Table of Contents

Do I have to have completed a college degree in order to be a CFLE?

Yes. All applicants for the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) credential must have completed a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited* college/university.

*Accredited means a recognized regional agency for the accreditation of a Baccalaureate Institutions. Acceptable agencies include:

Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Degrees earned outside the United States
Applicants with a degree earned outside of the United States must provide evidence of degree equivalency to a degree earned in the United States. Credentials should be evaluated by an official credential evaluation service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). A list of members of NACES can be found at

Do I need to have a license to be a Family Life Educator?

There is no legal requirement for Family Life Education. Anyone can say that they are a Family Life Educator. That is one of the reasons that the National Council on Family Relations created the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) credential. The CFLE credential recognizes that the designate has met industry standards for effective practice.

How do I find continuing education opportunities?

CFLEs with full certification need to document continuing education credit (a minimum of 100 contact hours) every five years to show that they are staying current in the field of Family Life Education. This is shown by documenting completion of continuing education activities in: Academic Preparation, Professional Development and/or Work Experience.

CFLEs are required to give the following information about each activity.

  1. Name of activity.
  2. Date (range or single date) of the activity.
  3. Location/Sponsor of activity.
  4. Number of continuing education hours earned.
  5. CFLE Content Areas covered in the activity.

NCFR maintains two lists of CFLE-approved activities. We have approved meetings that are date-specific and others that are ongoing throughout the calendar year.

How much does it cost to apply for the CFLE credential?

The cost for certification varies depending upon the level (provisional vs full) of certification and the application process (CFLE-approved program application vs CFLE exam). Fees also vary for NCFR members and non-members. Please note: Application fees are nonrefundable.


If I forfeit my CFLE credential can I become a CFLE again in the future?

Forfeited CFLEs may reinstate their credential by paying the reinstatement fee and the current annual fee. See CFLE fees for current rates. In addition, they must submit any continuing education or work experience information, and related fees, that would have been due had they not forfeited.

If I graduated from a CFLE-approved program, do I have to take the CFLE exam?

No, as long as you completed the preapproved courses on your school's CFLE checklist, and apply within two years of graduation, you do not need to take the CFLE exam.

Once certified, how do I maintain my certification?

All CFLEs, whether provisional or full status, must pay the CFLE annual fee. The CFLE annual fee is due each year, in the month in which the CFLE was first certified (their anniversary month).

CFLEs with provisional status must upgrade to full certification within five years of approval by documenting work experience in Family Life Education. Provisional CFLEs should submit upgrade materials as close as possible to their anniversary month to avoid over payment of the CFLE Annual fee, which is included within the upgrade fee.

CFLEs with full certification must recertify every five years by submitting evidence of 100 hours of continuing education activity.

For more information, please visit our maintaining your certification webpage.

Is there a code of ethics for CFLEs?

Yes. All CFLEs must read and sign the CFLE Code of Professional Ethics as part of the application process. In addition, they must review and re-sign the code every five years when they submit their continuing education credits.

What is the difference between being a CFLE and being a member of NCFR?

Membership in the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) and the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) program are two separate things.

NCFR is a membership organization for family professionals. Membership in NCFR is voluntary. Anyone who wants to be a member of NCFR can become one by paying the membership dues. There are a number of benefits to being a member of NCFR, including subscriptions to NCFR's scholarly journals and receiving the NCFR's members-only magazine, NCFR Report. NCFR members also receive discounts on NCFR conference registration and products, as well as additional networking opportunities.

To become a CFLE — which, again, is separate from NCFR membership — you must complete an application process and meet the certification requirements.

Because NCFR is the sponsoring agency for the CFLE program, NCFR members pay lower CFLE fees than do nonmembers. But you do not have to be a member of NCFR in order to be a CFLE.

What is the difference between provisional and full certification?

There are two levels of certification, provisional and full.

Provisional certification is available to CFLE applicants who have demonstrated content knowledge in each of the 10 Family Life Education content areas, but who have not yet earned sufficient work experience hours in Family Life Education to qualify for full status. Provisional certification is available for up to five years.

Full certification is available to CFLE applicants who have demonstrated both content knowledge and sufficient work experience in providing Family Life Education.

Provisional certification can be earned by graduating from a CFLE-approved academic program and completing the CFLE-approved program application OR by successfully completing and passing the CFLE exam.

Full certification can be earned in two ways. One option is to first obtain provisional certification by graduating from a CFLE-approved program and then to upgrade to full certification upon documentation of sufficient work experience in Family Life Education. The amount of work experience needed is contingent upon the applicability and level of the degree earned.

The other option for full certification is the successful completion of the CFLE exam, along with the simultaneous submission of documentation of work experience in Family Life Education. This work experience is documented through completion of the Family Life Education work experience summary form and submission of the employer verification and assessment form.

What does NCFR consider to be an official transcript?

An official transcript must include a watermark or embossment. It does not have to be in a sealed envelope or be sent directly from the school. NCFR will not accept photocopies of transcripts, or transcripts faxed, emailed, or printed by the applicant. The transcript needs to include information on the degree completed and the date conferred.

What if I fail the CFLE exam?

If you fail the CFLE exam, you must wait at least three months from the exam date before taking it again. In the event you fail the exam a third time, you must wait three months and in addition, must submit evidence of continuing education or study.

To apply to retake the CFLE exam please log in to and click on the Retake Exam button under My CFLE Certification. Please note there is a retake fee.

What if I haven't earned enough work experience hours to upgrade to full certification at the end of five years?

Provisional CFLEs who are unable to earn the required number of hours of work experience needed to upgrade from provisional to full status may extend their provisional status for up to three years by demonstrating that they have remained current in the field of Family Life Education. They can do this by submitting evidence of at least 20 hours of continuing education activity for every year of extension.

Provisional CFLEs requesting an extension must submit information regarding their continuing education activity following the format required for the recertification process used by full CFLEs recertifying every five years. Contact the NCFR office before submitting information to extend provisional status.

The CFLE requesting an extension to their provisional status does need to continue to pay the CFLE annual fee for the year(s) in which they are requesting an extension. There is no additional fee for review of the continuing education credits.

What if I want to apply for full certification through the CFLE-approved program application?

You can apply for full certification through the CFLE-approved program application by submitting proof of successful completion of the required coursework and documenting your work experience.

Step 1 - Complete the CFLE-approved program application
Step 2 - Complete the work experience documentation process

You can submit the materials for the CFLE-approved program application and the work experience documentation at the same time. You will need to pay both the CFLE-approved program application fee and the work experience review fee. You can pay both together. See current fees.

Which schools offer CFLE-approved programs?

There are currently over 120 undergraduate and graduate NCFR-approved academic programs in the United States and Canada.

View all CFLE Degree Programs