Before you apply to become a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), you must meet the following requirements:
- Be an Associate member of the ACFE in good standing
- Meet minimum academic and professional requirements
- Be of high moral character
- Agree to abide by the bylaws and Code of Professional Ethics of the ACFE
The Point System
Your eligibility is based on a point system that awards credit for education, professional certifications and experience.
In order to earn the CFE, you must have a minimum of two years professional experience and 50 points. Educational points must be from a recognized institution of higher learning. If you have more than 40, but less than 50 total qualifying points, you may apply to take the CFE Exam. However, you will not be certified until you have a total of 50 points or more and two years of professional experience.
Many CFE applicants have a minimum of a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an institution of higher learning, earning 40 qualifying points. No specific field of study is required. If you do not have a bachelor's degree, you may substitute two years of fraud-related professional experience for each year of academic study. For example, if you successfully attended college full-time for two years, you would earn 20 points and still need an additional four years of professional experience to meet the education requirements.
At the time you are certified, you must have at least two years of professional experience in a field either directly or indirectly related to the detection or deterrence of fraud. If you do not have two years of professional experience, you can still take the CFE Exam as long as you have a minimum of 40 qualifying points. Once you have the 50-point minimum and two years of professional experience, you can be awarded the CFE credential.
The ACFE’s Board of Regents has established the following categories as acceptable fraud-related experience:
- Accounting and auditing: Experience as an accountant or auditor (e.g., internal or external auditor) may qualify, if it includes substantial responsibilities for the detection and deterrence of fraud, such as evaluating accounting systems for weaknesses, designing internal controls, determining the degree of organizational fraud risk, interpreting financial data for unusual trends and following up on fraud indicators.
- Criminology and sociology: Only professionals with education or research in the fraud and white-collar crime dimensions of sociology or criminology may claim experience under this category. A background in general sociological fields is insufficient.
- Fraud investigation: Experience in the investigation of civil or criminal fraud, or of white-collar crime for law enforcement agencies or in the private sector, qualifies. Examples include federal, state or local law enforcement (e.g., IRS, inspectors general and district attorney investigators). Insurance fraud investigators and fraud examiners working for corporations, businesses or associations qualify as well.
- Loss prevention: Security directors for corporations and associations who deal with issues of loss prevention may claim this experience as credit. Security consultants dealing with fraud-related issues are also eligible. Experience as a security guard or equivalent is not acceptable.
- Law: Candidates with experience in the legal field might qualify, provided their experience deals with some consideration of fraud. Examples include prosecuting lawyers, fraud litigators and others with an anti-fraud specialization.
If your experience does not fall into one of the categories, but your responsibilities include the detection, investigation or deterrence of fraud, your experience may qualify as indirectly fraud-related.
Submit your application, along with a detailed description of your professional experience, for review. If you do not qualify, you will be notified and your application fee will be returned.