Why Get Certified?

You are the front line. No matter what the client's personal situation; whether it's an in-person counseling session, a phone session or a workshop; you're it. You are the one who has to have the answers; you are the one who has to keep a cool head when frustrations flare; you are the one who needs to help the client understand there could be more efficient ways for them to handle their personal finances. See below for the steps and requirements to become certified.


To be eligible for the PFE certification programs, the registrant must:

I. Have a high school degree or the equivalent

II. Have a minimum of six months’ work experience in any of the following:
  • Debt Relief Industry, including but not limited to: Credit/Housing/Mortgage and Reverse Mortgage/Bankruptcy/Debt/Budget Counseling
  • Financial Services Industry, including, but not limited to: Consumer Finance/Lending, Financial Planning/Advising, Collections
  • Or other relevant work experience, including but not limited to: Credit Reporting, Accounting, Financial Education, Financial Therapy


The certification exam is a 100 question multiple choice, proctored, closed book exam. Exams must be taken within a year from the date of enrollment. The passing grade is 70%.

An Exam Retake is allowed for a $50 fee. It is up to the individual/agency as to the number of exam retakes the enrollee can take.

Post Certification

Certifications are valid for a two year period, which starts on the date the exam was taken.

Continuing Education

Continuing Education Requirements.

In order to renew certification, the certificate holder must have completed 16 continuing education units (CEUs) in the two year period leading up to renewal. Please note that each continuing education piece can only be completed once in the two year certification cycle.

  1. 1 CEU is required in ethics.
  2. 15 CEUs are required in topics related to the certification program.

Acceptable Continuing Education (CE) Programs.

  1. Any topics covered in the training manual will be considered acceptable for continuing education.
  2. In order for written material to be eligible for continuing education credit, there must be a testing component, with proof of completion generated.
  3. If the continuing education unit is a live presentation, a certificate of attendance/completion must be generated.
  4. Topics specific to the workplace (operational training or agency specific in content) will not be accepted for continuing education.
  5. Retail books and newspaper and magazine articles will not be accepted for continuing education.

Preapproved Continuing Education Units:

Partnership for Financial Education: American Center for Credit Education:
  • Make Your Move… A Guide to Home Ownership – 5 CEUs
  • Money in Motion – 3 CEUs
Institute of Consumer Financial Education:
  • Credit When Credit is Due – 10 CEUs

Notice regarding approval of CEU submission will be sent out within 14 business days of receipt.

Verification of Completion

Certificate holders will be required to obtain CEU proof of completion. Proof of completion must contain:

  1. Certificate holder’s name.
  2. Date of CE completion.
  3. Title of CE program.
  4. Number of CEUs earned.
  5. Name and signature of CE provider representative.

Certificate holders are not required to submit verification of completion on an ongoing basis. Verification of completion will need to be submitted with the Certification renewal Form.

Certification Renewal

There is a $50 certification renewal fee.

  1. 16 hours of continuing education (CE) are required to renew certification. (Of the 16 CEUs, 1 is required in Ethics.).
  2. Completed CEUs must be reported on the Certification Renewal Form.
  3. Verification of completion of CEUs must be submitted with the Renewal Form.
  4. CEUs earned in excess of the requirement may not be carried into the next certification period.
  5. A 45 day grace period will be granted to those who need time to complete their CE requirement. Alternatively, certificate holders can re-take the certification exam (the fee will be the prevailing certification program fee).
  6. Documentation of the new expiration date will be issued within 14 business days of receipt of paperwork.