Frequently Asked Questions about the CFP Certification CE Requirements

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 credit hours of continuing education (CE) each reporting period: 2 hours of CFP Board-approved Ethics CE and 28 hours of General CE. A newly-certified CFP® professional’s initial CE requirement is prorated for the reporting period from initial certification to the end of the initial certification period.

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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. CFP® professionals can search for CE programs registered with CFP Board by using the Find a CE Program search tool (www.CFP.net/FindCE). CFP Board's database of CE programs 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 credit hours offered.

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3. May I carryover excess CE hours earned in this reporting period to the next?

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. CFP® professionals cannot earn CE credit for completing the same program multiple times within the same reporting period. 

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4. What programs are acceptable for CE credit?

Thousands of pre-accepted CE programs can be found in the CFP Board database using the Find a CE Program search tool at www.CFP.net/FindCE.

CFP Board strongly recommends that you complete programs that have been pre-accepted for CE credit. However, if you find a program that has not been registered for CE credit that suits your professional development goals, you may self-report such programs for consideration of CE credit. Non-registered programs are eligible for General CE credit if they meet CFP Board's CE standards and requirements. To be eligible, programs must:

  • Address one or more topics listed in CFP Board's Principal Knowledge Topics list.
  • Be developed and/or presented by persons qualified in the subject matter and in instructional design.
  • Include content that is current and accurate.
  • Be designed with a duration of at least 50 minutes in length.
  • Have a minimum of 10 assessment questions per CE credit hour (that will be accepted) if a self-study course.

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5. How do I find a CFP Board-approved Ethics CE program?

Only programs that have been CFP Board-approved will satisfy the two-hour Ethics CE requirement. These programs can be found using CFP Board's Find a CE Program search tool at www.CFP.net/FindCE by checking the box to limit search results to CFP Board-approved Ethics CE programs. In the search results, pre-approved Ethics CE programs will be displayed with a gold star  () to the left of their program title. A CFP Board-approved program will state in the first line of their course description that they satisfy the Ethics CE requirement. Exceptions to this requirement will not be made.

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6. What is not accepted for CE credit?

CE credit will not be accepted for 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 Knowledge Topics.

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7. Can CE completed for another professional license or designation be counted towards my CE requirement?

Yes.  Non-registered programs must meet the criteria as defined in item 4 to be eligible for CE credit.  Use the online the Non-Registered CE Reporting Form to self-report Note: there is no guarantee that this non-registered CE will be accepted or that the total number of CE credits granted will be the same as on your certificate of completion.

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8. 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 credit 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. (1) The average completion time (determined either by conducting a pilot program or using CFP Board’s word count formula) requires a minimum of 50 minutes of content, exam time excluded. (2) The assessment for the course must contain 10 questions per hour of CE requested. For example, a 3.00 credit hour Self-Study program must take at least 150 minutes to complete and have a minimum of 30 exam questions.

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9. How are CE credit hours reported?

CE sponsors are required to report CFP Board CE credits earned by CFP® professionals within 14 days of program completion. Upon receipt, it may take CFP Board three (3)- business days to upload the records into CFP® professionals’ accounts. When CE hours are reported by a sponsor, an email notification from CFP Board is sent to the individuals that receive credit.

A CFP® professional may also self-report registered programs through their online account in order to apply credit in advance of the 14 day time-frame allotted for CE sponsor reporting.

CE programs not pre-accepted by CFP Board for CE credit may be reported  using the online
Self-Reporting Form. A nonrefundable $40.00 reporting fee is required for each non-sponsor course submitted for consideration. Courses will be reviewed to ensure they meet CFP Board’s CE requirements prior to acceptance. Course reviews will be completed within 2-3 business days of submission.

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10. What documentation do I need to keep?

Documentation for CE hours should be kept on file for at least three years following program completion. Consult Section 8 of the Continuing Education Policy for direction on what documentation to collect and retain.

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11. Can I check the status of my CE online?

Yes. We encourage CFP® professionals to do so. CFP® professionals can review up-to-date information regarding the CE credit hours that have been reported to their accounts by taking the following steps:

  1. Log into your CFP Board account at www.CFP.net/login.
  2. Select 'My CFP® Certification' in the left-side navigation.
  3. Select 'View/Report CE' under the heading 'Continuing Education (CE) Summary.'

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12. Should I send program documentation to CFP Board?

Not unless specifically requested to do so by CFP Board. We may request documentation (consult Section 8 of CFP Board's Continuing Education Policies) when you submit a program that is not pre-accepted for CE credit.

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13. What do I do if I want to provide feedback about a CE program I have 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 program you have completed that you would like to share.

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14. What happens if I do not meet the CE requirement by the end of my reporting period?

All CE hours must be reported and processed by CFP Board on or before the expiration of your two-year reporting period in order to avoid certification expiration. There is typically a six (6) day grace period to accommodate last-minute CE submissions.

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15. If I do not renew, will I have to retake the CFP® examination?

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

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

CFP Board does not offer an "inactive" or "retired" status. All renewal requirements, including any CE balance due, must be met by the certification period expiration date in order to maintain the certification.

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17. 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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Still have questions?

You can find video guides that provide guidance on how to find CE programs and report them for CE credit on our website at www.CFP.net/CEguides. CFP Board's full CE policies can be found at www.CFP.net/CEpolicies.

Our support specialists can be reached at 800-487-1497 (Toll-Free) or email us at CE@cfpboard.org.

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