Gain critical regulatory and management knowledge with ACA core curriculum seminars.

Core Curriculum

What is the ACA Core Curriculum?

ACA’s Core courses present the fundamental principles of collections industry compliance and business management. Core courses are designed to be compliant, objective, relevant, and ethical—precepts aligned with the ACA Code of Conduct.

ACA Certified Instructors and subject matter experts prioritize topics by “Need to Know,” “Nice to Know,” and “Where to Find It,” a vital breakdown for the busy professional. Using real-world scenarios, participants discuss “How to Do It” using industry best practices.

Core courses are the building blocks for ACA Designations.  Advance your career and demonstrate your excellence in the Accounts Receivables Management (ARM) industry to clients and colleagues by proudly displaying your ACA credentials! Courses may also be taken outside of a designation track. We recommend that for the right experience, learners consider the category— Essential, Intermediate, or Advanced— and any recommended pre-requisites when making an individual education plan.

The ACA Core Library

ACA has the programming you need for every stage in your career:

Level 1: Essentials

Essentials courses provide compulsory education on federal regulatory compliance, industry terminology, communication techniques, and best practices. Essentials courses are designed for onboarding and standardized re-training. Essentials courses are available in both instructor-led and self-paced, e-learning formats for you to choose your optimal learning experience. Want to train and test groups at your own shop? Become an ACA Trainer Specialist and gain access to our Essentials training packages and resources.

Level 2: Intermediate

Intermediate courses bring a higher degree of industry terminology, regulatory information, and business management principles to the conversation. These courses also introduce Compliance Management System (CMS) components and the risk management process. These courses are suited for team leaders, managers, or people transitioning to a supervisory or decision-making role.

Level 3: Advanced

Advanced courses are intended for people in an advanced leadership, management, or compliance role. Courses include analysis of case law, enforcement actions, and other events in the regulatory space. Topics are discussed in terms of Compliance Management System (CMS) requirements and risk management issues.

Visit the ACA Event Calendar for a schedule of upcoming online and in-person, destination seminars or purchase e-learning courses online.

Notice Regarding Proposed Rules for the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

In response to the release of the CFPB’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on May 7, 2019, regarding Regulation F (12 CFR Part 1006), ACA is actively participating in the comment period and industry advocacy efforts. It should be stressed that at this time, this is only a proposed rule and does not currently have the force of law. Here's a statement for ACA Members regarding discussion of the proposed rules during courses in the interim period until the final rules are released and in effect. All ACA courses and designation exams will be revised to incorporate the final rules and effective date when they become available. Thank you.

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Meet Our Certified Instructors

Core Seminars

The ACA Core library of seminars has three categories- Essential, Intermediate, and Advanced- and meet the educational requirements for ACA Designations. Times for webinars are listed. Times will vary for face-to-face events and e-learning courses. Register for training events and purchase e-learning courses online. Questions about content or professional development credit? Contact memberservices@acainternational.org 


Notice Regarding Proposed Rules for the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

In response to the release of the CFPB’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on May 7, 2019, regarding Regulation F (12 CFR Part 1006), ACA is actively participating in the comment period and industry advocacy efforts. It should be stressed that at this time, this is only a proposed rule and does not currently have the force of law. Here's a statement for ACA Members regarding discussion of the proposed rules during courses in the interim period until the final rules are released and in effect. All ACA courses and designation exams will be revised to incorporate the final rules and effective date when they become available. Thank you.


1. ACA Essentials

Essentials courses provide compulsory education on federal regulatory compliance, industry terminology, communication techniques, and best practices.

  • Essential Collection Skills and Techniques

Effective communication is the cornerstone of the collections industry. Using 8 Collection Call Checkpoints, this scenario-based course emphasizes the importance of developing keen listening skills while applying professional questioning and negotiation techniques to build rapport with consumers, obtain accurate information, and overcome stalls and objections to achieving payment. (3 hours)

  • FDCPA Essentials for Collectors

Learn fundamentals of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act necessary to hit the phones with confidence, such as identifying right-and third-party contacts, honoring time and place call restrictions, delivering disclosures, recognizing consumer disputes, preventing prohibited practices, and the front-line collector’s essential role in the compliance process. (3 hours)


2. ACA Intermediate

Intermediate courses incorporate a higher degree of industry terminology, regulatory and compliance information, and business management principles.

  • Building High Performing Teams

Exceptional leaders invest in their most valuable asset—their people! Learn how to recognize personalities and work styles, cultivate trust, negotiate conflicts, leverage team strengths for maximum performance, and celebrate success all within a structure of clearly defined goals and benchmarks for accountability. (3 hours)

  • Effective Performance Management

Gain the skills you need to effectively coach and manage your team to achieve successful business results while creating and maintaining a positive work environment. Topics include giving everyday feedback and annual/mid-year/monthly performance reviews, discipline and corrective action. (1.5 hours)

  • Ethical and Professional Collections

Whereas compliance is something you do, ethics is a philosophy that can guide your professional journey. Discuss principles of business ethics and apply them to the ARM industry while sharing opportunities to articulate the ACA Code of Conduct in your company values and compliance program. (1.5 hours)

  • Exceptional Leadership

The path toward exceptional leadership presents rewarding challenges and opportunities! This course will review the many tenets of leadership, categorize different leadership styles, and offer solutions to create and maximize time, prioritize responsibilities, and conquer conflict. (1.5 hours)

  • Healthcare Collection Management

Healthcare collections differ from other collection practices in many significant ways, especially when it comes to consumer care. Discuss the risks and benefits of healthcare collecting then dive into operational aspects such as the healthcare account lifecycle, strategies for collecting self-pay and Medicare accounts, and the basics of working with charitable providers. (6 hours)

