What Education Does a Certified Fraud Examiner Need?

Learn about certified fraud examiner schools and programs, and enter one of the top fraud-busting careers.

Program and Career Overview

handcuffs with news clips on fraud and business crime

American businesses lose about seven percent of their annual revenues to fraud, according to a study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. If you're a business professional or a criminal justice worker, consider pursuing certified fraud examiner training to learn just how and why fraud occurs—and how to prevent it. Certified fraud examiners help identify cases of corporate or government fraud, investigate the details of specific fraud claims, and help bring wrongdoers to justice.

Am I a Good Candidate for the Job?

A certified fraud examiner's job is an interdisciplinary art, requiring a diverse set of skills. CFEs need investigative abilities as well as expertise in finance and law. And a background in criminology doesn't hurt. Investigators or legal professionals who have earned a criminal justice degree or accountants who specialize in auditing and analysis are good candidates for certified fraud examiner training.

Certified fraud examiners with a background in finance may work in the following setting:

  • Accounting companies
  • Consulting firms
  • Banking institutions
  • Insurance industry
  • Local, state and federal government

Their job responsibilities may include:

  • Reviewing statements and records for evidence of suspected fraud
  • Train employees to prevent future cases of fraud
  • Recognizing warning signs of potential wrongdoing

Careers Available with CFE Training

Regardless of where they work, the job duties of a CFE may include interviewing suspects, testifying in court, doing background checks, investigating employee theft, forensic accounting and many other tasks that root out fraudulent practices. Professionals with certified fraud examiner training are found in a number of different—but related—careers, including the following:

Training and Certification

To become a certified fraud examiner, you need to pass an exam administered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). Most people who seek out CFE certification have a bachelor's degree, or sometimes an associate's degree plus on-the-job experience in fraud analysis. Others choose to pursue certified fraud examiner training as part of an MBA or other business-related degrees.

To be eligible for certification, the ACFE also requires two years of professional, fraud-related experience, either in direct fraud investigation, accounting or auditing work, fighting white-collar crime in a law enforcement or criminology career, corporate loss prevention, or fraud litigation. Finally, you’ll need to apply for and pass the CFE exam.

Salaries for Certified Fraud Examiners

Certified fraud examiner training may lead to a number of different careers, so your salary will vary depending on your level of education, where you're employed and your particular job.

Job Title Median Annual Salary*
Fraud Examiner $59,960
Loss Prevention $45,740
Auditor $63,550
Accountant $63,550
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition; Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators; Private Detectives and Investigators; Accountants and Auditors.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.