programs reported found not to meet those requirements will not be refunded.

If you self-report CE hours, you must keep track of your courses, obtain documentation of the programs as they are completed (e.g., Certificate of Attendance, Certificate of Completion, grade report, transcript, etc., as well as an agenda showing the topics addressed and the time allotted for each topic). CFP Board conducts random audits of reported CE hours for the most recent reporting period. If audited, you will be asked for documentation of only those CE hours not reported directly from CE sponsors. Documentation should not be sent unless specifically requested. Be sure to keep all documentation of your completed CE hours for two years after the end of the reporting period.

18. If I attend a conference, how do I report these CE hours?

When self-reporting a conference, workshop, symposium or meeting, provide the name of the conference and provide information about each session you attended separately. Each session should include the number of hours you are claiming under the appropriate subject category.

19. Can I get an extension on my CE reporting period?

No. Extensions are not granted.

20. What happens if I do not meet the CE requirement or if I'm late renewing my certification?

If you have not met the CE requirement by the last day of your certification period, you will not be authorized to use the CFP® certification marks. You can cure the deficiency by reporting the deficient hours within 90 days of your certification expiration date.

21. If I don't renew, will I ever have to take the CFP® Certification Examination again?

Yes. If you do not reinstate your certification within five years of your last certification expiration date, you must pass the CFP® Certification Examination in order to reinstate your right to use the CFP® marks.

22. Is there an inactive status in which I do not have to report CE?

We do not offer an "inactive" status. The renewal requirements must be met in order to keep the certification.

23. Are waivers granted?

Requests for a waiver of the CE requirement due to extenuating circumstances are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Written requests must be sent with appropriate documentation to CFP Board.

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