Do you believe in a future where all people — regardless of income or background — deserve financial security?
Help make it a reality: Become an Accredited Financial Counselor®.
For more than 30 years, the Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) Certification has set the standard for the highest level of knowledge, skill, and integrity in the field of personal finance.
AFC certified professionals work all over the world in many different fields like nonprofits, academia, military, and private practice, helping individuals and families learn to take control of their finances.
Using an empathetic, shame-free, culturally-sensitive approach, AFC professionals work hard each day to break the stigma attached to money and put the “personal” back in personal finance.
Thinking about getting certified? In celebration of the AFC’s 30th Anniversary, here are the top 30 reasons to become an AFC.
- Gain confidence in your knowledge and suggestions.
Your passion for helping all people reach financial wellness sets you apart — but it also means you’re likely to feel a stronger pressure to provide sound guidance. An AFC® certification gives you the tools to feel confident in your recommendations. Learn more about the AFC’s core competencies.
- Gain credibility with your clients.
Trusting someone to help with your money is a big decision. You can assure prospective clients of your ethics, skills, and the quality of your guidance by getting certified.
- Learn how to meet clients where they are.
The best financial advice considers more than just dollars and cents. AFC® certification helps you better understand how diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences impact your clients’ money behaviors. Learn to go beyond one-size-fits all solutions, and work with the unique needs and goals of each client.
- Benefit from the value of accreditation.
Did you know? Only a few personal finance designations are accredited – meaning that the educational content and testing for the designation is psychometrically sound and has been developed, maintained and governed by the highest standard. NCCA accreditation sets the AFC certification mark apart from all other financial counseling certifications in the field. It confirms to employers, colleagues, and clients the rigor and quality of the AFC education. View FINRA’s list of accredited designations.
- Join a dynamic professional community.
AFCPE® is a close-knit community that values connection and passion as
much as rigorous professional development and education. Meet other personal finance professionals across the field to ask questions, share resources, and more! Take a peek at our online AFC Candidate Community.
- Teach clients new skills.
AFC certified professionals listen and understand their clients’ life goals. By helping clients identify and modify ineffective money management behaviors, they translate their life goals into money goals and guide them in developing successful strategies.
- Formalize your life experience.
Wondering if you have what it takes to work in personal finance? You don’t need a finance degree to be successful as a financial professional. Your own life experience and passion can help you connect with clients and set you apart in the field. Take advantage of everything you’ve learned from “the University of Life” and let us help you with the rest.
- Make a difference in your community.
Help strengthen the financial health of your community. As an AFC, you can bring your new skills to your community through volunteer work, local classes, and community partnerships with nonprofits.
- Serve a diverse client base.
AFC® certification helps you better understand how diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences impact your clients’ money behaviors, giving you the tools to provide holistic financial guidance.
- Gain ongoing support from an organization invested in your success.
Completing a certification isn’t easy. AFCPE’s Certification Team knows this and is dedicated to supporting you during your journey. From special office hours, webinars, meetups, and more, all content is created with your success in mind.
- Be your own boss.
Dreaming about starting your own business? Many AFCs start and successfully run their own practices. Check out AFC professionals with virtual and in-person practices on FindanAFC.org.
- Build your brand and become an expert in the field.
Earning your AFC can open doors for speaking and media opportunities. AFC professionals have been featured in publications like Nerdwallet, Forbes, New York Times, Real Simple, Good Morning America, and Marketwatch.
- Improve your own financial knowledge and confidence.
Finances are complex, even for those of us who love talking about them. One of the best ways to deepen your own knowledge and financial capacity is to earn your AFC.
- Change things for your family.
Improving your financial knowledge can also help you change things for your own family. Break generational financial patterns and create a new reality for those most important to you.
- Learn real world skills.
The AFC® certification program is guided by research, rooted in academia, and supported by industry experts. It’s based on real world topics – the content of the course is based on what financial professionals hear from clients most often. Everything you learn will be applicable to the real life situations your clients face every day.
- Enhance your current career.
If you measure your career growth by the impact you have on your clients, you’ve come to the right place. An AFC® certification empowers you to build deeper trust with clients, foster respect among colleagues, and expand your skillset to make a bigger difference.
- Or, start a new career.
Thinking about starting a new job, or even a new career? AFC Certification gives you a broad skill set that makes you more marketable for jobs in finance, social services, and education. It can also open doors to jobs only available to those who are AFC certified. Learn more about common career paths for AFC Certified Professionals.
- Improve your work/life balance.
Your AFC Certification is accredited in all 50 states. Whether you like the stability of a 9-to-5 or you want more flexibility and control over your schedule, your AFC Certification can help you land the job opportunities that are right for you.
- Combine counseling and personal finance skills.
More than just numbers, the AFC Certification has a strong focus on counseling skills. AFC Certified Professionals have excellent communication skills and are able to easily connect and empathize with their clients.
- Build a strong client-base – without gimmicks or hard-selling your services.
Not a salesperson? Not a problem. Ongoing continuing education can help you learn how to share the value of your services without using any tactics that make you feel sleazy or uncomfortable.
- Hold yourself to the highest standard.
As a financial professional, you want to ensure you’re offering the most to your clients. All AFC Certified Professionals go through a structured, rigorous education program, pass a comprehensive exam, gain hours of field experience and sign a code of ethics.
- Build capacity in your organization.
Building capacity is not one-size-fits-all, but if your organization provides financial counseling, then having an AFC on staff could be a huge asset. Learn more about building capacity in your organization.
- Gain foundational knowledge that covers the entire financial life cycle.
The AFC covers the life cycle of personal finance, from building an effective budget to understanding investment basics. Understanding the financial continuum can help you determine where your client needs support so you can develop an action plan tailored for them.
- Change the world.
According to a study by FINRA, in the United States, only “34% of individuals can answer four or five questions on a basic five-question financial literacy quiz correctly.” As an AFC Certified Professional, your work can help you bridge the financial literacy gap.
- Deepen your knowledge through continuing education opportunities.
The financial world is never stagnant, and your financial certification shouldn’t be either. To better adapt to their clients’ evolving needs, AFC®s are given access to vital education opportunities to maintain their certification. Mandatory renewal process every 2 years supports participation in ongoing professional development activities and lifelong learning. Learn more about professional development.
- Widen the services offered at your financial planning firm, bank, or credit union.
If your financial services firm is looking to expand clientele or provide additional services to your existing clients, having an AFC on staff can help your business grow. Learn how to integrate an AFC into your business model.
- Gain credibility with employers.
Set yourself apart from others in the field by carrying a designation that upholds the highest standards of knowledge, experience, and ethics. Plus, it shows your ongoing commitment to continuous learning for you, your clients, and your organization’s success.
- Gain credibility with industry professionals.
As an AFC, you help people navigate immediate financial crises and build strong foundational personal finance skills. This makes you an excellent partner for other industry professionals such as financial planners.
- Offering multiple education pathways to meet you where you are.
From self-study, to distance learning, to education or designation challenge. No matter where you are in your career path, AFCPE offers multiple education pathways to meet you where you are. The AFC certification is both flexible and affordable.
- Do it for yourself.
Make the most important investment of all, in yourself.