ChSNC® Special Needs Designation | The American College

Although there is no pre-requisite academic or financial services background to enroll in the program, students must understand that the ChSNC® program is designed to supplement a broader financial education. As a three course program, it is designed as an introduction to the field of special needs planning. Ongoing education beyond completion of these courses is mandatory for every practitioner in the field. The program is not intended to be a stand-alone designation, but rather a specialization to complement a primary financial planning degree or designation, such as MSFS, MS in financial planning, ChFC, CFP, CPA, or JD/LLM.  The program and designation are viewed by the College as an area of specialization within a practitioner’s broader based financial planning education.

This program is offered at an advanced level meaning that the focus is on application of the tools and techniques of financial planning with a focus on caring for those with special needs.  For example, when discussing income taxation, trust administration, and estate planning implications, there is an assumption that the student has a basic understanding of the foundational rules in each area.  To be successful in this program, students should have familiarity with:   

  • Stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other basic financial instruments
  • Individual income taxation and estate planning
  • Employer-provided retirement plans
  • Individual retirement plans (IRAs and Roth IRAs)
  • The basic types of life insurance and annuity products
  • A basic understanding of long-term care insurance
  • A basic understanding of Social Securit

Although any student may enroll in Huebner School courses, usage of the designation and its mark, ChSNC®, are limited to those who have successfully completed the coursework and met the prerequisite standards established by the faculty. At a minimum, an individual must present an application for the designation that clearly identifies:

  • Successful completion of the courses numbered HS 375, HS 376, and HS 377
  • An approved application by the Registrar of The American College of Financial Services.
  • (a) At least five years of professional experience in financial services or the practice of law (with a focus on income tax and/or estate planning), or
  • (b) Four years of relevant professional financial services experience and an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • In addition, consideration is given to those professionals currently working with families caring for those with special needs.

Individuals who hold professional credentials including CLU®, ChFC®, AEP®, CFP®, CPA, or academic degrees MS in Financial Services, MS in Financial Planning, MS/MT in Taxation, PhD in Financial Planning, JD and/or LLM (in Taxation) who have met the sufficient experience requirements are eligible to use the designation after completion of the ChSNC® coursework. The aforementioned experience requirements may be reduced or waived depending upon academic background and a petition to The Director of the Center for Special Needs Planning at the College requesting such a waiver. A course waiver may be available to those professionals with graduate academic coursework comparable to HS376 (i.e., income tax planning and estate planning at the graduate level). However, a petition must be filed with the Director. For those not meeting the educational and professional background required for the designation, a certificate in special needs planning will be conferred upon completion of the three course program.

ChSNC® designees must also adhere to The American College of Financial Services Code of Ethics and comply with The College’s Professional Recertification Program


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