FSS (Financial Services Specialist)


The FSS designation provides financial advisors with the core knowledge and skills they need to provide essential planning and advisory assistance to consumers and businesses. FSS professionals often continue their education to earn such advanced credentials as CFP® certification, the ChFC®, or the CLU®.

Educational Requirements:

FSS candidates must complete six courses, three required and three electives. The required courses are Ethics for the Financial Services Professional, Foundations of Financial Planning: An Overview, and Foundations of Financial Planning: The Process. Advisors choose electives based on their individual practices and needs. Topics available include product education on long-term care, life insurance, annuities, disability income insurance, and business insurance. Skills-based training includes how to best meet client needs and the basics of estate planning, retirement planning, and investment planning.


Candidates must be a member of NAIFA to be awarded the designation following completion of all of the educational requirements.


Must adhere to the The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”


Proctored, closed book exams follow each course.

Continuing Education:

New FSS designees in 2010 or later must complete three hours of approved ethics training every two years.


Designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the certification committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees.


The American College has the highest level of educational accreditation—regional accreditation—through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

You may file a complaint in writing to: The Registrar; The American College; 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave; Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 or by emailing

Issuing Institution:

The American College, an accredited non-profit educational institution with an 84-year heritage, confers the FSS designation. The College has a full-time faculty of industry experts and is the leading educator of financial professionals in the United States.

Note: The American College is providing this information as a public service. It is correct to the best of our knowledge, but we neither guarantee its accuracy nor endorse any credentials for which we are not responsible as a credentialing organization.

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