The Accredited Retirement Plan Specialist

The purpose of the ARPS certification program is to recognize individual proficiency in the retirement plan industry. The ARPS designation is earned by record keeping and administrative staff who help employers sponsor plans that enable employees to effectively save and plan for retirement. The information in the following courses was developed by the SPARK ARPC ARPS Certification Committee.

ARPS Course Titles

TC 181          Retirement Plan and Industry Overview

TC 182          Plan Features and Design

TC 183          Participant Communications, Education and Advice

TC 184          Plan Activity and Accounting

TC 185          Plan Investments and Accounting

TC 186          Plan Reporting and Compliance

Who should enroll on the ARPS designation program?

Retirement plan professionals with at least one-year in the financial services industry, who seek to grow their qualified plan knowledge, enhance credibility, and demonstrate accomplishment within the retirement plan industry.

The ARPS Designation is earned by industry professionals who work with plan sponsors and employers in helping them to maintain qualified retirement plans. The ARPS Designee ultimately helps plan sponsors to support and enable employees to effectively save and plan for retirement.

Upon earning the ARPS Designation, the retirement professional will demonstrate a proficiency and knowledgebase regarding:

  • The Retirement Plan Industry
  • Effective Plan Design Features
  • The Basics of Participant Communication, Education and Advice
  • Plan Reporting and Compliance
  • Plan Investments and Accounting
  • Plan Activity and Accounting

How long do I have to complete the ARPS designation program?

Candidates will have 12 months to schedule and successfully complete the Designation Exam. The candidacy period will begin on the date of the approved application notice and end 12 months later. Upon expiration of the candidacy period, if the candidate has not yet completed the work to obtain the designation an applicant may re-apply. The candidate has two opportunities to sit for the Designation Exam within the 12-month candidacy period.

How many questions are on the ARPS final exam?

There are 100 multiple-choice questions. Candidates are given 2 hours to complete the exam. The exam covers material from the Exam Study Guide.

Once I complete the ARPS designation program, when can I begin using the designation?

The ARPS designation will be awarded to individuals who have successfully passed the exam and have documented one year of experience in the retirement plan industry.

Students who receive successful documentation of completing the ARPS Designation Exam may begin using the Accredited Retirement Plan Specialist Designation (The ARPS Designation) immediately.

What are the on-going CE requirements and fees?

ARPS certification is granted on a calendar year basis. Certification renewal is due at the end of each calendar year following the year in which you initially earn the Designation.


All ARPS Designation holders must complete 10 hours of continuing education. CE credit will be accepted for: successful completion of a course, seminar or workshop that is related to retirement plans and covers advanced topics. This can be completed in-person or online.

Annual Fee

The annual fee is $150. This fee is waived with the purchase of 2 SPARK continuing education courses or with the purchase of the SPARK Annual Industry Review course.

When is the ARPS designation offered and where?

The ARPS is an online program and is available on demand. Please click on the link below to request more information or to be contacted by a representative.


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