Providing you with the knowledge and experience to meet individuals and families where they are, help them build a strong financial foundation, realize their goals and achieve lasting financial well-being.


ABILITIES OF THE AFC®

  • 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 perspectives on the dynamics of money in relation to family, friends and individual self-esteem.

Top Reasons Professionals Become AFC® Certified

76%

Provides credibility to client

60%

It represents the highest standard

56%

The network and access to ongoing professional development

Data from 2017 AFC® Professional Survey Results. Survey Completed by 319 AFC® professionals.

THE FOUR STAGES TO COMPLETE YOUR AFC® CERTIFICATION

Choose the education pathway that fits your lifestyle.

Educational eligibility requirements have been established to ensure that individuals certified by AFCPE® have the appropriate level of education, knowledge and proficiency necessary to provide financial counseling services as an AFC® professional. As a prerequisite to selecting the education path that’s right for you, please review the list of core competencies required prior to sitting for the AFC® examination. These competencies are based on the results of the AFCPE® 2014 Job Analysis Study.

List of AFC® Core Competencies 

You’ll find meaningful differences among the education paths for AFC® certification. Each path is designed to ensure that you’ve been exposed to the educational components that correspond with each of the core competencies on the AFC® examination. You can find the option that best fits your experience and goals.

Download the AFC® Candidate Handbook

 


 

AFC® Education Paths and Fees

The educational pathways below include the cost of the AFC® exam. Education and exam fees are paid separately. Certification registration fee is non-refundable. Please view AFCPE®‘s Refund Policy for more details.

Optional course reviews are available through AFCPE® upon request for $525 and optional study guides are available for $50. Books and materials that ship outside the U.S. will incur a $35 international shipping charge.

AFC® Online Course

A supplementary tool to support your preparation for the AFC® certification examination! The course is now included with the self-study pathway and available as an add-on for all other pathways. It is designed to guide you through the material, providing you with additional tools and resources to develop your skills, test your comprehension, and put your knowledge into practice!

Housed in a learning management system, the course allows you to:

  • Divide the material into manageable sections of content.
  • Sort through study processes more efficiently.
  • Engage with other certification candidates through discussion boards.
  • Tap into different learning styles, utilizing videos for visual learners.
  • Apply the material you are learning with “Think Like A Counselor” exercises.
  • Access study materials, including a glossary of terms and worksheets.
  • Explore additional resources and links to bring the material to life.
  • Experience new content, including case study applications for non-traditional clients and instruction on cultural sensitivity.

AFC® Special Pricing

Learn more about our special pricing, including AFC® exam discounts for non profit professionals, group pricing, and military educational benefits.

AFC® Special Pricing

Sit for the AFC® exam 

The AFC® exam is provided through AMP. Visit their website to find a testing center near you. Your exam fee is paid to AFCPE® after your education requirement is complete.

View Common Exam FAQs 


The NCCA accredited the Association for Financial Counseling & Education® (AFCPE®)’s AFC® certification for a five-year period, expiring December 31, 2020. NCCA is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (formerly the National Organization for Competency Assurance). Since 1977, the NCCA has been accrediting certifying programs based on the highest quality standards in professional certification to ensure the programs adhere to modern standards of practice for the certification industry. The AFC®‘s compliance with NCCA standards shows that the educational content and testing for the AFC® is psychometrically sound and has been developed, maintained and governed by the highest standard.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.

Complete 1,000 hours of financial counseling experience and submit three letters of reference attesting to your professional competence.

Your 1000 hours of relevant experience may include:

  • Delivery of one-on-one or group personal financial counseling, education or coaching
  • Curriculum development
  • Management of financial counseling professionals

Experience may be obtained in conjunction with exam preparation or following successful completion of the exam, as long as all requirements are completed within the designated timeframe of the certification path you have chosen. You may also include relevant hours obtained up to 2 years before registering for the program.


 

Note: You will be required to document your experience in an online resume form. The form will be provided to you in your myAFCPE certification dashboard after successful completion the examination.

Sign and adhere to the AFC® Code of Ethics.

Counselors certified by AFCPE® pledge to maintain the following ethical standards…Learn More.

Professional development is a career-long process. Over the course of a career, many changes will occur in a field of expertise that require an updating of knowledge and skills. These changes can include the introduction of new product and service offerings in the financial marketplace, as well as changes in laws and technical knowledge related to personal finance and counseling.

The purpose of requiring certificants to receive continuing education is threefold:

  • Enhance the individual professional’s capacity to serve his or her constituents
  • Protect the public interest
  • Uphold the rigor of the certification programs.

There are three steps to maintaining certification:

  • Submit an annual fee
  • Meet the CEU requirements
  • Abide by a code of ethics

For more information on requirements and fees, please refer to our Guide to Maintaining Your Certification.

AFC® EDUCATION PATHWAYS

Self-Paced Study

Complete within 3 years from date of registration.

$1,350 - $1,400

Details
Financial Education Challenge

Complete within 1 year from date of registration.

