2018-2019 CE Guidelines

NAPFA’s continuing education (CE) policy is an important part of its commitment to maintaining the highest competency standards in the industry. NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors complete 60 hours of CE across a broad range of subjects during the two-year CE cycle. (Your CE total may be prorated, depending on when you join NAPFA.)

Each two-year CE cycle begins January 1 of an even-numbered year and ends December 31 of the following year. NAPFA is currently accepting CEs for the 2018-2019 CE Reporting Cycle, which runs 1/1/2018-12/31/2019 for all NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors.

CE how-to videos

Watch these quick videos about the NAPFA CE process:

Video 1A - CE requirements in your first NAPFA CE cycle

-- or --

Video 1B - Your CE requirements if you are in a subsequent CE cycle

Plus:

Video 2 - How to enter your CEs

Video 3 - Reporting CEs from reading/writing/presenting activities

Video 4 - Audits, extensions, compliance

Frequently asked questions

I understand that I have unique CE requirements during my first CE cycle. What are they?

What are my CE requirements after I’ve completed my first CE cycle?

What programs are acceptable for NAPFA CEs?

What are the NAPFA Core and Elective subject areas?

How do I input my NAPFA CEs and view my CE Summary Report?

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

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

What if I’m having difficulty completing my CEs?

I understand that I have unique CE requirements during my first CE cycle. What are they?

To ensure a broad range of ongoing educational efforts during a member's first NAPFA CE cycle, no more than 15 CE hours of the 60 required (see prorated totals, below) may be earned within any one Core Area subject, and no more than 5 CE hours may be earned in any one Elective Area subject. (See complete subject area list, ahead.)

1. A minimum of five approved CE hours is required in each of six Core Area subjects:

  • B - Insurance & Risk Management
  • C - Investments
  • D - Income Tax Planning
  • E - Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits
  • F - Estate Planning
  • J - Communications

2. A 2-CE approved course is required in Core Area subject:

  • G - Ethics of Financial Planning

These requirements and your progress toward them are shown on your CE Summary Report. The 28 additional CE hours of the 60 CEs required (see proration guidelines, below) may be earned in either Core or Elective Areas, up to their Subject Area maximums.

Prorated CE totals for new members. Requirements are prorated for new members based on their start date:

  • Jan.-June, 2018: 60 total CEs required; 5 CEs required in each of Six Core Area subjects, plus an approved 2-CE course in Ethics
  • July-Dec, 2018: 45 total CEs required; 4 CEs required in each of the Six Core Area subjects, plus an approved 2-CE course in Ethics
  • Jan.-June, 2019: 30 total CEs required; 3 CEs required in each of the Six Core Area subjects, plus an approved 2-CE course in Ethics
  • July-Dec, 2019: 15 total CEs required; 2 CEs required in each of the Six Core Area subjects, plus an approved 2-CE course in Ethics

What are my CE requirements after I’ve completed my first CE cycle?

All NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors who have already completed at least one cycle of CE reporting (prorated or not) must complete 60 CEs in the two-year CE cycle, with the option to report 58 CEs in any Core or Elective Area subject(s) with no CE minimums or maximums; at least 32 of these CEs must still come from approved sources. An approved 2-CE Ethics course also remains mandatory.

What programs are acceptable for NAPFA CEs?

The 60-CE program is based on the honor system. You are ultimately responsible for deciding what Subject Areas your CE activities represent, and what you consider to be appropriate and valuable for your continuing professional education within these guidelines:

  • The 32 required Core Area hours (for those members in their first CE reporting cycle) are shown in the first table of your Summary Report. They must be from live or recorded programs/courses that are offered/accepted by NAPFA, CFP®, CFA, CPA, CLE, CLU, EA, ChFC, CIMA, CIMC, CPWA, CRPS, RICP, CDFA, AIF or state licensure.

For consideration of other programs as Core Area CEs, please submit complete information to Heidi Tennant.

While members in their subsequent CE cycles do not have specific Core Area requirements, 32 of their 60 CEs must still come from live or recorded programs/courses from the approved sources. The remaining 28 CEs to achieve the 60 required may come from a wider range of programs, and may include CEs from:

  • Reading (record as Study Type “Reading”) – A total of 8 hours of the remaining 28 Core/Elective Area hours may be acquired as a result of what you read. Each book counts as 1 credit hour. Each trade magazine counts as 1 credit hour if you pass the associated quiz.
  • Writing (record as Study Type “Writing”) – A total of 8 hours of the remaining 28 Core/Elective Area CEs may be obtained as a result of what you author. Any article or book published by an independent third party will earn 2 credit hours. Writing blogs, articles for company newsletters and websites, and legislative responses are not considered being “published.”
  • Teaching/presenting (record as Study Type “Presenting”) – A total of 8 hours of the remaining 28 Core/Elective Area CEs may be earned from presenting consumer-, student- or advisor-oriented sessions, at 1 CE per each 50 minutes of instruction.

