Navigating the AFC®️

Welcome to the Navigating the AFC Guide!

The path to becoming an Accredited Financial Counselor can vary from candidate to candidate. We’ve created this guide to help you determine your path, stay on track, and access important resources. 

We wish you the best on your journey and please reach out if you need support. We are here to support you!

-AFCPE Certification Department

CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

All candidates must complete four requirements to complete the AFC program: Education, Experience, Exam, and Ethics. We like to refer to these as “The Four E’s.” See below for information on each requirement.

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the AFC Candidate Handbook. This guide outlines the requirements of certification and your responsibilities as a candidate. 

Man sitting in home office on computer.

Education

There are no prerequisites or degree requirements in pursuing the AFC, but all candidates must satisfy one of our education pathways:

  • Self-Paced Study
  • Financial Education Challenge
  • Professional Designation Challenge
  • Registered Education Program
    • Degree Seeking
    • Non-degree Seeking

For more information on the AFC education pathways, click here.

Looking for some added support in your studies? Have a question from your study materials? Be sure to take advantage of our Education Office Hours. Office hours are free for all candidates and are held twice per month.

Click here for more information and upcoming dates & times. 

The Webinar Review is designed to provide a review of the AFC Core Competencies. Candidates who purchase the review will have access to all live reviews, and a library of recorded reviews, for the duration of their candidacy. Whether you choose to attend live or view the recorded sessions, the Webinar Review will give you confidence and clarity as you prepare for the AFC exam. 

Click here for more information and upcoming dates.

The AFC Online Study Guide is designed to help you structure your studies and practice your knowledge. The study guide is included with our Self-Study Pathway and is available for purchase by candidates enrolled in other pathways. 

Access the study guide through your myAFCPE Dashboard

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Exam

All candidates, regardless of pathway, must pass the AFC exam as a part of their certification program. 

Candidates will pay the exam fee via their myAFCPE Dashboard to be eligible to schedule their exam.

The AFC exam is provided by PSI. Visit their website to find a testing center near you.

For more information, check out the resources below or visit our AFC Exam FAQs page. 

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Experience

Candidates must obtain 1,000 experience hours and submit a verification form to complete their experience requirement*. 

Experience opportunities may include:

  • Financial counseling, coaching, and education
  • Personal financial planning and tax preparation
  • Developing curriculum, presentations, or other educational materials
  • Managing financial counselors/programs
  • Training, webinars, and coursework 

See the Experience Guide for more details.
*FINRA Foundation Fellows’ experience assignment may differ. 

All AFC candidates must meet an experience requirement before their program deadline. We have outlined a number of ways to earn experience hours in the Experience Guide. Candidates may include experience from 7 years preceding their enrollment date and have up to 3 years to complete the program.  

Click to access the AFC Experience Guide. 

All candidates must submit an experience verification form once they have met their experience requirement. Candidates should complete the appropriate section(s) of the form depending on the source of their experience hours. 

Click to access the Verification Form. 

The Experience Portal is a place for AFCPE Members to find volunteer opportunities and internships that may qualify for experience hours. Members can access the Experience Portal through their myAFCPE Dashboard.

Not yet a member? Check out all our Member Benefits. Candidates qualify for a reduced membership rate.

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Ethics

AFCPE is committed to maintaining the highest standard of professionalism and ethical behavior.

Candidates must sign the AFCPE Code of Ethics prior to certification and annually thereafter to renew their certification. This signature represents a personal and professional commitment to ethical action.

All AFCPE-certified professionals must also adhere to the Standards of Practice. 


WHERE TO START?

AFC candidates come from varying backgrounds and education pathways. Every candidate’s path will not look the same. You can use the resources below to create a plan that works for you.

Creating a Study Plan

The key to developing a successful study plan will be developing an effective and efficient plan that works for your life and learning style. 

Successful candidates will create a plan with clearly defined goals and milestones. Remember to build in some flexibility for what life throws at you and don’t forget to reward yourself along the way. 

Here are some tips to help you create a study plan:

  • Decide when you’d like to test and work backwards from that date to establish a schedule.
  • Build in time for review at the end of your study plan.
  • Review the AFC Core Competencies to understand what is covered on the AFC exam.
  • Commit to a regular study schedule to create accountability for yourself. 
  • Consistent studying over time will provide better results than sporadic or cram studying.
  • Ask yourself if your study sessions are effective and efficient. Find ways to engage the material and don’t study for too long in one sitting.

Resources to Get Started With:

Check out the resources below to help you on your journey to AFC certification.

Navigating the AFC Webinar

This webinar will give you an overview of AFC certification requirements. You'll want to put this on the top of your to-do list as a new candidate.

Register Today
AFC Exam Webinar

Don't wait to attend--it's never too early! In this webinar we will discuss how the exam is created and what you can expect on exam day. We'll also review some study tips.

Register Today
Watch Your Email


Don't worry, we won't burden you with too many emails, but check your inbox settings to make sure important messages aren't going to your spam or promotional folders.

Candidate Corner
Candidate Community

Connect with your fellow candidates to ask questions, start a discussion, or form a study group. Connecting with your peers can be a fun and supportive way to stay on track. 

Connect Today
AFCPE Blog


Stay up to date with all things AFCPE and learn more about the work of fellow AFC professionals and candidates. 

AFCPE Blog
Education Office Hours

Have questions from your study materials? Struggling to understand a concept? Looking for some general support or guidance? We are here to help! Education office hours are offered twice a month to all candidates. 

Office Hours

MEMBERSHIP & MORE

Not just another networking opportunity: AFCPE Membership is the place to find your people. 

Candidate Membership

Join AFCPE Membership for added benefits and opportunities. Candidates enjoy a discounted membership rate. 

  • Free webinars you can use for experience hours
  • Monthly virtual meet-ups to connect and network with others in the field
  • Discounts on the AFC exam, Symposium, and more
  • Access to the Experience Portal where candidates can browse opportunities for experience hours

Visit AFCPE Membership for more information. 

Real Money Real Experts Logo

Real Money, Real Experts Podcast

Real Money, Real Experts is a personal finance podcast written and produced by AFCPE. With an audience of financial professionals, we strive to educate and entertain with a combination of expert tips, engaging interviews, and real-life storytelling.

  • Covering real stories about how professionals like you are impacting their clients
  • Offering tips from real experts on how to improve client interactions and grow your business

Listen Now

*Not approved for AFC experience hours/CEUs.


I’M AN AFC, NOW WHAT?

You’ve passed your test, you’ve earned your hours, and you can finally call yourself an AFC! Now what?

     Step 1: Celebrate!

     Step 2: Understand your ongoing certification requirements

Maintaining Your Certification

To keep your hard-earned certification in good standing, you will need to pay your annual certification fee and be sure to meet your continuing education requirements. 


CONTACT US & MORE INFORMATION

Still have questions? We are here to support you!

For general certification questions:
certification@afcpe.org

For study material or review questions:
education@afcpe.org

For exam questions:
exams@afcpe.org

For membership inquiries:
membership@afcpe.org

All inquiries:
614-368-1055

For more information, visit our Frequently Asked Questions.

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