Continuing Education (CE) is an integral part of being a Certified Financial Planner or CFP. A certificate holder is required to report 30 hours of CE credits in each reporting period. This period includes two years ending with the last day of certificant’s renewal month. Credits must be earned from programs that cover the financial planning topics in the CFP Board’s Principal topic list. Two of the 30 hours must be earned from a pre-approved CFP Board Standards of Professional Conduct program. The other 28 hours may be earned in one or more of the accepted topics. The two credits are mandatory, so that CFPs may stay clued about the Standards of Professional Conduct.
The CFP’s continuing credits can be earned from seminars, classes, webcasts, online or other self-study courses, in-house training programs, meetings, tapes, teaching and authoring publications.
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 the CFP Boards Principal list will not be considered as Continuing Education Credits. The CE requirement is effective immediately upon initial certification.
Program Requirements: CE hours must be earned during the current reporting period. Any extra CE hours in excess of the requirement cannot be moved to subsequent reporting periods. Neither can the CE hours earned for any one program be split between two reporting periods. CE hours earned from CFP Board registered programs will be reported by the sponsor. Non-CFP board programs can be reported online after paying a $20 processing fee for review, which will be $25 starting May 2012.
CFP® certificants should attempt CE from the CFP Boards Principal List. (http://www.cfp.net/downloads/CFPBoard_Exam_Principal_Topics.pdf)
The CE credits must help increase the CFP’s professional competency and should be atleast 50 minutes in length. It is important that the course be developed and conducted by persons qualified in the subject matter and in instructional design. The CFP Board has a list of certified sponsors on their website for Continuing Education credits.
Credits for Live Presentations
Programs are accepted for CE credit in an initial unit of at least one hour (minimum of 50 minutes constitutes one class hour), with half credit accepted after the initial one hour has been satisfied. For example, a 75-minute program equals 1.5 credits. Partial credit may be claimed for those portions of programs that cover material from the accepted subject topics. For example, three hours of CE credit may be claimed for a six-hour program that covers accepted topics during only half of the program. Real-time courses offered over the Internet, i.e., live webcasts, are accepted for CE credit.
Courses offered by colleges and universities (including community colleges) that are covered by the CFP Board’s principal list are accepted. The basis for 1 semester credit = 15 CE hours (3 semester credits = 45 CE hours), while a quarter credit = 10 CE hours (3 quarter credits = 30 CE hours). Both credit and non-credit courses will be accepted. For non-credit courses, each 50-minute class session may be counted as one CE hour.
Programs provided by state and local bar associations, Certified Public Accountant societies, Financial Planning Association chapters, Society of Financial Service Professionals chapters, Association for Investment Management and Research chapters and estate planning councils will be accepted for CE credits, provided topics covered are listed in the CFP Board’s Principal Topic List.
Credit for Self-Study Programs
Courses completed outside of the class-room environment are defined as self- study programs. This could be achieved using printed material, periodicals, audio and/or video cassettes, electronic media or online media. To achieve satisfactory completion, the program must include a written or online examination, which shall be graded by the sponsor, with a passing score of 70 percent or higher. The Standards of Professional Conduct programs must have a passing score of 80 percent or higher. Credit for self-study programs is determined based on the recommended hours of completion time as determined by the CE sponsor.