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To earn the Certified IRA Services Professional (CISP) designation, candidates must:

  • Meet the eligibility requirements;
  • Submit completed application and fees for desired exam date;
  • Pass the CISP examination.


You must meet the following eligibility requirements by the time that you take the exam. ABA will accept your application with education/training that is scheduled to be completed by your exam date.

ABA certifications are based on U.S. laws and regulations and are therefore not offered outside the U.S.

Experience Tiers

The educational requirements to qualify for certification vary on the number of years of experience you have in the field. 

Two (2) years minimum of dedicated IRA operational or technical experience AND the completion of ONE of the following educational programs:

Four (4) years of dedicated IRA operational or technical experience

Professional Experience

The ideal CISP exam candidate will have operational and technical experience working with all aspects of IRAs, not just one functional area. Areas include:

  • Legislation – understanding what IRA changes were brought about by certain legislative acts
  • IRA Document requirements and content
  • Traditional & Roth IRA Contributions
    • Eligibility
    • Contribution Limits
    • Roth IRA modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) limits
    • How to determine Traditional IRA deductibility
  • Experience with processing other types of IRA transactions such as – recharacterizations and contributions
    • Excess Contribution withdrawals
  • Beneficiary Designations
    • Differences between primary and contingent beneficiaries
    • Determination of recipients at time of IRA owner’s death
    • The purpose of naming various types of trusts as a beneficiary
    • Estate planning considerations
  • Beneficiary Distributions
    • Options available to various types of beneficiaries
    • Calculation of required payments
  • Distribution and RMD processing and calculations
  • IRA Portability
  • Required Reporting to IRA Owner and IRS
  • IRS Penalties on IRA owners and IRA Trustees and Custodians
  • Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) Plan eligibility and operational requirements
  • Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees of Small Employers (SIMPLE) IRA Plan Eligibility and Operational Requirements

Ethics Statement

Each candidate must sign ABA Professional Certifications' Code of Ethics statement. Please note: you must furnish all pertinent information about any convictions or pleas of nolo contendere on the grounds of fraud, embezzlement, unfair or deceptive practices, securities law violations, misappropriation of property, fraudulent conversions or any civil or administrative action from which you have been previously found liable.

Keep Me Informed

Get information on upcoming webinars, deadlines, and other developments for Certification.