When was Fincert.org established?
Fincert.org was established in 2006 under its former name: Center for Financial Certifications.
What prior experience is required?
What are the different programs?
1.The Certified Personal Finance Counselor (CPFC) – This is the program that has been approved under the various state Uniform Debt Management Services Acts as well as state laws that regulate the Debt Management Services Industry. This program was developed for those who provide one on one credit counseling/budget counseling/money coaching. This program is also available in Spanish.
2.The Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF)-This is the program that was developed for those teachers, or those providing workshops or seminars on topics covering personal financial money management. This program is also available in Spanish.
3.The Certified Consumer Debt Specialist (CCDS) – This is the program that has been approved under various state Uniform Debt Management Services Acts that regulate the Debt Settlement Industry. It was specifically written for those working in the debt settlement industry.
4.The Certified Residential Housing Counselor (CRHC) – This program was developed for those providing housing counseling services.
5.The Certified Consumer Receivables Counselor (CCRC)-This program was developed for those working in the collections industry.
Why aren’t you listed on the BBB site?
The BBB is a company that offers a subscription service in which other companies pay the BBB to be listed on their site. Being listed on the BBB is not necessarily indicative of a company’s quality or trustworthiness.
Due to the costs, our organization chose not to list with the BBB. Instead, we rely on the fact that our certification programs are recognized by state and federal regulators to demonstrate the value of our certifications. Our parent organization, the Institute for Financial Literacy, was also mentioned in a June 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress. This GAO report cited the Institute for Financial Literacy’s certification activities (which are conducted through the Center for Financial Certifications) as part of a larger study of what role the government, specifically the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, should play in certification and accreditation within the field of financial literacy.
I want to start my own business of helping a lot of my family and friends get their finances together. Would I be viewed as a professional once I complete your program and pass the certification test?
Many states require individuals and/or organizations providing financial counseling and education services to the general public to be licensed by the state, depending on the scope of services to be provided. In order to become licensed, these states often require individuals delivering these services to become certified by an independent third party organization such as the Center for Financial Certifications, and in these states the Center’s Certified Personal Finance Counselor (“CPFC”) certification is recognized.
Whether or not you need to become licensed is absolutely and completely dependent on what services you will be offering, federal law and the laws of the state in which you will be offering those services. To determine whether you need to be licensed in your state, you will first need to determine EXACTLY the types of services you wish to provide. Once you have a clear idea of the services you wish to offer, you will need to either obtain the services of a lawyer to help you conduct the legal analysis, or conduct the legal analysis yourself. I’m sorry we cannot provide more detailed information on licensing requirements. Unfortunately, the Center for Financial Certifications by law cannot provide you with legal advice or direction, as we are not a law firm or legal services agency.
However, from a skills/professional perspective, our CPFC certification program will give you professional training and the basic skills you need to provide financial counseling services.
Is your CRHC program HUD certified?
Our CRHC certification is not currently approved by HUD.
I live in (insert country) can I still be certified and what are the costs?
You can become certified. We are happy to ship directly to (country name), we would simply request you pay any additional shipping costs.
An employee I just enrolled quit/was fired. Can I transfer the program to another employee?
If an employer paid for the Certification Enrollment Fee, and the Applicant has not yet taken the Certification Examination, the employer may request a transfer of the enrollment to a new employee/Applicant. The new Applicant will need to submit their Enrollment Application through Fincert and the employer will need to pay a transfer fee of either $25 or $50 (fee dependent on how old the initial application is). The new Applicant will then have a full year to complete the program.
How much do the certification programs cost? Are there discounts available?
CPFC, CEPF, CCDS, CCRC: $399
We do have group discounts available.
Is there a specific breakdown of the $399 with one portion dedicated to the training manual, and one portion dedicated to the cost of completing the test and the actual certification?
The current certification fee is not broken down; it is a flat fee that covers the registration, materials, examination and certification.
How long does the class take to complete and is this an online or correspondence course?
Our certifications are self-study courses so the materials are available and are studied independently and at your own pace. The CPFC is currently the only program where all content and materials are accessed online. For the following programs: CEPF, CCDS, CCRC and CRHC all the study materials are mailed directly to your house or place of work. All of our exams are available and accessed online through our online portal. You are required to download the software associated with the proctor’s website in order to complete the exam.
I want to make sure any “Certifications” I get come with credentials and are known and respected throughout the industry.
