The Retirement Plan Fundamentals (RPF) program is designed to convey the broad base of knowledge necessary for every retirement plan professional to master. RPF text materials and exams aid in establishing groundwork in retirement plan terminology, issues, and requirements for anyone beginning a career, reentering the retirement field, or commencing the credential process.
***To earn the RPF Certificate, candidates must either pass both RPF-1 and RPF-2, or all 6 RPF Modules. A combination of the two study methods will not allow for reduced requirements to earn the RPF Certificate. RPF-1 and RPF-2 exams and study material will be available through the end of 2016 only. After 2016, all candidates who have not completed the RPF Certificate requirements will need to do so by completing the RPF Modules. Click here for more information on the RPF Modules.***
The course is divided into two parts: Each part is designed to build upon the groundwork established by the other while not duplicating content or presupposing knowledge or experience level. The objective of the Retirement Plan Fundamentals Course, Parts 1 and 2 (RPF-1 and RPF-2) is to give an individual beginning a career as a retirement plan professional a general background in qualified plans as a first step toward meeting the challenges of the profession. Individuals employed in the insurance, brokerage or financial consulting professions should find that the course imparts knowledge that will increase his or her ability to assist plan sponsors and further professional development. Please refer to the RPF-1 syllabus and the RPF-2 syllabus for specific learning objectives and exam topic weightings.
The 2016 RPF exams are open-book online exams and each consists of 75 multiple choice and true/false questions. Upon completion of an RPF exam, you will receive an immediate score and feedback report. A score of 64 or more out of 75 is a passing score on the 2016 RPF examinations.
There are two versions of each exam labeled as attempts. Candidates are only required to take one attempt. If a candidate fails one attempt he/she can register, pay and take the second attempt in the same calendar year. For example, if you register for RPF-1 attempt 1 and you fail, you can register and pay for the RPF-1 attempt 2 exam in the same calendar year. If a candidate fails both versions of the examination in the same calendar year, the candidate will be required to wait to complete the examination until the next program year. Candidate examination records are aggregated; therefore, an examination(s) will be disqualified if a candidate completes the same version of the same examination in the same calendar year.
Exam Submission Deadline: The deadline to submit the RPF examinations is midnight, Eastern Time on December 14, 2016 (11pm Central, 10pm Mountain, 9pm Pacific). There will be no exceptions.Online examinations and practice examinations cannot be postponed to a future testing window/program year.
To register, a candidate must have an account with ASPPA. To set up an account click here. Candidates can register online or download the RPF registration form and send via mail or fax to 703.516.9308. Once registered for an RPF examination, you will receive a confirmation email with details on how to access your examination in the Retirement Plan Academy Learning Management System. You may complete a portion of the exam, save it, and return to the exam at another time to complete it.
Exam Fees - The non-refundable registration fee for each RPF exam is $217.
Estimated hours needed to study - Study time depends greatly on the experience level of the student. The average candidate reports that it takes approximately 40 hours study time per examination.
Required and Supplementary Reading
The RPF textbooks are available for purchase through the the online bookstore or the downloadable publications order form.
The required readings for the 2016 RPF-1 exam are:
The required reading for the 2016 RPF-2 exam is:
The RPF textbooks are also available as a set (RPF-1 & RPF-2 Course Set) in PDF format from the ASPPA Bookstore. Distributable version PDF (for internal training purposes only) are also available.
Recommended Reading for the RPF-2 exam is:
Supplementary Study Tools
The study tools below are not required preparation for the RPF examinations. They are offered as additional study aids.
It is the candidate’s responsibility to review all of ASPPA’s exam policies and procedures, which can be found on Candidate Corner.
References & Errata
For updates to ASPPA’s publications and examinations please click here. Stop by regularly as new updates are posted. It is the candidates responsibility to check the errata before preparing for and sitting for an ASPPA examination.
RPF Certificate Program
ASPPA has designed the Retirement Plan Fundamentals certificate program to meet the needs of pension plan professionals. Successful completion of the RPF certificate program also counts toward the requirements for many of ASPPA’s credentialed memberships. The RPF certificate program exams are administered online in open book multiple choice format. Upon successful completion of both the RPF-1 and RPF-2 exams, ASPPA will automatically issue the Retirement Plan Fundamentals certificate online. Please note: you do not need to complete both examinations in the same calendar year.
Continuing Education (CE) Credits
Candidates who have successfully completed an ASPPA certificate program examination will earn 7.5 ARA CE credits. Credits will be applied to the CE cycle in which the score is issued. For more information on ARA examination CE credit click here.
7 ERPA credits each for successful completion of the RPF-1 and RPF-2 exams may be awarded.
IRS ERPA Credit Program Number for RPF-1: CZTXU-Q-00004-12-S
IRS ERPA Credit Program Number for RPF-2: CZTXU-Q-00005-12-S
The final decision as to the number of ERPA credits rests solely with the Internal Revenue Service.