$800

Details
Professional Designation Challenge

Complete within 1 year from date of registration.

$1,075 - $1,300

Details
University Program

Complete within 3 years from date of registration.

$490

Details
Distance Learning Program

Complete within 3 years from date of registration.

$490

Details

SELF-PACED STUDY

Get the course materials and study at your own pace for the exam.

Time: up to 3 years from date of registration
Total Cost: $1,350 - $1,400

Cost Includes:

  • $50 registration fee
  • $650 AFC Online Course & Books or $600 AFC Online Course & Webinar Review Session
  • $700 exam


PATHWAY REQUIREMENTS

You’ll start by submitting your registration form with payment to the AFCPE® national office. We will process the registration and either mail you your study materials or send you an email with instructions for the webinar review. (Please allow 14 business days for shipping and handling.)

You can then study for the examination using the selected study materials. Syllabi for course options are available to you at registration.

Note: Review sessions are offered four times per year. Jan - Feb, April - May, and Aug - Sept are web-based. We also offer a 2-day review in conjunction with the AFCPE® Symposium each November.

 
 

FINANCIAL EDUCATION CHALLENGE / A Challenge-Based Pathway

For those who have completed applicable course work in Personal Finance, Financial Planning, Financial Counseling, Consumer Sciences, or equivalent curriculum from a regionally-accredited college or university.

Time: up to 1 year from date of registration
Total Cost: $800

Cost Includes:

  • $50 registration fee
  • $50 review fee
  • $700 exam


PATHWAY REQUIREMENTS

You’ll start by submitting your registration form, along with documentation for upper-division coursework through a regionally accredited college or university in personal finance, financial planning, financial counseling, consumer sciences or another comparable degree.

We will review your transcript and process your application within 30 business days. Once we determine whether the educational requirement has been fulfilled, we’ll send you written notification, including instructions for either scheduling the AFCPE® examination or completing additional educational requirements.

 
 

PROFESSIONAL DESIGNATION CHALLENGE / A Challenge-Based Pathway

If you hold a CFP®, CPA, ChFC or CFA, then this pathway is for you.

Time: up to 1 year from date of registration
Total Cost: $1,075 – $1,300

Cost Includes:

  • $50 registration fee
  • $325 AFC Online Course & books or $550 Webinar Review Session
  • $700 exam


PATHWAY REQUIREMENTS

If you hold the CFP®, CPA, ChFC or CFA certification, you may submit documentation of a pre-approved credential. The credential must be in good standing. These marks will fulfill your educational requirement for the personal finance competencies of the AFC®.

 
UNIVERSITY PROGRAM / An Approved Education Pathway

For those who have satisfied the educational requirement for the AFC® by completing coursework through an AFCPE Approved Education Program.

Time: up to 3 years from date of registration
Total Cost: $490

Cost Includes:

  • $50 AFCPE® registration fee
  • $440 AFC® exam (includes AMP proctor fees)


PATHWAY REQUIREMENTS

You may satisfy the educational requirement for the AFC® by completing coursework through an AFCPE® Approved Education Program. Options are available for both students and professionals.

Note: Each AFCPE® Approved Education Program has their own tuition and fees that are assessed independent of the AFC® Certification program. You must register with AFCPE® to confirm completion of education requirements and to complete the exam, experience, and ethics requirements.

APPROVED FACILITIES AND FACULTY

To find a complete list of approved programs and faculty contact information please click here. This page also contains information for providers who are interested in learning how to get your programs approved.

 
DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM / An Approved Education Pathway

Designed for working professionals and offering courses that help satisfy the educational requirement to sit for the AFC® exam.

Time: up to 3 years from date of registration
Total Cost: $490

Cost Includes:

  • $50 AFCPE® registration fee
  • $440 AFC® exam (includes AMP proctor fees)


PATHWAY REQUIREMENTS

Each AFCPE® Approved Education Program has their own tuition and fees that are assessed independent of the AFC® Certification program.

Upon completion of the course, you must register with AFCPE® under the AFCPE® Approved Education Program (select Distance Learning) to confirm completion of education requirements and to complete the exam, experience, and ethics requirements.

APPROVED PROGRAMS

Texas Tech University
Personal Finance Program
Major: Certificate Program for Non-Students/Working Professionals
Contact: Jennifer Wilson, (806) 834-2748
Note: Registration Deadline for Summer 2019 session ends May 21. Deadline for Fall is August 12.
Register with Texas Tech University here.

 

The NCCA accredited the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education® (AFCPE®)’s AFC® certification for a five-year period, expiring December 31, 2020. NCCA is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (formerly the National Organization for Competency Assurance). Since 1977, the NCCA has been accrediting certifying programs based on the highest quality standards in professional certification to ensure the programs adhere to modern standards of practice for the certification industry. The AFC’s compliance with NCCA standards shows that the educational content and testing for the AFC is psychometrically sound and has been developed, maintained and governed by the highest standard. 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.

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