About Designation Descriptions

Chartered Life Underwriter

The Chartered Life Underwriter ("CLU") professional designation is granted by The American College. To obtain the designation the candidate must complete 5 core and 3 elective courses and a final proctored exam for each course. Prerequisites for the CLU designation are 3 years of full time business experience within the five years preceding the awarding of the designation. To maintain the designation the designee must complete 30 hours of continuing education every 2 years.

Chartered Financial Consultant

The Chartered Financial Consultant ("ChFC") professional designation is granted by The American College. To obtain the designation the candidate must complete 6 core and 2 elective courses and a final proctored exam for each course. Prerequisites for the ChFC designation are 3 years of full time business experience within the five years preceding the awarding of the designation. To maintain the designation the designee must complete 30 CE credits every 2 years.

Accredited Estate Planner

The Accredited Estate Planner ("AEP") professional designation is granted by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils. Prerequisites for the designation are as follows: Candidate must meet all of the following requirements:

  • The Accredited Estate Planner® designation is available to attorneys, Chartered Life Underwriters®, Certified Public Accountants, Certified Trust and Financial Advisors, Chartered Financial Consultants®, and Certified Financial Planners® who are actively engaged in estate planning and meet stringent qualifications at the time of application and commit to ongoing continuing education and recertification requirements.
  • Education requirements are as follows:
  • graduate level courses administered by The American College or from another accredited graduate program as part of a master's or doctoral degree unless applicant has 15 or more years experience as an estate planner
  • To obtain the designation the candidate must complete a final exam for each course above. To maintain the designation designee must complete 30 hours every 24 months of continuing education, including 15 hours in estate planning. Re certification is required annually.

Certified Retirement Counselor

The Certified Retirement Counselor ("CRC") professional designation is granted by the International Foundation for Retirement Education® (InFRE). Prerequisites for the designation are as follows:

The International Foundation for Retirement Education® (InFRE) is a non profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1997 to address the tremendous retirement challenge facing all Americans. It exists solely to help retirement counselors and administrators increase the retirement preparedness of the American worker. With InFRE, professionals from multiple industries have access to quality education and tools so they can assist employees and clients with retirement preparedness.

InFRE's Certified Retirement Counselor® (CRC®) certification was created to advance recognition among retirement planning professionals of the need for a retirement specific certification program that demonstrates a mastery of subject matter, a commitment to the retirement planning profession, and adherence to a code of ethics and continuing education requirements. As of September 1, 2009, the CRC® officially met the certification accreditation standards of the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The rigorous, independent standards of the NCCA are designed to help ensure the health, welfare, and safety of the public.

Since its inception, over 2,000 retirement professionals have earned InFRE certifications, having demonstrated an essential understanding of the concepts, products and services necessary to help American workers become retirement ready and to manage their retirement income to last throughout their lifetimes.

To earn the right to use the CRC® marks, InFRE’s Certified Retirement Counselor® certification is awarded upon successful demonstration of meeting the following requirements:

college or university and a minimum of two (2) years of relevant retirement related professional experience (within the last five (5) years).

OR

Completing a high school diploma or its equivalent and five (5) years relevant retirement related professional experience (within the past seven (7) years).

  • Passing a complete background check.
  • Completing a signed initial Certificate Holder’s Statement indicating adherence to the CRC® Code of Ethics and annual continuing education requirements.
  • Demonstrating mastery of subject matter by successfully completing a proctored examination.

The CRC® certification carries an obligation of continuing education to help Certificants maintain current understanding and knowledge of relevant retirement planning topics. Like many other professional certifications and licenses, an annual continuing education requirement assures a Certificant’s commitment to life long learning. The one year continuing education requirement is important for professionals working in a dynamic industry with a constantly changing legislative, tax and resources environment.

In order to maintain active status, a Certificant must submit the following on an annual basis:

  • A form confirming at least 15 hours of continuing education; and
  • A signed Certificate Holder’s Statement attesting to their understanding of and compliance with ethics requirements.

CRC® professionals who fail to comply with the above standards and requirements may be subject to InFRE’s Board of Standards disciplinary process, which could result in suspension or permanent revocation of their CRC® certification.

CERTIFIED WEALTH STRATAGIST ®

Obtaining the Certified Wealth Strategist® designation provides financial services professionals with the technical knowledge, practice management know-how and the critical client communication skills to create and build a wealth advisory practice that works effectively for clients with more complex wealth issues. These professionals strive to become their clients’ trusted advisor.

“The creation of the CWS® designation was in response to a need in the industry for a practical, application-based certification program for financial professionals. Specifically, in volatile times like the present, a respected financial service professional requires the skill set of a “trusted advisor”. Defined as an advisor with not only the competencies to understand their clients specific wealth needs but the conversational skills to communicate it in a way that the client comprehends. Completing this designation distinguishes the recipient for their commitment to their clients’

The program combines practice management, client interaction skills and academic knowledge so advisors are able to provide strategic direction over a broad base of issues important to these clients and effectively utilize the resources of their firm and alliances to help create wealth management plans and solve gaps in the client's financial situation on an ongoing basis.

To obtain the Certified Wealth Strategist® certification one must go through a comprehensive blended-approach to learning. The program consists of 4 days of classroom training, months of directed study, video (including textbooks & study guides, e-learning lessons, technical tests) and completion of a final Capstone project. The entire study takes approximately six months to complete. The designation is awarded upon the successful completion of the entire program and passing of the Capstone project. The Certified Wealth Strategist® education and designation are administered by Cannon Financial Institute, in which the CWS® Board of Standards awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements.