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Earn the CISP

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

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


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

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 conversations or any civil or administrative action from which you have been previously found liable.




​How to Apply

  1. Check the eligibility requirements to determine that you qualify.
  2. Review the available exam dates below.
  3. Purchase the exam. Payment must be made by credit card. (You will be prompted to create a​ Certifications Manager account.)
  4. Complete and submit the application that appears following the purchase.

You will receive an Approval/Denial email from ABA within two weeks after receiving your application, along with additional details about the exam site. If your application is denied, you will receive a refund of your exam fee minus a $100 application fee.


Have a Certifications account or retaking an exam? Log In
Need Help? View Application Video

Exam Dates & Fees

The CISP Exam Fee is $550. For Retakes, the fee is $300.

Exam Date/Window Exam Site Application
Due Date
​Sept. 28, 2019 ​Ascensus - Arlington, VA
Paper Based
​Aug. 30, 2019
​Oct. 25, 2019 ​The Entrust Trust Company - Nashville, TN
Paper Based
​Sept. 25, 2019
​Dec. 1-21, 2019
​Castle Test Sites
Computer Based
​Oct. 2, 2019
​May 15 - Jun. 15, 2020 ​Castle Test Sites
Computer Based   
​March 16, 2020
​Aug. 15 - Sept. 15, 2020 ​Castle Test Sites
Computer Based   
​June 16, 2020
​Dec. 1-19, 2020 ​Castle Test Sites
Computer Based   
​October 2, 2020

Castle Test Sites - Candidates select a date and time within the identified date range, subject to testing center availability. Find Castle Test Site city locations.

Exam Cancellation or Rescheduling

Should you need to cancel or reschedule your exam after application, please review the procedures and fee schedule on the Exam Cancellation/Rescheduling page.

All change and cancellation requests must be made in writing to ABA

Exam Retakes

  • You must wait a minimum of 90 days before you are allowed to retake an exam on the next scheduled exam date.
  • There is no limit to the number of times you can take the exam.
  • You must pass the exam within a 3 year period from the date of your first exam attempt or a new application and full fee is required.
  • Please apply to retake the exam by logging in to the Certification Manager. You must log in using the same user id and password that you used to register for your previous exam attempt(s).
  • Upon login, the retake options and pricing will display if you have previously taken this exam. After completing your purchase, please complete the retake application and submit by the application due date for the desired exam date.

 Exam Information


Exam Format, Scoring and Reporting

  • 150 multiple-choice questions (see sample questions)
  • Maximum 3 hour timeframe allowed
  • Calculators will be provided
  • Instant "Pass/Fail" outcome provided for computer based exams at a testing center
  • Official score reports delivered via email within 6 weeks after the close of the exam window
  • For full details, read the Certification Exam FAQs

Knowledge Areas

The CISP advisory board has determined that a competent IRA services professional's expertise includes the following knowledge areas. Please review the CISP Examination Outline for more specifics.

  • Employer Plans - SEP and SIMPLE
  • IRA Documentation and Maintenance Requirements
  • IRA Contributions
  • Retirement Plan Portability
  • IRA Distributions
  • IRA Fees and Investments
  • Retirement Planning Considerations

Study Resources

While ABA recommends these resources as appropriate examination preparation, ABA does not guarantee that you will pass the exam by studying these materials alone. The CISP exam assesses not only your knowledge of the topics on the exam outline, but also your application of that knowledge. You should refer frequently to the CISP Examination Outline when preparing for the exam.

Examination Misconduct

All persons taking one of ABA Professional Certifications' examinations are expected to abide by all rules and regulations governing the examination before, during and after the examination. Possession of copies of any current or previous examination given by ABA Professional Certifications (formerly ICB) is not authorized and is a violation of the rules governing certification exams. Persons taking an ABA Professional Certifications examination are not permitted to take notes about the examination.

Any person found to have violated any of the rules governing ABA Professional Certifications exams, or to have conducted themselves in a dishonest or unethical manner with respect to the taking of an ABA Professional Certifications exam is subject to sanctions determined to be appropriate by ABA Professional Certifications, in its sole discretion, including, but not limited to: denial of certification; denial of the right to take any or all ABA Professional Certifications examinations. Answer sheets provided at paper/pencil testing sites determined, before grading, to have been completed by a person who has violated ABA Professional Certifications examination rules will not be graded. We reserve the right to pursue any and all remedies available to it, including legal remedies, with respect to any violation of its examination rules against anyone who violated ABA Professional Certifications examination rules or aided another in violating these rules.

Questions? Please contact ABA Certifications for more information.


 Navigate CISP


 Ready to Apply?


Have a Certifications account or retaking an exam? Log In
Need Help? View Application Video