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Maintaining your designation through a commitment to ethics and continuing education

About the Professional Recertification Program

In today’s competitive financial services landscape, the sheer number of designation marks representing advanced financial planning degrees and programs can be overwhelming—but the letters themselves are meaningless if not backed up by a strong and consistent program of educational upkeep to allow financial professionals to show they are equipped with the latest knowledge. The American College of Financial Services’ Professional Recertification Program is here to help, filling this gap with an attainable and influential program that showcases the commitment of The College and its alumni to professionalism, business ethics, and ongoing education in a field expanding in importance to all people. Through this program, The College ensures the credentials our students earn remain current, relevant, and serve as an emblem of excellence and expertise to both professional peers and clients.

Under the Professional Recertification Program, The College requires certain designees to:

  • Recertify their knowledge with continuing education (CE) credit every two years

  • Recommit to The College’s Code of Ethics

  • Reconfirm client-facing status annually

  • Update contact information annually

  • Pay an annual fee to enable The College to enforce the professional standards of the program

Designations Subject to Recertification

Once The College awards a designation, a designee has the right to use the designation mark provided all ongoing recertification requirements are met. Unlike academic degrees, designations can be removed for ethical violations or other forms of noncompliance.

If you hold any of the following designations from The American College of Financial Services, you must participate in the Professional Recertification Program for your designation to remain active:

  • Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®)

  • Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®)

  • Chartered Special Needs Consultant® (ChSNC®)

  • Chartered Leadership Fellow® (CLF®)

  • Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®)

  • Financial Services Certified Professional® (FSCP®)

  • Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®)

  • Wealth Management Certified Professional® (WMCP®)

  • Chartered Advisor for Senior Living® (CASL®)**

**Participation in the Professional Recertification Program is generally not required for legacy marks no longer offered to new students by The College or for those conferred by other institutions, including Registered Employee Benefits Consultant® (REBC®), Registered Health Underwriter® (RHU®), Chartered Healthcare Consultant® (ChHC®), and Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow® (LUTCF®); however, the CASL® designation remains subject to recertification.

Designation Reinstatement and Enforcement Policy

The College reserves the right to remove and reinstate the right to use our designations for designees depending on their continued meeting of Professional Recertification Program guidelines, ethical violations, and other forms of noncompliance. For more detailed information on this process, view our official policy document.

Professional Recertification FAQ

For designees who have questions about how they are affected by recertification, whether they're considered "client-facing" or "non-client facing" under program guidelines, when and how to pay fees, continuing education (CE), and more, below are the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Professional Recertification Program. For more detailed information on requirements, review our Professional Recertification Program Guidelines.

FAQs By Category

Is participation in the Professional Recertification Program required to maintain my designation with The American College of Financial Services?

Yes. The program is required for all designees who matriculated with The College and earned their credentials after June 1989, except for those currently in Emeritus status. For those who earned their designations earlier or who currently hold Emeritus status, participation is strongly encouraged for the good of the public and the financial services profession.

What happens if I do not comply with requirements of The American College of Financial Services?

The College believes individuals who use our designations to represent their expertise to consumers have an obligation to the public to practice ethically and engage in ongoing professional education. Status under the Professional Recertification Program will be made available to the public on the Your Advisor Guide website, which will continue to serve as an index of a designee’s status with The College. Designation marks can be removed for ethical issues or failure to comply with other recertification requirements of The College.

I do not have to “recertify” my college degree or agree to ethical oversight from my undergraduate college or university, pay a fee, or report ongoing education to the institution where I earned my degree. How are designations different?

An academic degree (such as a PhD or Master’s degree) is a title signifying that the recipient has completed a course of study. By contrast, a designation signifies that the designee is certified to meet The College’s standards for providing financial services in a particular field. Every designee of The College has agreed to abide by a Code of Ethics that requires, among other responsibilities, the maintenance of a high level of professional competence by continuing studies throughout the designee’s career. Since 1989, The College has administered a formal Professional Recertification Program, and over time, its requirements have evolved to reflect the changing demands of the financial services profession.

How much is the recertification fee?

The annual fee for The College’s Professional Recertification Program is $140 (for client-facing advisors) or $55 (for non-client-facing professionals). The annual recertification fee will cover all designations earned from The College. The fees for the Professional Recertification Program are comparable with fees charged by other credentialing programs. As a nonprofit institution, we need to be able to fund both the increased educational resources provided to designees and the enhanced designee oversight and reporting we will now be doing on behalf of the public and the profession.

When is the recertification fee due?

