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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

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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?

For a limited time NTSA is offering an introductory price of $300. 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 40% discount on the Ask 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.