Exam Application and Testing
National Futures Association (NFA) is the nonprofit, self-regulatory organization for the U.S. derivatives industry, including on-exchange traded futures, retail off-exchange foreign currency (forex) and OTC derivatives (swaps). NFA requires that individuals demonstrate their minimal level of proficiency by passing the appropriate exam. Membership in NFA also is mandatory, assuring that everyone conducting business with the public on U.S. futures exchanges and in the retail forex marketplace must adhere to the same high standards of professional conduct. NFA membership also is mandatory for swap dealers and major swap participants.
NFA exams are administered by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). There is a two-step process and fee that must be completed to be able to take an NFA Exam. A candidate must submit the application online to apply to take the exam and pay the exam fee by credit card or electronic (ACH) payment.
A candidate DOES NOT need to be sponsored by a firm to apply or sit for a NFA Exam. (Note, this is not the case for other FINRA administered exams.)
Step 1 - Application
The individual must apply with FINRA to take the NFA exam by completing and submitting an application online. FINRA administers the NFA exams.
Step 2 - Scheduling
Once the application has been processed by FINRA, a Notice of Enrollment will be issued for the candidate along with a 120-day window during which the exam can be scheduled and taken. The candidate may then contact their local testing center to schedule an appointment to sit for the exam. Due to the many sessions administered at testing centers, the candidate should schedule test-taking as far in advance as possible to secure an appointment on the desired date.
Testing Center and Remote Online Testing
As of January 19, 2021, candidates may choose to take the NFA exams either at a local Prometric test center or remotely proctored online.
Online testing will be delivered and remotely proctored by Prometric. Other testing taking conditions also apply. Candidates may use a personal or firm-provided computer to take proficiency exams remotely. Proctors will webcam and other online tools.
To be eligible for an online testing appointment, candidates must not have a concurrent appointment at a test center and must meet FINRA's remote technical and remote environment requirements.
Candidates who are currently scheduled to take an exam at a test center but wish to change to an online testing appointment should confirm they meet the technical and remote environment requirements and are aware of any rescheduling policies before cancelling a test center appointment.
Firms considering online testing through their network and firm-issued equipment should review FINRA's technical requirements pertaining to equipment, networking and information security. Additional details regarding the online testing requirements and appointment scheduling are available on FINRA's website.
Re-Taking an Exam
If a candidate does not pass the exam, he/she will need to repeat the application process and make payment again. An exam may not be scheduled until re-application process has been completed.
A candidate will be subject to the following waiting periods between exams if he/she has failed the exam within the past two years:
- A minimum of 30 days after failing the first exam before the second taking or third taking of the exam can be scheduled.
- A minimum of 180 days after failing the exam for the third time before the fourth taking of the exam (and each subsequent taking) can be scheduled.