The recertification fee is paid in advance during the last quarter of the recertification year, by December 31. Annual recertification fees cover a designee’s recertification commitment for the following calendar year. For example, the 2022 annual recertification fee would be due by December 31, 2021; the 2023 annual recertification fee would be due by December 31, 2022, and so on. A late fee will be assessed for fees paid after December 31.

How do I pay my annual recertification fee?

Paying your fee, reaffirming your commitment to ethical practice, and updating your contact information can all be done through your Student Portal account.

Are recertification fees considered charitable donations to The College?

No. Like tuition and other College fees, recertification fees are not considered charitable donations. As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational institution, however, we rely on the generosity of our donors and will continue to do so. We encourage additional gifts to support The College. The generous charitable donations from our alumni and other donors are used to advance the mission of The College and support our academic programs, faculty research and scholarship programs.

How is my status of client facing or non-client facing determined?

A client-facing individual is defined as someone who holds a Resident or Non-Resident State Life & Health License, and/or their Investment Company & Variable Products (Series 6), General Securities Representative (Series 7), Municipal Securities Representative (Series 52), Mutual Funds (Series 63), Uniform Investment Adviser Law (Series 65), or Uniform Combined State Law (Series 66) registrations from FINRA, and/or is a JD, CPA or CFA®. Additionally, client-facing individuals work with clients and/or manage or supervise individuals who work with clients regarding sale, recommendation, or advice on insurance or investment products.

Non-client facing individuals include those who do not work directly with clients regarding sale, recommendation, or advice on insurance or investment products. Those who work at a non-profit organization are also considered non-client-facing.

Why is there a distinction between client facing and non-client facing?

Two levels of requirements are appropriate because client-facing individuals are using The College’s designations as a representation of their expertise when offering financial services to the public. They have a different role than non-client-facing individuals and, therefore, are subject to different requirements for continuing education and oversight.

Is there a status for retired professionals?

Retired individuals who wish to continue using their designations will be classified as non-client-facing.

What is the continuing education (CE) requirement?

Designation holders who are considered client-facing are required to complete 30 credit hours of CE every two years, including one (1) hour of ethics CE. Designation holders who are considered non-client-facing are required to report one (1) hour of ethics CE every two years.

How are CE credit hours reported?

CE credits earned through coursework at The College will be recorded automatically. CE credits taken outside of The College are self-reported. Designees can record and track all CE credits online through their College account.

How do I earn CE?

To earn CE credit, you must:

A. Complete a pre-approved self-study program that contains an examination or other procedure by which mastery of the program is demonstrated to the program’s sponsor. One (1) CE credit is earned for each hour of approved credit. Programs pre-approved for CE credits by the CFP Board of Standards, State Insurance Commission, State Bar, or State Board of Accountancy are accepted by the Professional Recertification Program. These programs may be offered by any of the following:

  • A nationally-recognized professional society or other nonprofit professional association

  • A college or university

  • Other continuing education providers approved by The College

B. Pass an examination in the recertification period for:

  • A course in The American College Huebner School or Graduate School program or another recognized professional designation program (30 hours per course)

  • A FINRA license (30 hours)

  • The CFP® certification (30 hours)

  • A college or university course from which credit can be earned toward a degree (15 hours for each semester credit hour or its equivalent)

C. Attend a live or virtual educational program or meeting that has at least one (1) credit hour (50 minutes of attendance equals one credit hour). These programs or meetings may be offered by any of the following groups:

  • A nationally-recognized professional society or other nonprofit professional association, including its chapters

  • A college or university

  • The designee’s employer or any other organization that provides educational programs and meetings. 

Can I apply CE credits that I earned to meet other CE program requirements?

Credits approved for State Insurance CE, CFP® certification, CPE, CLE, and Securities Professionals that are accrued in the Professional Recertification reporting cycle can be applied to Professional Recertification Program requirements. Credits earned outside the reporting cycle do not apply.

Does the Professional Recertification Program offer an ethics course?

Yes. The College offers an ethics course at no additional fee to participants. This course will satisfy the ethics CE requirement for the Professional Recertification Program. Participants may enroll in this course (CE128) through their College portal. The ethics credit may also be satisfied by taking approved courses from other providers. 

Will the ethics course included in the Professional Recertification Program also fulfill my state insurance ethics requirements?

The ethics course offered through the Professional Recertification Program has been filed with the appropriate state offices. Pending final approval, the course should meet state ethics CE requirements in all states except New York, Texas, and Wisconsin.

How will my CE requirements be affected if my client-facing status changes in the middle of a reporting cycle?

Should the client-facing status of a designee change mid-cycle, their CE requirements are still based on their status at the beginning of the current two-year cycle and will change at the beginning of the next cycle. The annual recertification fee will change to reflect current client-facing status at the next annual payment due date.