Our certification program is recognized by state and federal regulators. In addition, our parent organization, the Institute for Financial Literacy, was also mentioned in a June 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress. This GAO report cited the Institute for Financial Literacy’s certification activities (which are conducted through the Center for Financial Certifications) as part of a larger study of what role the government, specifically the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, should play in certification and accreditation within the field of financial literacy. The institute was the only certifying body which was mentioned by name in this report.
What is the process to enroll in the certification program?
To enroll in the certification program, you must submit the enrollment form at Fincert.org.
What happens after you submit an application with Fincert?
Immediately: Application is sent to Fincert team. If payment was made online, you will receive a receipt via email.
Within 2 business days: Fincert will review your application and confirm your status via email.
7-10 days following enrollment: You will receive the Fincert.org Certification Manual for the course you selected. This material may come electronically or via USPS depending on the course. As soon as you receive the material, start studying at your own pace!
15-30 days following enrollment: You will receive 2 emails over these weeks with details regarding your Certification Examination. These emails will contain your username and password as well as links to the exam software and exam guides. Your examination is activated 30 days after your application approval.
30-365 days following enrollment: Study, study.. exam! You have a full year to prepare for the exam if you wish to use it. The online exam does not need to be scheduled in advance and you can complete it from your home or office.
Is there an online component to any of the programs?
All of the exams are taken online.
Currently, the only study materials available online are for the CPFC program.
What is a passing grade on the exams?
CPFC/CEPF/CCDS/CCRC- 70% or better
CRCH- 80% or better
If I fail the exam, can I retake it? Is there a cost?
You may retake the exam up to 2 additional times. The retake fee is $60
How do I take the exam?
After your initial wait period of 30 days, you will have access to the exam online. The exam information will be automatically sent to the email address provided when applied.
What happens after I pass the exam?
Exams are graded upon receipt of the exam information from the remote proctor. If everything is in order, you will receive a letter informing you that you passed or failed. Certificates will be sent out within two weeks of us grading your exam.
Renewing your Certification
I received a renewal letter. Where is my certificate?
The letters you received are the official certification documents now, and they stand by themselves (in other words, they do not need to be paired with the display certificate to demonstrate certification status). If a regulator contacted us, the letter is what we would send them as verification of certification (and what you should provide to regulators as well). Display certificates should not be sent to regulators as proof of certification.
Replacements for display certificates are available for $25.00.
How many CEU’s do you need to renew?
You need to complete 16 CEU’s 2 of which must be in the ethics category.
How often do I need to renew?
Each certification is valid for a two year period.
What happens if I don’t have the CEUs to renew my certification, but I do want to renew it?
Certificants have the option to Renew by Examination. The fee for this is $249.
If I have all my CEUs, how do I renew my certification?
It is the certificant’s responsibility to ensure that their CEUs are up to date and submitted to Fincert. When you are ready, please submit your Renewal by CEU Application on Fincert.org.
I am interested in the course you offer to become a certified personal financial counselor. However, I am based in the UK, do you run the course with appropriate content for operating in the UK?
While the bulk of the content addresses the basic elements of personal finance, ethics and counseling techniques and is applicable worldwide, there are some statutory references and discussions of fiduciary responsibility that assume operation in the United States. That said, we have several individuals from Canada who have become certified. To date, we have not sought approval of any of our programs for meeting any professional regulatory requirements in the UK.
What is the difference between the personal financial counselor and debt counselor certifications?
The Certified Personal Finance Counselor and the Certified Consumer Debt Specialist are both designed for professionals working with clients on a one-on-one environment. The primary difference is that the Certified Consumer Debt Specialist emphasizes employment within the debt settlement industry, where the Certified Personal Finance Counselor is directed more towards employees of traditional credit counseling agencies and other professionals seeking to broaden their client service skills in the area of personal finance and counseling. If you are not sure which program is appropriate for you, we would recommend the Certified Personal Finance Counselor, as it is more broadly applicable to a variety of professionals and situations.
Regarding the CPFC and the meaning of “approved” and “recognized”
Approved means the state has a requirement that credit counselors be certified and that the state approves programs. Recognized means that the state requires that credit counselors be certified, but the state does not approve programs.
CPFC -is approved in the Uniform Debt Management Services Act (UDMSA) states of Delaware, Utah and Colorado. Maine and Pennsylvania approve programs under their respective state laws. The CPFC has is an approved certification provider for member agencies of the AICCCA (Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies).
CCDS -is also approved in the Uniform Debt Management Services Act (UDMSA) states of Delaware, Utah and Colorado. It is also approved in Maine.
CEPF- there is currently no approval process for this program
CRHC- this program is not recognized by HUD
CCRC- there is no approval process for this program.