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Accredited Pension Administrator
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Accredited Pension Administrator

NIPA provides practical information and effective, relevant designation programs necessary to achieve career advancement and improve day-to-day performance. Through NIPA’s Accredited Pension Administrator (APA) program, you will earn a prestigious designation that carries with it a sense of personal accomplishment and demonstrates your professional competency.



NEW! Receive $1,000 towards your APA Designation through the PenChecks NIPA APA Designation Scholarship. Learn more about the requirements for applying for the scholarship.  

APA Designation Benefits

As an APA student working toward a designation, you will gain comprehensive insight into the knowledge and skills needed to successfully perform daily administrative tasks, including: determining eligibility; allocating contributions; fulfilling reporting and disclosure requirements; processing distributions; performing compliance testing; correcting errors and much more.

Potential APAs include:

  • Pension administrators
  • Retirement relationship managers
  • ERISA compliance specialists

Earning the APA Designation 

To earn the APA designation, students must complete four APA-self study courses and examinations, including APA Courses 1, 2, 3 and 4.To maintain the designation, you must complete 15 hours of continuing professional education and hold a current NIPA membership at the Business Owner or Executive level (annually).


Please note: APA Course 1 and Course 3 are open book and may be taken from home or work, rather than having to report to a testing location, during any of the three exam testing windows. APA Courses 1 and 3 do not require a proctor, however, APA Courses 2 and 4 must be completed at a proctored testing location during the exam testing windows.

Course 1: Fundamentals of Qualified Plan Administration (PDF)
Course 2: A Comprehensive Guide to 401(k) Plans (online textbook) 
Course 3: Distributions and Loans (three-part online textbook)
Course 4: Selected Topics in Retirement Plans (online textbook)


Additional APA/APR Designation Program Information

To learn more about the 2016 program, download NIPA's 2016 Education Brochure.

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