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 every two-year CE cycle.


Reporting Cycles

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.

CE Requirements

For NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors in Their First NAPFA CE Cycle. To ensure a broad range of ongoing educational efforts, no more than 15 CE hours of the 60 required 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.

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

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.

For Subsequent NAPFA CE Cycles. Starting with the 2016-2017 cycle, all NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors who have already completed at least one cycle of CE reporting (prorated or not) will have the option to report 58 CEs in any Core or Elective Area subject with no minimums or maximums; at least 32 of these CEs must still come from approved sources. An approved 2-CE Ethics course also remains mandatory.


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 the Six Core Areas (plus 2 in Ethics)
  • July-Dec, 2018: 45 total CEs required; 4 CEs required in each of the Six Core Areas (plus 2 in Ethics)
  • Jan-June, 2019: 30 total CEs required; 3 CEs required in each of the Six Core Areas (plus 2 in Ethics)
  • July-Dec, 2019: 15 total CEs required; 2 CEs required in each of the Six Core Areas (plus 2 in Ethics)

Acceptable 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 hour.
  • 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.

The NAPFA subject areas include:

Subject Codes for Core Areas

  • B - Insurance & Risk Management
  • C - Investments
  • D - Income Tax Planning
  • E - Retirement Plng & Employee Benefits
  • 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

Inputting Your CEs for NAPFA Credit

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 earned during any designated timeframe, as well as add/edit credits earned outside of NAPFA. 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).

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.” 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 NASBA credits offered through conference sessions are noted on the Certificates. For more information, call 888-FEE-ONLY or email NAPFA Membership Department at NAPFA-CEs@napfa.org.

CE Audit

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.
  • To Completion of the Self-Study Item Summary for each book reported for up to 8 CEs from Reading.

CE Extensions

Extensions are granted solely for extreme circumstances; acceptable reasons for an extension include the serious 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 their business. Supporting documentation of such circumstances may be requested along with the completed extension request form.

Extension forms may be requested from Heidi Tennant 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 a NAPFA member 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. Members not meeting audit requirements are subject to similar action.