How to Become a CRC® Professional

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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.



What do I need to know about how to become a CRC®?

What is my time commitment to become a CRC®?

You will study 5 subject concentrations and should plan to spend 15-25 hours of study for each of the first four study guides and 5-8 hours for CRC 5. Actual study time will vary based on your prior knowledge and experience.

What materials do I need to become a CRC®?

InFRE offers Study Guides and elearning modules developed specifically for CRC® Candidates. You may determine your own study path to prepare for the CRC® exam and are not required to purchase study materials offered by InFRE or any other source.

How much does it cost to become a CRC®?

There is no fee to register to become a CRC Candidate. Study Guide and Exam Fees are as follows:

Better Value: Complete set of 5 Guides
Save $86 over individual print book purchases
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Certification Examination Fee $525* Add to Cart Button
BEST VALUE! Purchase your study guides and pay
your exam fee now to save time and money!
Save $99 off the study guides when purchased together
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Optional Study Guides purchased separately $130 for CRC 1 – 4 and $65 for CRC 5. Click here for purchase options.

* Group discounts available. Contact InFRE for more information


Four steps to initial CRC® certification

Step 1: Complete the Certified Retirement Counselor® (CRC®) Registration Form.

Register for no fee either online, by faxing the Registration Form, or calling 847-756-7350 ext. 134 to register over the phone. Following registration, expect a confirmation email with information about upcoming exam dates and how to schedule your exam. If you do not receive this email within two weeks of submitting your registration form, call number above.

Step 2: Prepare for the Examination.

Begin to prepare for the exam by first reviewing the CRC® Test Specifications. The four-hour, 200-question multiple-choice exam covers the domains of practice and knowledge required to perform tasks listed in the CRC® Test Specifications, and should be well understood before taking the exam. You may choose to use your own study materials and other resources to prepare for the examination.

Become familiar with how the exam is developed and administered:

Purchase InFRE’s Study Materials to help you prepare.

InFRE offers optional print, live classroom review and online exam preparation resources to help candidates prepare for the exam.

Complete set of 5 Study Guides
Save $86 over individual print book purchases
$499* Add to Cart Button
Purchase Study Guides and Exam fee
Save $99 off the study guides when purchased together
$925* Add to Cart Button

You’ll also receive access to the CRC® Elearning Review Courses ($249 value), developed and taught by a team of Certified Financial Planners®, to supplement your self-study preparation for exams. These 38 online sessions, totaling more than 18 hours of content, may be viewed by candidates at their convenience to clarify concepts and answer questions on the more difficult topics. Click here to view a sample.

CFP® Continuing Education Credit Certificates. The CRC® 2 & 3 curriculum is approved to meet CFP® continuing education requirements. CFP credits can be self-reported for free.

Step 3: Pass the CRC® Certification Examination.

To sit for the exam, complete a Request to Schedule CRC® Examination Form and submit it with your $525 exam fee.

Certification Examination Fee $525* Add to Cart Button

You may pay the fee online, or call 847-756-7350 ext. 134 to schedule an exam by phone. The exam is administered four times a year in January, April, July and October at computer based testing centers and you will be able to obtain immediate pass/fail results upon completion. Click here to learn more about the CRC® exam and view the schedule for upcoming exams.

Step 4: Complete the Certification Process.

Once you pass the exam, Candidates for CRC® certification must also meet the remaining eligibility requirements. Certification is awarded upon:

  • Verification that the Candidate meets the education and experience requirements of completion of a bachelor’s degree (or higher), or its equivalent, in any discipline, from an accredited college or university and a minimum of two (2) years relevant retirement related professional experience (within the last five years) -or- completing a high school diploma or its equivalent and five (5) years relevant retirement related professional experience (within the past seven years).
  • Completing an initial Certificate Holder’s Statement indicating adherence to the CRC Code of Ethics. InFRE must receive this document within three months of notification of passing the exam or the Candidate must retest.Candidates are not allowed to use the certification until they have met all the requirements above. Candidates who pass the exam but have not met their education and experience requirements have five (5) years from their exam date to complete these requirements or the Candidate must retest.

Maintaining your CRC® certification

The Annual Renewal Fee is $140. To maintain your use of the certification, Certificants must also annually complete 15 hours of approved continuing education. CE requirements can typically be fulfilled by attending conferences, attending internal training programs and earning CE for insurance licenses and other licenses and designations.

For more CRC® information

The CRC Candidate Handbook contains essential information for Certified Retirement Counselor (CRC) program candidates. Please read it carefully and keep it readily available as a reference until you have achieved Certificant status. Candidates are responsible for knowing the contents of this Handbook.

Click on the following links for information in the Handbook about:

For more details pertaining to CRC certification initial and ongoing requirements and other policies, review the CRC Program Policies Manual.

Click on the following links for information in the Manual about:

General policies and procedures regarding the certification, including:

Certification requirements, including:

If you have additional questions, please contact InFRE by email or call 847-756-7350 ext. 134.