Financial Therapy Certification

The Certified Financial Therapist-I™ (CFT-I™) designation will be a professional certification for both financial and mental health professionals conferred by the Financial Therapy Association. There are three planned levels of the certification, with Level I being the most foundational. To become a CFT-I™, individuals must meet specific educational and experience requirements across the areas of 1) financial therapy, 2) financial planning and financial counseling, and 3) therapeutic competencies. More information will be communicated here over the coming months, so please check back often for updates.

Requirements for CFT-I

1. Education
CFT-I™ applicants are required to have a Bachelor’s degree or higher in:

a. A Financial related field (e.g., financial planning, finance, consumer economics);
b. A Mental Health related field (e.g., psychology, therapy/counseling, social work, human development);

c. If you hold a Bachelor's degree in any other field, plus hold the CFP® designation, the educational requirements will be considered met;

d. If you hold anything other than what is outlined within points a, b, or c, you will need to submit for a special reviewin which the FTA Regulatory Committee will conduct a review to determine how your education aligns with certification requirements, which may include a review of your credentials, experience, formal education, and personal references.

2. Competency Training

Applicants must acquire the competencies for CFT-I™ certification via FTA's educational video series, as well as self-study. The FTA financial therapy certification video series will be available fall 2018, but applicants may begin preparing for the comprehensive examination at any time by reviewing the FTA's CFT-I™ Resource Guide and the CFT-I™ Competency Training Outline.

3. Experience

Applicants must demonstrate that they have completed the following experience requirements (Parts I-III).

Part I: The CFT-I™ experience requirement consists of a total of 500 hours*, 250 of which must be direct client service hours** (paid or volunteer is acceptable).
The remaining 250 hours can be earned through alternative experience, which includes:

      a. Additional direct client experience (up to 250 hours)

      b. Professional presentations (up to 50 hours)

      c. Teaching (up to 125 hours)

      d. Peer-reviewed research (up to 50 hours)

      e. Writing financial plans or conducting financial analyses (up to 125 hours)

*Documented hours within 15 years of the application date will be accepted.
**Those applicants who do not meet the minimum of 250 direct client services hours must complete an FTA financial therapy experience training course prior to receiving the designation. More information on experience training courses will be available soon.

Part II: Applicants will have a letter of reference submitted on their behalf attesting to their fulfillment of the experience requirement, as well as a brief narrative on their skills and character.

Part III: Applicants will also submit a summary narrative of how CFT-I™ education and financial therapy knowledge has impacted their thinking and/or work in their home discipline (a minimum of 1000 words, up to a maximum of 1500 words).

4. Examination

Applicants must successfully pass a comprehensive CFT-I™ certification exam after completing all necessary competency training and self-study. The CFT-I™ certification exam will consist of 100 multiple-choice questions and will be available via an online platform in fall 2018. The exam will have a 2-hour time limit.

5. Ethical Standards

Applicants must sign an agreement for adherence to the FTA Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

6. Continuing Education

Once certified, financial therapists must complete continuing education to maintain their certification. They also must maintain member in good standing status with the Financial Therapy Association.

7. Cost

8. Summary

The CFT-I™ certificant, conferred by the Financial Therapy Association, is allowed to hold themselves out publicly as a Certified Financial Therapist-I™ (CFT-I™) when:

a. All CFT-I™ educational, experience, and competency training requirements are complete;


Therapeutic Competencies

Financial Competencies

Financial Therapy Competencies

The Fundamentals of Therapy

The Fundamentals of Economics

Self of the Financial Therapist

Theories and Models of Therapeutic Intervention - I

The Basics of Behavioral Economics

Ethical Behavior and Standards of Practice in Financial Therapy

Theories and Models of Therapeutic Intervention - II

The Fundamentals of Financial Planning

Money and Relationships

Communication/General Counseling Skills - I

Money Management – I

Cash Flow and Net Worth

Evaluation of Financial Therapy Research

Communication/General Counseling Skills - II

Money Management – II

Credit and Debt Management


Knowledge of Mental Health Diagnoses

Identity Theft and Consumer Protections

Culture and Diversity

Basic Financial Analysis – I

Basic Financial Analysis – II

b. The FTA Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics adherence agreement is signed and submitted;

c. The applicant successfully passes the comprehensive CFT-I™ Certification exam;

d. The applicant receives confirmation of their completed certification status by the FTA Regulatory Committee.