Earn the CTFA

To earn the Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA) designation, candidates must:

  • Meet the eligibility requirements;
  • Submit completed application and fees for desired exam date;
  • Pass the CTFA examination.
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 Eligibility

 

Requirements

You must meet the following eligibility requirements by the time that you take the exam. ABA will accept your application with education/training that is scheduled to be completed by your exam date.

ABA certifications are based on U.S. laws and regulations and are therefore not offered outside the U.S.

Experience Tiers

Three (3) years minimum experience in wealth management AND completion of ONE of the following three wealth management training programs:

OR

Five (5) years minimum experience in wealth management AND a bachelor's degree

OR

Ten (10) or more years experience in wealth management


Professional Expe​rience

Wealth Management experience is defined as client interaction, whether direct or indirect, in the furtherance of delivering fiduciary services relating to trusts, estates, IRAs, qualified retirement plans, custody and individual asset management accounts. This experience may also include providing specialty services and solutions in one or more administrative, investment management, tax, legal, financial, and estate planning services and solutions. It is recognized that these services can be delivered in an integrated or specialty-focused manner. Please note that experience in employee benefit trust, corporate trust or securities/trust operations does not qualify as wealth management experience.

Ethics Statement

Each candidate must sign ABA Professional Certifications' Code of Ethics statement. Please note: you must furnish all pertinent information about any convictions or pleas of nolo contendere on the grounds of fraud, embezzlement, unfair or deceptive practices, securities law violations, misappropriation of property, fraudulent conversations or any civil or administrative action from which you have been previously found liable.​


 

 Application

 

​How to Apply

  1. Check the eligibility requirements to determine that you qualify.
  2. Review the available exam dates below.
  3. Purchase the exam. Payment must be made by credit card. (You will be prompted to create a Certification Manager account.)
  4. Complete and submit the application that appears following the purchase. 

You will receive an Approval/Denial email from ABA within two weeks after receiving your application, along with additional details about the exam site. If your application is denied, you will receive a refund of your exam fee minus a $100 application fee.


Have a Certifications account or retaking an exam? Log In
Need Help? View Application Video
 

Exam Dates & Fees

The CTFA Exam Fee is $725. For retakes, the fee is $425.

Exam Date/Window Exam Site Application
Due Date
Feb. 3, 2018 Cannon Financial Institute
Hilton Head, SC
Paper Based
Jan. 4, 2018
May 1-31, 2018 Castle Test Sites
Computer Based
Mar. 2, 2018
May 26, 2018 Cannon Financial Institute
Malibu, CA
Paper Based
Apr. 26, 2018
Jul. 14, 2018 Cannon Financial Institute
South Bend, IN
Paper Based
Jun. 14, 2018
Aug. 1-31, 2018 Castle Test Sites
Computer Based
Jun. 1, 2018
Aug. 11, 2018 Cannon Financial Institute
Boston, MA
Paper Based
Jul. 12, 2018
Sep. 22, 2018 Cannon Financial Institute
Atlanta, GA
Paper Based
Aug. 23, 2018
Nov. 1-30, 2018 Castle Test Sites
Computer Based
Sep. 4, 2018

Castle Test Sites - Candidates select a date and time within the identified date range, subject to testing center availability. Find Castle Test Site locations by City/State.
 


Exam Cancellation or Rescheduling

Should you need to cancel or reschedule your exam after application, please review the procedures and fee schedule on the Exam Cancellation/Rescheduling page.

All change and cancellation requests must be emailed to AB​A Certifications​

Exam Retakes

  • You must wait a minimum of 90 days before you are allowed to retake an exam on the next scheduled exam date.
  • There is no limit to the number of times you can take the exam.
  • You must pass the exam within a 3 year period from the date of your first exam attempt or a new application and full fee is required.
  • Effective for exam dates after January 1, 2018, paper applications are no longer accepted. Please apply to retake the exam by logging in to the Certification Manager.
  • The $425 retake pricing will display if you have previously taken this exam. After completing your purchase, please complete the retake application and submit by the application due date for the desired exam date.
 

 Exam Information

 

Exam Format, Scoring and Reporting

  • 200 multiple-choice questions (see sample questions)
  • Maximum 4 hour timeframe allowed
  • Calculators or other devices not permitted
  • Instant "Pass/Fail" outcome provided for computer based exams at a testing center
  • Official score reports delivered via email within 4 weeks after the close of the exam window 
  • For full details, read the Certification Exam FAQs

Knowledge Areas

The CTFA advisory board has determined that a competent trust advisor'professional's expertise includes the following knowledge areas. Please review the CTFA Examination Outline for more specifics.

  • Fiduciary & Trust Activities
  • Financial Planning
  • Tax Law & Planning
  • Investment Management
  • Ethics

Study Resources 

While ABA recommends these resources as appropriate examination preparation, ABA does not guarantee that you will pass the exam by completing these educational programs or studying these materials alone. The CTFA exam assesses not only your knowledge of the topics on the exam outline, but also your application of that knowledge. You should refer frequently to the CTFA exam outline  when preparing for the exam.

Examination Misconduct

All persons taking one of ABA Professional Certifications' examinations are expected to abide by all rules and regulations governing the examination before, during and after the examination. Possession of copies of any current or previous examination given by ABA Professional Certifications (formerly ICB) is not authorized and is a violation of the rules governing certification exams. Persons taking an ABA Professional Certifications examination are not permitted to take notes about the examination.

Any person found to have violated any of the rules governing ABA Professional Certifications exams, or to have conducted themselves in a dishonest or unethical manner with respect to the taking of an ABA Professional Certifications exam is subject to sanctions determined to be appropriate by ABA Professional Certifications, in its sole discretion, including, but not limited to: denial of certification; denial of the right to take any or all ABA Professional Certifications examinations. Answer sheets provided at paper/pencil testing sites determined, before grading, to have been completed by a person who has violated ABA Professional Certifications examination rules will not be graded. We reserve the right to pursue any and all remedies available to it, including legal remedies, with respect to any violation of its examination rules against anyone who violated ABA Professional Certifications examination rules or aided another in violating these rules.


Questions? Please contact ABA Certifications for more information.

 

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 Ready to Apply?

 

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