  • Introduction to Collection Industry Compliance

ACA experts will guide you through the complex web of regulatory entities impacting the industry while you discover the components of the compliance lifecycle; learn what makes a strong compliance team leader and how to support a culture of compliance at your agency. Take away the ACA Compliance Checklist to help you start an effective Compliance Management System (CMS) as required by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  (3 hours)

  • Managing the Collection Floor

This interactive forum gives attendees the chance to hear what other agencies are doing and gives participants techniques and sample checklists for effectively identifying key performance indicators (KPIs), using inventory management techniques and implementing goal-setting strategies. (3 hours)

  • Successful Hiring Strategies 

Make sure you hire the right candidate for your open collector position! In this scenario-based training, you’ll assess three candidates using tips and tools from industry leaders and receive a variety of sample templates to use for future recruiting and interviews. (3 hours)


3. ACA Advanced

Topics are discussed in terms of Compliance Management System (CMS) requirements, risk management issues, and include analysis of case law, enforcement actions, and other events in the regulatory space.

  • Advanced FDCPA Issues

This course explores compliance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act at a technical level while featuring issues currently trending in consumer lawsuits and regulatory actions. There’s always something new—join your peers for a quick inventory of compliance obligations with regards to the FDCPA. (1.5 hours)

  • Conducting a Risk Assessment

Assessing risk means identifying assets that can be harmed and in what way(s). It is a complex but critical element in maintaining an effective Compliance Management System (CMS). You will leave this course with methods, models, and tools to help you recognize and prioritize risks associated with your organization’s various compliance obligations. This course is a companion to ACA’s Controls and Corrective Actions. (1.5 hours)

  • Controls and Corrective Actions

Building on strategies discussed in Conducting a Risk Assessment, this course will show you the next steps in designing, implementing, and measuring controls aligned with your identified risks and priorities defined by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). (1.5 hours)

  • Credit and Collections Compliance Attorney Workshop (CCCA)

If you are an attorney with a foundation in the various consumer financial protection laws (the “CFPLs”), this program will provide you with a unique opportunity to convene with peers and explore strategies for building compliance programs around the functionality of the CFPLs. You’ll also gain insight into the dynamic components of your CMS and learn how to get your team on board with your “why?” This full-day workshop is required for CCCA designation candidates and should be completed after the other required webinars for that designation.

  • Data Security and Privacy 1

Data security breaches affect millions of consumers and businesses—are you prepared? Learn about notification laws and strategies for establishing effective policies and procedures, implementing essential safeguards, and practical considerations for notifying consumers in the event of a data security breach. You will take home an extensive list of resources to consider when building your own data security compliance program. (3 hours)

  • Data Security and Privacy 2

In the sequel to Data Security and Privacy 1, you will explore tactics for managing the security of your company’s data in an era of mobile devices that are both company-issued and employee-owned. This course also offers a conversation about the use of social media from a compliance perspective and practical advice for handling security incidents in your own organization. (3 hours)

  • Duties of Data Furnishers under the FCRA

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and its implementing Regulation V require data furnishers to adopt reasonable policies and procedures surrounding the accuracy and integrity of their furnishing practices. Take a deep dive into these requirements and take away key points to help you assess and update your FCRA processes surrounding credit reporting, disputes, and more. (1.5 hours)

  • Keep Calm and Prevent UDAAP

How well can your team spot Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP)? What about your network of vendors or partners? This course will review established federal guidelines for UDAAP and prepare you to develop a UDAAP risk management plan for shared compliance obligations with clients and service providers. (1.5 hours)

  • Understanding and Responding to the CFPB’s Expectations  

Using principles from ACA’s Introduction to Collection Industry Compliance, this course will describe priorities outlined in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Supervision and Examination Manual. You will also explore the examination process and ways to curate key resources for your Compliance Management System (CMS). (3 hours)

  • Trainer Specialist Program (TSP)

Unlock your Training Super Powers! In this mini-camp, you’ll explore essentials of adult learning theory and gain new insights from other compliance training heroes on how to turn “Need to Know” into fast, fun, and effective. Come for the ideas, stay for the samples, and take home the ACA Trainer Specialist designation! Upon successful completion of the three required sessions and exam, you will be able to conduct ACA’s Essentials training anytime (this includes FDCPA Essentials for Collectors and Essential Collection Skills and Techniques)  as part of your organization’s onboarding program or to prepare your collectors for the ACA Professional Collection Specialist (PCS) designation. THIS COURSE HAS PRE-REQUISITES. If you are taking the TSP workshop with the intention of earning the TSP designation, please refer to the requirements here(4.5 hours)

  • Vendors and Your CMS

Selecting, managing, and doing business with vendors and other service providers who are compliant with applicable state and federal consumer financial protection laws is a key part of any ARM business. This course lays the groundwork for incorporating vendor management into your overall compliance management system. (1.5 hours)

  • Vetting Technology Vendors: 10 Essential Steps

Obtaining or outsourcing technology is also an integral part of the ARM industry. Take care to avoid sacrificing compliance for convenience by asking the right questions of potential vendors. This course provides a deeper dive into assessing and monitoring risks and controls related to consumer financial protection specific to technology vendors. (1.5 hours) ACA recommends that participants take Vendors and Your CMS first.

  • Writing Effective Policies and Procedures  

Vital to any CMS, written policies, procedures, and work instructions have unique characteristics that determine when and how they should be used. During this course, you will practice writing a sample of each using defined guidelines plus take home tools and samples to jumpstart development of this critical element of the compliance lifecycle. (1.5 hours)

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