Continuing Education (CE) Frequently Asked Questions

What programs are acceptable for NAPFA CEs?

The 30 CEs required from NAPFA-approved sources (or 15 CEs for those joining on or after July 1, 2023) must be from live programs or recorded/self-study courses (excluding reading trade journals/magazines) that are offered by/accepted by NAPFA, CFP®, CFA, CPA, CLE, CLU, EA, ChFC, CIMA, CIMC, CPWA, CRPS, RICP, CDFA, AIF or state licensure requirements. You’ll report these CEs under the Study Type of “Classroom/Web” in the NAPFA Learning Center.

College-level courses in financial planning, or courses taken to attain a designation, count for the number of semester hours earned or the number of CFP® CEs earned; otherwise, they do not earn NAPFA CEs. To seek approval of other programs, please submit complete information, including program links, to Heidi Tennant.

For members with the 60-CE or 45-CE requirement ONLY: the remaining CEs to achieve the total CEs required may come from a wider range of programs, and may include CEs from other Study Types, including Reading, Teaching/Presenting, Writing, or Pro Bono Service.

I have the 60-CE or 45-CE requirement for the two-year CE cycle. How do I earn CEs for the activities of Reading, Teaching/Presenting, Writing, or Pro Bono Service?

  • Reading (record as Study Type “Reading”) – A total of 8 hours of the remaining 30 CEs to achieve the 60 CEs required (or 15 CEs to achieve 45 CEs) may be acquired by reading books/journals/magazines. (To self-report reading CEs, you’ll list the publisher/publication/author’s name in "Sponsored By" and the book/magazine title and published/issued date in "Program Name.")
    • Each book counts as 1 CE, regardless of the number of pages. Books should have been published within the last 5 years.
    • Each trade/professional magazine/journal counts as 1 CE (or the approved amount) if you pass the associated quiz. These publications often have "Magazine" or "Journal" in their titles, and they may be differentiated with month/year or issue/volume designations. They must have been published within the two-year CE cycle.
    • This Reading study type does not include self-study courses that you complete for CEs by reading the course content, like a tax update course or the CFP-accepted postings on a site like kitces.com, which can be classified as the study type of "Classroom/Web.”
  • Teaching/Presenting (record as Study Type “Presenting”) – A total of 8 hours of the remaining 30 CEs to achieve the 60 CEs required (or 15 CEs to achieve 45 CEs) may be earned from presenting consumer-, student- or advisor-oriented sessions, at 1 CE per each 50 minutes of instruction. (To self-report teaching/presenting CEs, you’ll list the academic institution/host organization in "Sponsored By" and the course/presentation title in "Program Name.")
  • Writing (record as Study Type “Writing”) – A total of 8 hours of the remaining 30 CEs to achieve the 60 CEs required (or 15 CEs to achieve 45 CEs) may be obtained by authoring a publication. Any article or book published by an independent third party will earn 2 CEs. Writing blogs, articles for company newsletters and websites, and legislative responses are not considered being “published.” (To self-report writing CEs, you’ll list the publisher/publication in "Sponsored By" and the book/article title in "Program Name.")
  • Pro Bono Service (record as Study Type " Pro Bono Service") – A total of 4 hours of the remaining 30 CEs to achieve the 60 CEs required (or 15 CEs to achieve 45 CEs) may be earned by providing free, no-strings-attached financial advice and planning for underserved people, including low-income individuals and families, military personnel/veterans (see Building Homes for Heroes), and domestic violence survivors, as well as people affected by natural disasters, serious medical crises, or bankruptcy. This pro bono service must be provided by or in conjunction with a volunteer CFP professional. (To self-report pro bono service CEs, you’ll list the coordinating agency in "Sponsored By" and the type of service in "Program Name" -- debt management, budget planning, mortgage or college savings plan evaluation, retirement checkup, etc.).

How will I report my CEs to NAPFA and measure my progress?

In the NAPFA Learning Center, CE hours will posted to your NAPFA online CE record in two ways:

  • NAPFA uploads your CEs earned from attending NAPFA educational programs. NAPFA requires 50 minutes of participation time to award 1 CE, with 0.5 CEs earned for every subsequent 25 minutes of instruction.
  • You may self-report the information for all other CEs earned outside of NAPFA. Enter complete information for each unique session (does the CE information you entered match what's on the documentation you'd submit for proof of attendance if you’re chosen for the NAPFA CE audit?).

I see I’ll need to pick a subject area for each CE I report. What are those?

As the attendee, you are best suited to evaluate the content of your programs; pick the NAPFA subject area (view the definitions here) for each course you self-report. If a program covers more than one subject area, pick the predominant one from the list:

How do I obtain a Certificate of Completion for a NAPFA program?

You can generate Certificates of Completion by clicking on the purple "Download" button next to each course in your Education History. Any CFP® CEs, NASBA CPEs or IRS Enrolled Agent (EA) CEs offered through these NAPFA sessions are noted on the Certificates in the required format. (Per IRS regulations, EA CEs earned are rounded down to the nearest whole number.)

What records do I need to maintain in case my CEs are audited by NAPFA?

At the end of each two-year CE cycle, a percentage of members are randomly selected to undergo an audit of their CEs. NAPFA recommends that you maintain a copy of all your self-reported CE materials for six months after the close of a CE cycle in case you are chosen for audit. Those who are audited must submit the appropriate documentation for each self-reported CE .

Acceptable audit documentation for all courses earned outside of NAPFA includes:

  • For the 30 CEs (or prorated 15 CEs) from approved sources: Certificates of attendance/completion, or your CFP® CE report from the CFP® Board or CE report from other approved CE sources.
  • For the balance of the self-reported courses – any of the above, or:
    • Receipts for registration fees, email registration confirmations, or participants’ agendas
    • Proof of passed quizzes for journals/magazines, copies of published articles, speaker's contract/confirmation/program listings
    • For pro bono service, confirmation of assignment, while maintaining client confidentiality

What if I’m having difficulty completing my CEs?

CE extensions. You may request a CE extension application from Heidi Tennant when they are available in late 2023, and complete/submit it for consideration by the stated deadline. Extensions will grant the members until April 1, 2024, to complete their CEs. Please note that CE extensions are granted for extreme circumstances; acceptable reasons include:

  • The critical illness of the member or a close relative
  • Fire or flood damage to the advisor's office
  • Data breaches
  • Other events that are catastrophic to the member or their business

Members approved for an extension may still be included in the required CE audit; members to be audited will be chosen at random in early January 2024.