Skip to main content

You are here

Qualified Pension Administrator (QPA)

The Qualified Pension Administrator (QPA) credential demonstrates expertise of administrative issues of defined benefit plans. QPAs assist employers, actuaries, and consultants in performing functions such as determination of eligibility benefits, computation of benefits, plan recordkeeping, trust accounting and disclosure, and compliance requirements.

  • What: Concepts and administrative issues of defined benefit plans.
  • Who: Individuals who want to move beyond basic basic defined contribution administration and gain knowledge regarding the administration of defined benefit plans, who have attained the QKC.
  • How: Pass the QPA Exam (formerly known as DB) and apply for the credential. 

How to get started:

Read the candidate handbook for details on earning and maintaing the credential. 

Notice: ASPPA will perform maintenance on the proctored exam system on May 2-3, 2022. Exams will not be available during the maintenance period.

​Register Now

  • Purchase the new QPA Bundle (formerly known as DB)
  • Your purchase includes the QPA PDF Study Guide, QPA Practice Exam, and QPA Proctored Exam (single attempt)
  • Registering someone else? Download the order form here.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Who would benefit from QPA?
Anyone who performs the technical and administrative functions of qualified plan administration. QPAs assist employers, actuaries, and consultants in performing functions such as determination of eligibility benefits, computation of benefits, plan recordkeeping, trust accounting and disclosure, and compliance requirements.seeking an advanced DC designation, especially client-facing and technical personnel, (i.e., compliance testers, relationship managers and implementation team members).

What topics are covered in the QPA program?

  • DB Basics.
  • Accrued and Normal Retirement Benefits.
  • Present Value Calc & Alternate Forms of Benefit.
  • Hybrid & Floor Offset DB Pension Plans.
  • Benefits After Normal Retirement Age.
  • Early Retirement, Death, and Disability.
  • Benefit Limitations under IRC §415.
  • Permitted Disparity.
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs).
  • Distribution Issues.
  • Participant and PBGC Notices.
  • Ethics.


Is there a prerequisite for the QPA program?
Yes. If you earned the QKC credential or meet the requirements (passed the DC-1 and DC-2, or QKA1 and QKA2 exams, and QKC) you are eligible to pursue the QPA. Then, upon passing the QPA Exam, you may apply for the credential.

I’m ready to take the exam. Where can I take it?

  • All ASPPA credentialed examinations, including QPA, are delivered through an online proctoring examination system.
  • Since this exam is included in the Qualified Pension Administrator Package purchase, candidates will not be immediately enrolled in their exam. This is to ensure sufficient time to complete the study materials.
  • Once ready to enroll in the exam, candidates should do so by clicking 'Enroll' on their exam within their Catalog in Learning Activities.
  • Candidates will then receive instructions via email within three business days following their enrollment request. Candidates will have three full months following the month of their enrollment to complete their examination.


How do I apply for the QPA credential?


Once earned, how do I maintain the QPA credential?
All ASPPA credentialed members must earn 40 hours of continuing education (CE) credits (two of which must be ethics) within a two-year cycle, and renew their ASPPA membership annually.

What type of exam does a candidate need to pass to earn the credential?
The QPA examination consists of 60 multiple-choice questions; candidates have 2.5 hours to complete it. 

Do I have to take the exam or can I just take the educational program?
Anyone can complete all or part of the education without taking the exams. However, we encourage  you to take the exams to confirm your mastery of the subject matter and be eligible to earn the credential.  

Can I purchase just the QPA Exam?
Yes. The QPA Exam is available to purchase as a standalone product. 

Once I finish the QPA Exam and earn the QPA, what's next?
Pursue the Certified Pension Consultant (CPC) credential. 

I am a Certified Pension Consultant (CPC), am I eligible to become a QPA?
Yes, you may apply for an additional credential

What is the ASPPA Exam Policy?
Download the ASPPA Exam Policy. Read the Examination Disciplinary Procedures.

What if I need more time to take the exam? 
Download the ASPPA Exam Extension Policy. Request an extension if needed.