The requirements for the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS™) credential are established by the Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Division staff at the AICPA, the National Accreditation Commission, along with the PFS Credential Committee, and accurately reflect the depth and breadth of experience and technical expertise required to obtain this credential. The 4 major requirements are:
Obtain the CPA License and be a current member of the AICPA
A PFS candidate must hold a valid and unrevoked CPA permit, license or certificate issued by a legally constituted state authority. You must also be a current Regular member of the AICPA.
Obtain PFP Education
You must earn a minimum of 75 hours of personal financial planning education within the five-year period preceding the date of the PFS application. The AICPA offers PFP education opportunities
that qualify. The education must be in any of the 12 areas that make up the PFP Body of Knowledge. Alternative sources include a combination of professional CPD, approved courses at an accredited university or college, or presenting and authoring on financial planning subjects.
The education obtained with all 5 of the PFP Certificates will meet this requirement.
In addition, there are PFS exam review options to meet your needs.
Attain a Specified Level of PFP Experience
Within the five-year period preceding the date of the CPA/PFS application, you must have either:
- 2 years of full-time business or teaching experience (or 3,000 hours equivalent) in personal financial planning or;
- For candidates in academia, a qualified credential holder should be a full-time professor and have taught at least 4 accredited college courses with 50% of their material included in the CPA/PFS Body of Knowledge.
The experience must be in any of the 12 areas that make up the PFP Body of Knowledge
, found in the CPA/PFS Credential Handbook. Note that up to 1,000 hours of tax compliance experience can count toward the total experience requirement.
Pass a PFP Examination
The CPA/PFS candidate must successfully pass a PFP-related exam. Successful completion of the following exams will qualify:
- Personal Financial Specialist (CPA/PFS) - either online or at testing centers
- All 4 of the PFP Certificate exams
- Certified Financial Planner® (CFP)
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
PFS Pre-Certification FAQs
Download the PFS Credential Handbook for further details.
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