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All CE programs must address one or more topics listed in CFP Board's Principal Knowledge Topics list.

CE sponsor programs must meet the following requirements:

  • Programs must have at least one learning objective. A learning objective must be a specific, measurable statement of what participants will learn in the program. Learning objectives must be realistic when considering the level of complexity and scope of the course.
  • Program content must be current, correct and presented in an appropriate design and format.
  • Program titles accurately represent the course content and purpose and do not include trademarked names or titles of other designations, licenses or certifications.
  • Programs must be presented 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.

A video guide covering General CE Program requirements and definitions can be found in CFP Board's Resources for CE Sponsors.

Details of Program Requirements

A Subject Matter Expert (SME) must be involved in the authorship and review of a program. An SME must demonstrate significant practical experience or higher education (an academic degree, industry credentialing, or at least 5 years of experience in the relevant field).

All general CE programs must identify their level of complexity, a descriptor that demonstrates the knowledge level of a program. This information will help CFP® professionals determine if a program is appropriate for their professional development goals. CFP Board recognizes three levels of complexity:

  • Overview: Program provides a general review of a subject from a broad perspective or drives into basic knowledge on a specific skill or topics. Best suited for CFP® professionals seeking knowledge in an unfamiliar subject area with entry level experience.
  • Intermediate: Programs build on knowledge that would be covered in an "overview" level program or assumes that working knowledge in the subject to be covered is a prerequisite. Best suited for CFP® professionals who have previous exposure to the subject being covered and at least 3 years of industry experience.
  • Advanced: Programs build upon knowledge that would be covered in an "intermediate" level program or assume that detailed knowledge in the subject to be covered is a prerequisite. Best suited for CFP® professionals with seasoned industry experience who have intermediate knowledge of the subject being covered.

Topics related to practice management, public accounting, computer hardware and software, marketing or prospecting, sales, specific company or product presentations, or any other topic not included in the list of CFP Board's Principal Knowledge Topics are not eligible for CE.

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

General CE Program Registration

General CE Program Renewal

CFP Board defines Live Programs as those in which the instructor or discussion leader conducts the program in real-time; the instructor and students are engaged in the program at the same time.

  • Attendance is required. For Live Programs presented in-person, the number of participants and physical facilities should be consistent with the teaching method.
  • Live Programs must be conducted by an instructor or discussion leader qualified in the specific subject area(s). The author of a program may be the instructor.