National Credential
Credential: Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC)  GI Bill resource  NCCA resource
Credentialing Agency: Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE)

The Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) designation enables the individual to work with clients in a financial counseling or education setting to assess and improve their financial decision making. AFCs have skills to assist individuals and families in the complex process of financial decision making, including the ability to educate clients in sound financial principles, assist clients in the process of overcoming their financial indebtedness, help clients identify and modify ineffective money management behaviors, and guide clients in developing successful strategies for achieving their financial goals. Candidates must have a minimum of 1000 hours of financial counseling experience in addition to meeting education requirements. Candidate must pass a written exam, submit three letters of reference attesting to professional competence and experience (one from supervisor, one from a fellow professional and one from a client, and subscribe to the AFC Code of Ethics.

More information can be found on the certifying agency's website.

Renewal Period: 2 years

Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC)

The following Army Occupations provide training and/or experience that contributes to attaining this credential:

Personnel Category Occupation Occupation Type Related As Promotion Points Skill Level Star Proponent Funded Gap Analysis
Enlisted 7F Chaplain Resources Manager ASI other          

Army Table Legend

Related As

The military occupations shown in this table are related to this credential in one of four ways: Most, Some, or Other.

Most: This credential is directly related to most of the major duties associated with the military occupation (at least 80%). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Some: This credential is related to some tasks associated with the duties of the military occupation (related 80% to at least one or more critical tasks but less than 80% of all of the entire military occupation). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Other: This credential is related to this military occupation, but is more advanced or specialized and therefore will likely require additional education, training, or experience.

Promotion Points Promotion Points icon

This credential has been approved for promotion points for this MOS towards promotion to Sergeant and Staff Sergeant. Clicking the Promotion Points icon will open a link to the promotion points fact sheet.

Skill Level Designation

Skill Level I: This skill level consists of all Soldiers in the ranks of Private (pay grade E-1) up to Specialist (pay grade E-4). Time in Service (TIS) is generally between initial entry and four Years of Service (YOS). This skill level is Entry-level positions requiring performance of tasks under direct supervision.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level I
  • Basic Leader Course (BLC)

Skill Level II: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Sergeant (paygrade E-5). TIS is generally between 4-8 YOS. Positions requiring performance of more difficult tasks under general supervision; and in some instances, involving supervision of Soldiers in SL1.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level II
  • Advance Leader Course (ALC)

Skill Level III: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Staff Sergeant (paygrade E-6). TIS is generally between 8-12 YOS. Positions requiring performance of still more difficult tasks and involving first line supervision of Soldiers in SL1 & SL2.

Institutional training:

  • Senior Leader Course (SLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level III

Skill level IV: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeant First Class (paygrade E-7). TIS is generally between 12-18 YOS. Positions requiring relatively detailed knowledge of all tasks specified for a given MOS, normally involving first-line supervision of Soldiers in SLs 1, 2, and 3, and involving managerial duties.

Institutional training:

  • Master Leader Course (MLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level IV
  • Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education (SEJPME) I Course

Skill level V: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant (paygrade E-8). TIS is generally between 18-22 YOS. Positions requiring direct and indirect leadership roles with expertise in company and battalion-level operations and competency across a given CMF, serving as members of a staff at every level in the Army, with a full understanding of the allocation of resources and their utilization in order to accomplish Army functions and missions.

Institutional training:

  • United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level V

Skill level VI: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeants Major (paygrade E-9). TIS is generally between 22-30 YOS. Positions requiring organizational leadership roles with multi-dimensional expertise in units and teams on division, corps, and Army staffs, integrated with Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational (JIIM) partners with a full understanding of the Force Generation process, operations at all echelons, and how the Army runs.

Star Credential Star icon

Star credentials are MOS enhancing, as designated by the Proponent. MOS enhancing credentials are directly related to an MOS or ASI, are taught either partially or completely as part of a Program of Instruction (POI), and improve the MOS technical proficiency.

Proponent Funded Funded icon

This icon indicates credentials which Soldiers may have funded through their MOS proponent. Some proponents offer credentialing opportunities in conjunction with military training and/or as part of MOS development beyond the training base.

Gap Analysis Has Analysis icon

A detailed analysis comparing the credential requirements to the military occupation has been completed. Click on the gap analysis icon to view the analysis page.

Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC)

Eligibility Requirements ()

Note: This credential may have multiple options for becoming eligible. Listed below are the minimum requirements based on the minimum degree required. To view other options, see the Eligibility tab.

  • Credential Prerequisite
  • Experience: 1000 hours
  • Education: Approved Program
  • Training
  • Membership
  • Other
  • Fee

Exam Requirements ()

  • Written Exam
  • Oral Exam
  • Practical Exam
  • Performance Assessment

Renewal Period: 2 years

  • Continuing Education
  • Exam
  • Continuing Education OR Exam
  • Fee
  • Other

Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE)
79 S. State St
Suite D3
Westerville, OH  43081
Phone: 614-368-1055
Fax: (703) 684-4485

Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC)

Candidate must have 1,000 hours of financial counseling experience.  Acceptable experience includes:

  • Offering one-on-one counseling or advising services for clients
  • Developing and conducting education and training for clients
  • Developing education and training programs for financial counselors
  • Conducting educational training for financial counselors
  • Serving as an education director for a financial counseling organization
  • Supervising financial counselors

Option 1: Candidate must have completed applicable course work in Personal Finance, Financial Planning, Financial Counseling, Consumer Science, or comparable curriculum from a regionally-accredited college or university in the United States during the past 7 years.

Option 2: Candidate must currently be a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) professional and provide verification that the professional certification is current and in good standing AND verify completion of applicable course work corresponding to the remaining competencies not met by the professional designation from a regionally-accredited college or university in the United States OR enroll in the AFCPE Financial Counseling and Debt Management self-study module.

Option 3: Candidate must complete the AFCPE Self-Paced Study Accredited Financial Counselor course. Qualifying military spouses may complete AFCPE Self-Paced Study through the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship program.

Option 4: Candidate must complete the AFCPE distance learning program offered by an approved distance learning provider.

Option 5: Candidate must complete an AFCPE approved university program.

The Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) credential has the following other requirements:

  • Candidate must agree to adhere to the AFC Code of Ethics.
  • Candidate must submit three letters of reference attesting to professional competence and experience. One letter must be from a supervisor and submitted on letterhead, one must be from a fellow financial counseling professional and submitted on letterhead, and one must be from a client.

Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC)

  • Set the Stage and Gather Client Information (10%)
    • Establish the Counseling Environment
    • Gather Client Information
    • Form a Strategic Counseling Plan
  • Assist a Client in Creating an Action Plan (12%)
    • Assist a Client in Establishing Goals
    • Assist a Client to Identify Strategies to Attain Goals
  • Develop Financial Statements, Ratios and Spending Plans (10%)
    • Educate a Client About a Cash Flow Statement
    • Educate a Client About a Net Worth Statement
    • Educate a Client About Personal Financial Ratios
    • Educate a Client About Spending Plans
  • Manage Money (15%)
    • Educate a Client About Financial Services
    • Familiarize a Client About Basic Tax Management
    • Discuss Employment Considerations With a Client
  • Manage Credit and Debt (15%)
    • Educate a Client About Uses of Credit
    • Educate a Client About Credit Reports and Scores
    • Educate a Client About Credit Products
    • Educate a Client on Debt Management
  • Educate a Client about Consumer Protection (6%)
    • Educate a Client About Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
    • Educate a Client About Identity Theft
    • Educate a Client About Investor Protection
  • Educate a Client about Major Acquisitions (7%)
    • Acquire Property
    • Educate a Client About Renting a Home
    • Educate a Client About Purchasing a Home
    • Educate a Client About Selling a Home
  • Manage Financial Risks (9%)
    • Educate a Client About Financial Risk
    • Educate a Client About Insurance Products
  • Discuss Investment Basics with a Client (8%)
    • Educate a Client About Investment Fundamentals
    • Educate a Client About Investment Choices
  • Educate a Client about the Financial Aspects of Retirement and Estate Planning (8%)
    • Educate a Client About Retirement Planning
    • Educate a Client About Estate Planning

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) examination:

An additional resource is Safari Books Online, a searchable digital library that provides online access to thousands of books, training videos and conference sessions. See the Educational Resources page here on COOL to learn how to get free access.

Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC)

Renewal Period: 2 years

The Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) credential has the following recertification information:

  • Certificants are required to complete 30 continuing education units (CEUs) during a two-year reporting cycle.