Skip to main content

You are here


Certified Retirement Education Specialist

Even teachers need to be taught the basics of planning for retirement. In an effort to improve their retirement readiness, the National Tax-Deferred Savings Association (NTSA) has launched an educational program for school districts and their employees across the U.S. The program was created to address the low participation rates in 403(b) plans, which average 27% nationally.

The NTSA educational program is delivered through NTSA-certified retirement education specialist advisers. The program is designed to be vendor-neutral and does not include any specific investment product recommendations.

The NTSA Certified Retirement Education Specialist (CRES) advisor is qualified and available to teach the Retirement Education program to the employees of your school district. The CRES has completed a certificate program through the American Retirement Association (ARA) Retirement Plan Academy, addressing the important retirement planning considerations of public employees. The NTSA CRES advisor has agreed to abide by the highest standards of professional conduct and to coordinate all educational activity in accordance with school district solicitation policies and guidelines.


As a CRES advisor, you will:

  • earn the CRES advisor certificate allowing you to teach the Retirement Education program
  • have access to school districts you wouldn’t have otherwise
  • have access to a library of retirement resources to help present to your school districts


CRES Advisor Toolkit:

The new and improved, CRES Advisor Toolkit provides advisors with the resources you need to market and present the CRES program to public school officials and teachers (both in-person and virtually). In the toolkit, you will find:

  • CRES Advisor Guide
  • CRES Virtual Financial Literacy Presentation
  • Procedures to Deliver a Virtual Financial Literacy Program
  • CRES Advisor Commercial
  • CRES School District Sign-Up Form
  • Retirement Education for Public Employees Presentation
  • 403(b) Plan Sponsor Guide
  • State Teacher’s Defined Benefit Reference Guide
  • Follow-up Letter
  • Sample Meeting Invitation
  • Code of Conduct
  • Ask TRAK Discount


Quick Links:

Note: The CRES Program is restricted to members of this organization. If you are not a member of this organization, you may not access this content. If you need assistance with this, please contact [email protected]

If you are interested in purchasing these products in bulk or Instructor Lead Training, please contact Elizabeth Duda.


Why should I become a NTSA Certified Retirement Education Specialist?

NTSA CRES advisors are exclusively permitted to participate in the CRES Financial Literacy Education for Public School Teachers program. CRES advisors help more teachers with financial literacy through worksite financial literacy education.


Are there any prerequisites for participating in the CRES program?

To apply for the CRES Certification, you must have a minimum of two years' experience as a 403(b) advisor and have at least one of the following licenses/credentials: 

Existing license or credential


Retirement Plan Related Experience

Series 6, 7 or 65 license issued by the FINRA


2 years

State-life or annuity insurance license


2 years

Investment Advisor Representative or Registered Investment Advisor credential


2 years


How do I complete the certification?

CRES advisors complete the online education program and agree to abide by the ARA professional ethics, NTSA practices and CRES business practices. Your CRES certification is complete when you fill out your CRES advisor profile for the public registry website.


How much does it cost to become a NTSA CRES advisor?

NTSA is offering an introductory price of $300 for NTSA members only. CRES advisors receive the online certification program, registration on the CRES registry website, and access to the CRES advisor portal. The CRES advisor portal contains the NTSA Financial Literacy Program resources and tools.

CRES advisors are required to recertify annually for $150. Recertification includes continuing education, updated program resources, and inclusion on the CRES registry website.


What do I get for my CRES fees?

NTSA CRES advisors receive many benefits, including:

  • Inclusion on the public CRES registry website permitting your participation in the CRES program
  • Annual subscription to the CRES Financial Literacy for Educators Program
  • NTSA support promoting the CRES program through associations
  • NTSA support implementing the CRES program in your school districts
  • A 10% discount on the The Retirement Analysis Kit (TRAK) retirement planning software


Do I need to complete CE to retain the NTSA CRES certification?

CRES is an annual certification of your commitment to the CRES standards and practices. You will need to complete an annual CRES education module earning two hours of CRES continuing education and one hour of ethics continuing education as part of your recertification. As a CRES advisor, you will have access to additional education and professional development programs.  The CRES online program has been approved for 2.0 hours of CFP Board CE.

The CRES online program has been approved for 2.0 hours of CFP Board CE.


Do I need to recertify?

Yes! All CRES advisors are required to recertify annually. If you received your 2022 CRES certification prior to October 1, 2022, you will need to recertify by December 31, 2023.  However, if you received your CRES certification after October 1, 2022, you will recertify in 2024.  You are required to enroll in a 3 hour online course that is 2.0 hours of behavior finance education and 1.0 hour of ethics. This course is $150. 

RECERTIFY (Coming Soon)