How to Earn Your CFE Credential

You’re four steps away from becoming a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).

Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) are respected in every industry, recognized around the world and feared by every fraudster. Why? Because earning the CFE credential requires commitment — along with time, focus and a passion for fighting fraud. The ACFE is here to help you at every step. And in return for the challenging work of becoming a CFE, you’ll be rewarded with a more lucrative, fulfilling and world-changing career. 

Step 1: Join the ACFE

To become a CFE, you must first join the ACFE. Only ACFE members can earn the CFE credential.

Your ACFE membership grants you access to exclusive benefits — all designed to make your anti-fraud career more successful and dynamic. Our goal is to ensure you stay at the leading edge of your industry. 

Benefits of ACFE Membership Include:

Eligibility to earn the CFE credential 

Savings on training and exam prep

Access to Fraud Magazine®

Global networking opportunities

Free webinar

Members-only job board and Career Center

Step 2: Prepare for the CFE Exam

With your membership in place, it’s time to begin studying for the CFE Exam

You’ll dive into the fascinating world of fraud — how it happens, why, by whom and how to detect and prevent it. Anti-fraud work is a diverse, intellectually thrilling discipline that, when practiced with passion, can save businesses and people from reputational and financial disaster. While preparing to take the CFE Exam, you’ll become a savvy professional who’s ready to build a vibrant career built on doing good for the world. 

How to Prepare for the CFE Exam

We offer three ways to study for the exam — each based on your needs, learning and schedule. 

1. Self-Paced, Online Learning: If you want to prepare at your own pace online, use the CFE Exam Prep Course, which includes study questions and practice exams.

2. Learn in Real Time: If you want to prepare in an instructor-led classroom setting, either live or virtually, register for the CFE Exam Review Course. This 4-day course covers everything you need to know to successfully tackle the CFE Exam. 

3. Study On Your Own: If you prefer to prepare on your own, use the Fraud Examiners Manual. This 2,000-page guide is the definitive body of knowledge for the anti-fraud profession and contains all the information you need to pass the exam. 

Step 3: Apply for the CFE Exam

You must meet these eligibility requirements to become a CFE.

Your eligibility to take the CFE Exam is determined by a points system. Check your eligibility using our Eligibility Calculator

You must also provide documentation — including details of professional work experience, proof of education and professional recommendations. 

The exam fee is $450 (or $350 for anyone who purchased the CFE Exam Prep Course). 

Step 4: Take the CFE Exam

Once you have completed your preparation and applied, you’re ready to take the CFE Exam. The exam is: 

  • Focused on four areas of fraud examination (see more in the FAQs below) 
  • Administered year-round

  • Unique — no two exams are the same
  • Proctored and secure

Upon passing all four sections of the CFE Exam, your exam application, supporting documentation, exam results and proctoring sessions will be submitted to the Certification Committee of the ACFE for final review.

FAQs

  • How much does it cost to become a CFE?

    For an approximate cost to become a CFE, add up these costs:

    • Calculate your membership dues.
    • Choose your exam prep method.
    • The CFE Exam fee is $450. (If you purchased the CFE Exam Prep Course, it costs $350.) 
  • What are the requirements to apply for the exam? What documents must I provide?
    1. Details of Experience: Details of your work experience and professional responsibilities.
    2. Proof of Education: Transcripts or photocopies of degree certificates or diplomas that must be in English. Advisory transcripts are not accepted. 
    3. Professional Recommendations: Three recommendations from individuals who have worked with you and can comment on your character and professional skills. 
     
    Read more about CFE qualifications 
  • I am an educator. What are the professional experience requirements to apply for the CFE credential?
    If you are currently employed full-time by an accredited college or university, you may meet the requirement of two years fraud-related professional experience. You must have taught four 3-hour courses (or the equivalent of 12 semester hours) of instruction on fraud-related topics for a 2-year period. Alternatively, educators may meet the professional experience requirement by submitting original scholarly works that have been published in a peer-reviewed scientific or academic journal. All submissions will be subject to review by the ACFE certification committee, which will have the sole discretion to accept or reject such works as meeting the professional experience requirement for certification.
  • What does the CFE Exam include?
    The CFE Exam covers four areas:
    1. Financial Transactions and Fraud Schemes — including the different types of fraudulent financial transactions hiding in accounting records. 
    2. Law — including the legal ramifications of fraud examinations, rules of evidence, rights of the accused and accuser and expert witness concerns. 
    3. Investigation — including questions about interviewing, taking statements, obtaining info from public records, tracing transactions, evaluating deception and writing reports. 
    4. Fraud Prevention and Deterrence — including why people commit fraud and how to prevent it, white-collar crime, occupational fraud, risk assessment and the ACFE Code of Professional Ethics
     
  • When and where can I take the CFE Exam?
    The CFE Exam is administered year-round. You can take the exam online with a remote proctor, or in person at a Prometric test center site near you. If you are attending an in-person CFE Exam Review Course taught by the ACFE, the option to take the exam on-site is available.
  • What are the technical requirements to take an online exam?

    To test remotely online, you need access to a:
    - Computer capable of installing a lightweight app
    - Webcam capable of a 360-degree environmental check*
    - Microphone
    - Stable internet connection
    - Private Location

    Additional remote proctoring technical requirements include:
    - Screen resolution: 1024 X 768
    - Operating system: Windows 8.1 or above/MacOS 13.1 or above
    - Web browser: Latest version of Google Chrome
    - Microphone: Enabled
    - Download speed: 0.5 mbps

    *The webcam can be external or built into a laptop, but you must be able to move it around to show a full room scan.
  • When will I get my exam results?

    Prometric will email you a score report with your exam results within an hour of completing each exam section. Results can also be found in the Prometric score report portal after you enter your confirmation number and last name.

  • What does it take to pass the CFE Exam? What happens if I don't pass?

    In order to pass, you must score at least 75% correct on each section of the CFE Exam. If you are unable to pass a section of the exam, you may retake that section. CFE Exam retake fees are $100 per failed section. CFE Exam Review Course attendees will be granted a discounted retake fee of $50 for their first two failed attempts. Any additional attempts will be $100 each. You will receive instructions on how to pay exam retake fees with your exam results email.  All four sections must be passed in three attempts.

    Within three weeks of passing the CFE Exam, your complete CFE Exam application will be reviewed by the ACFE Certification Committee. If more information is needed, you will be notified by email. We will also notify you by email once your CFE credential is approved, and your CFE certificate will be mailed to you within 6-8 weeks.