For CFP® Professionals

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Continuing Education (CE) requirement?

CFP® professionals are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education (CE) each reporting period - 2 hours of CFP Board-approved Ethics CE and 28 hours of CE covering one or more of CFP Board’s Principal Topics. A newly-certified CFP® professional’s initial CE requirement is prorated for the period from initial certification to the end of the initial certification period. 

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

Credit can be earned by completing continuing education programs, attending conferences, authoring publications or teaching. Certificants can search for CE programs registered with CFP Board by visiting CFP.net/FindCE. This CE program database can be searched by a keyword or topic, sponsor name, delivery format (Live or Self-Study), level of complexity, or by the number of CE hours offered. Certificants may also submit non-registered CE programs to CFP Board for review and consideration, requiring a $25.00 review fee, proof of completion and the course documentation. The non-registered CE self-reporting form is available through the CFP® professional’s secure online CFP Board account, accessible at CFP.net/Login.

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

No. CE hours must be earned in the current reporting period. Any hours completed in excess of the 30 hours required for the reporting period will not be carried over to subsequent reporting periods. CE hours earned for any one program may not be split between two reporting periods.

4. What programs are acceptable for credit?

A searchable database of CE programs registered for CE credit can be accessed online at CFP.net/FindCE.

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.

For the two-hour Ethics requirement, only programs that have been pre-approved by CFP Board are eligible for credit.

5. What is not accepted for CE credit?

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

6. I am already required to earn CE for another professional license or designation. Can these credits be counted?

There are numerous CE programs that satisfy the requirements of multiple designations or licenses. You may verify whether a program is registered with CFP Board through our CE search function at CFP.net/FindCE. CFP® professionals may submit for consideration CE programs that are not directly registered with CFP Board via the non-registered self-reporting option. Due to the variance in CE requirements and standards, there is no automatic reciprocity of CE credits for other designations and licenses. 

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

CE credit for Live Programs is based 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. The total hours are rounded down to the last full half hour.

CE credit for Self-Study programs is calculated based on a two part requirement. First, the average completion time (determined either through CFP Board’s word count formula or pilot testing option) must match the number of CE hours requested. Secondly, the assessment for the course must contain 10 questions per hour of CE requested. For example, a 3 hour self-study course must take 3 hours to complete and have 30 exam questions. Please note that exam time may not be counted towards average completion time.    

8. How are CE credit hours reported?

Registered CE sponsors are required to electronically report CFP Board CE records earned by CFP® professionals within four weeks of program completion. Upon receipt, it may take CFP Board 5-7 business days to upload the record into the CFP® Professional’s account. When CE hours are successfully reported by a sponsor, an email confirmation is sent by CFP Board to the individuals receiving the credit.

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 to CE Sponsors.

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.

9. What documentation do I need to keep? Should I send my certificates of completion to CFP Board?

Documentation for CE hours should be kept on file for at least four years after program completion. If we have questions or if your CE hours are audited, we will contact you for this documentation. Please do not send certificates of completion unless otherwise requested by a member of CFP Board's CE staff.

10. What do I do if I have a complaint or a compliment about the CE program I completed? 

CFP Board actively seeks feedback from CFP® professionals about CE programs. We encourage you to submit a CE Program Evaluation Form any time you have comments about a continuing education course. Evaluation forms can be submitted directly to CFP Board’s CE department via email: CE@cfpboard.org.

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

If all applicable renewal requirements are not received within 6 days of the renewal deadline, including the CE requirement, a notice of certification expiration is sent to the certificant with the corresponding $75 late fee invoice. Individuals may no longer use the CFP® marks if certification is not renewed by the deadline. If all applicable renewal requirements are not received by 90 days after the certification expires (including payment of any late fees assessed), a notice of relinquishment is sent. The notice of relinquishment includes information about the additional requirements needed to reinstate the certification. An individual may apply for reinstatement by submitting a reinstatement application, paying a non-refundable reinstatement fee and completing any other certification renewal deficiencies.

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

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

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

CFP Board does not offer an “inactive” status. All renewal requirements, including any CE balance due, must be met in order to maintain the certification.

14. 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 on the Policy Exception Request Form with appropriate documentation to CFP Board.

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