The SPARK Accredited Retirement Plan Specialist (ARPS) designation is awarded to recordkeeping and administrative professionals who have demonstrated the knowledge required to help employers administer plans that enable employees to effectively save and plan for retirement.

Candidate Handbook

Everything you need to know about applying for, earning and maintaining the ARPS designation can be found in the ARPS Candidate Handbook. Be sure to read it thoroughly as it contains information important to you and your career credentials. You are strongly encouraged to become familiar with the contents of the Candidate Handbook prior to applying for certification. It contains important policies and procedures and provides the details and directions you will need to apply for, earn and maintain the ARPS designation.

The Application Process and Fees

Applying for the ARPS program is easy:

  • Download the Candidate Handbook and complete the Application forms which include the fees for the designation program and the optional online training courses that help you prepare for the exam
  • Ask your Supervisor to complete the Supervisor Recommendation form
  • Submit the completed forms with your payment information to the SPARK ARPS Certification at

You will be notified by email of your acceptance as a candidate for the ARPS designation.

The Exam

The exam was developed by retirement plan industry subject matter experts. It is a 2-hour, 100-question multiple choice exam. The test questions are selected based on the Exam Outline available in the Candidate Handbook.

Once you receive your acceptance email, you can schedule your exam date and test site by calling the Comira Candidate Services Call Center. Additional exam scheduling information is provided in the Handbook.

Preparing for the Exam

The ARPS Exam Outline is your study guide for the ARPS exam. Optional training materials and courses are also available from SPARK Institute.

Maintaining your Designation

ARPS certification status is granted on a calendar year basis. Certification renewal requires that you complete 10 continuing education credits each calendar year following the year in which you earn your designation.

The Instructions and Renewal Application Forms are attached for you to report your continuing education.

Frequently Asked Questions

The attached FAQs supplement the information provided in the Candidate Handbook. For more information, contact