Other guidelines:

  • As with the CFP® Board, 50 minutes of participation time qualifies for 1 CE, with 0.5 CEs earned for every subsequent 25 minutes of instruction.
  • Programs that are educational in nature are acceptable; sales presentations are not.
  • Hours must be earned within the two-year reporting period and may not be carried over to the next reporting period. Trade journals read for CE credit must be published within the reporting period.
  • College-level courses in financial planning count for the number of semester hours earned or the number of CFP® CEs earned.

What are the NAPFA Core and Elective subject areas?

The NAPFA subject areas include:

Subject codes for Core Areas:

  • B - Insurance & Risk Management
  • C - Investments
  • D - Income Tax Planning
  • E - Retirement Planning
  • F - Estate Planning
  • G - Ethics
  • J - Communications

Subject codes of Elective Areas:

  • A - Financial Planning Process
  • H - Accounting, Cash Flow Mgmt. & Budgeting
  • I - Economic and Political Environment
  • K - Marketing and Practice Management
  • L - Strategic Thinking
  • M - Technology

How do I input my NAPFA CEs and view my CE Summary Report?

Credits are posted to your NAPFA online CE record in two ways:

  • NAPFA uploads your credits earned from attending NAPFA events or educational programs.
  • You must enter information for all other credits earned outside of NAPFA, listing courses individually.

To enter CEs, log into the website and visit the My Account page. Click on CE in the top menu bar. Here you can view and print reports on credits posted during any designated timeframe, as well as add/edit credits earned outside of NAPFA. Enter each session individually and completely, with enough information to satisfy a CE audit. You may split a multi-CE course among subject areas; enter the course multiple times, adding Part 1, Part 2, etc. to the title, and changing the subject area and number of CEs in each. You can edit or delete a self-reported course at any time using the buttons next to the course in your online CE record.

Reports. At the top of the page, you will see the option to view/print three reports:

  • Current Summary Report (your CE summary for the current cycle, including your specific Core Area requirements/progress in the first table). It may take 4-5 minutes for CEs you enter to tally in your Summary Report.
  • CE Report (details all credits earned for a specific time period).
  • CFP® Board Report (shows CFP® credits earned through NAPFA and reported for you to the CFP® Board by NAPFA). This report will not include any CFP® CEs that you have entered yourself.

Your CEs are complete when the entries in the right-hand column of the first table in your Summary Report all read “Pass,” and the entries in the right-hand column of the bottom table all say “Yes.”

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

Certificates of Completion for any courses you take through NAPFA may be downloaded/printed using the “Certificate” button next to the course in your online CE record. Any CFP® CE credits, NASBA CE credits or IRS Enrolled Agent (EA) credits offered through NAPFA sessions are noted on the Certificates. For more information on Certificates, call 888-FEE-ONLY, ext. 107, or email the NAPFA Membership Department at NAPFA-CEs@napfa.org.

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

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

For the 32 required Core Area courses: Certificates of attendance/completion or your CFP® CE report from the CFP® Board.

For the other 28 courses – any of the above, or:

  • Receipts for registration fees, email registration confirmations, or participants’ agendas.
  • Proof of passed quizzes, speakers’ confirmations, or copies of published articles.
  • The completion of the Self-Study Item Summary for each book reported for up to 8 CEs from Reading.

What if I’m having difficulty completing my CEs?

CE extensions. Extensions are granted solely for extreme circumstances; acceptable reasons for an extension include the critical illness of the NAPFA member or his/her family member, fire or flood damage to the advisor's office, or other events that are catastrophic to the member or his/her business. Supporting documentation of such circumstances will be requested along with the completed extension request form.

Extension forms may be requested from Heidi Tennant beginning in November 15, 2019 and must be submitted by December 15, 2019. If granted, NAPFA will give the member until February 15, 2020, to meet the CE requirements for the 2018-2019 CE cycle.

Failure to comply. Members not completing their CE requirements by the deadline will have their membership put on hold the week of January 1, 2020, for the CE deficiency, and consumer and media referrals will cease. This includes being removed from NAPFA’s Find-An-Advisor online consumer referral service. Consumers who call NAPFA after not locating these advisors on Find-An-Advisor as expected will be told that the member is currently not in good standing due to a CE deficiency.

Members who are still CE deficient by April 1, 2020 will have their membership role changed to NAPFA Associate and must relinquish all benefits and reference to being a NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor.

Members are then not eligible to return to NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor status until their 2021 renewal date and will carry the full 60-CE requirement regardless of when they re-join, with all of the first-cycle subject area requirements. Members not meeting audit requirements are subject to similar action.