Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®)
AFC® certification marks the highest standards of excellence in the field of financial counseling and education. Our programs train professionals to guide clients through a holistic counseling framework of life cycle financial education. This allows the professional to provide a high-level, tailored approach based on the needs of each client to effectively analyze and create lasting financial behavior change.
In December 2015, The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) granted accreditation to the AFCPE’s AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor®) program for demonstrating compliance with the NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs.
“Accreditation through NCCA enhances the value of the AFC designation to employers, colleagues and consumers. This recognition and achievement sets the certification mark apart from others in the field and emphasizes the highest standard of excellence that AFCPE has built for this field,” said AFCPE Executive Director, Rebecca Wiggins.
NCCA is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. The NCCA Standards were created in 1977 and updated in 2003 to ensure certification programs adhere to modern standards of practice for the certification industry. AFCPE joins an elite group of more than 120 organizations representing over 270 programs that have received and maintained NCCA accreditation.
The Abilities of a Financial Counselor
Accredited Financial Counselors have certified skills to assist individuals and families in the complex process of financial decision making, including the ability to:
- Educate clients in sound financial principles.
- Assist clients in the process of overcoming their financial indebtedness.
- Help clients identify and modify ineffective money management behaviors.
- Guide clients in developing successful strategies for achieving their financial goals.
- Support clients as they work through their financial challenges and opportunities.
- Help clients develop new perspective on the dynamics of money in relation to family, friends and individual self-esteem.
Step 1: Education
Each educational eligibility requirement has been established to ensure that individuals certified by AFCPE have an acceptable level of education, knowledge, and proficiency necessary to provide financial counseling services for an AFC.
Prior to selecting an educational pathway, please review the educational competencies needed to sit for the AFC examination. The competencies are based on the results of AFCPE’s 2014 Job Analysis Study.
Please review the educational pathways below and select the one best suited to your educational background and professional experience.
Step 2: Exam
Once your education requirement is complete, you will need to submit an AFC Examination Request through your MyAFCPE Login. At this time, candidates will be required to pay the examination fee (if applicable). Once your fee is paid, AFCPE® will notify AMP that you are ready to test.
Candidates will be contacted by AMP via email when the examination is available for scheduling. Instructions for scheduling an examination with AMP will be provided at that time.
For questions about the AFC exam process and fees, please visit the AFC Exam FAQ page.
Step 3: Experience
Complete 1,000 hours of experience in financial counseling experience:
- Offering one-on-one counseling or advising services for clients
- Developing and conducting education and training for clients.
- Developing education and training programs for financial counselors.
- Education and training financial counselors.
- Serving as an education director for a financial counseling organization.
- Supervising financial counselors.
The experience requirement can be met before or after the candidate completes the exam requirement. Certification will not be granted until all of the requirements have been completed successfully.
Step 4: Letters of Reference
Submit three letters of reference attesting to professional competence and experience (one from supervisor, one from a fellow professional and one from a client). This is completed once 1,000 hours is submitted.
Step 5: Ethics
Sign and adhere to the AFC Code of Ethics. Certificants commit to maintaining the designation through ongoing professional development and annual fees. At this time, Authorization to use the Certification Marks is granted.
Step 6: Certification Renewal
To continue using the certification marks, post-certification requirements must be fulfilled each reporting period.