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Qualified 401(k) Consultant (QKC) Credential

ASPPA’s Qualified 401(k) Consultant (QKC) joins an impressive lineup of designations widely recognized within the retirement plan industry. 

The QKC demonstrates comprehensive understanding of 401(k) plan design. The credential complements your QKA plan administration knowledge and prepares you to serve in a consultative capacity. 

  • What: Concepts and techniques used by advanced defined contribution consultants to increase client satisfaction, develop new revenue opportunities and increase organizational efficiency.
  • Who: Senior relationship managers, compliance testers and plan designers who have already attained the QKA.
  • Why: Demonstrate expertise of common complex topics among client-facing and technical personnel; and increase client satisfaction (including plan sponsors & financial advisors) and revenue opportunities.
  • How: Pass the Qualified 401(k) Consultant (QKC) Exam (formerly known as DC-3) and apply for the credential. 


How to get started:

Read the candidate handbook for details on earning and maintaing the credential. 

Register Now

  • Purchase the new QKC Bundle (formerly known as DC-3)
  • Your purchase includes the QKC PDF Study Guide, QKC Practice Exam, and QKC Proctored Exam (single attempt)
  • Registering someone else? Download the order form here.

Get the tips and training you need to succeed. Bob Kaplan, CPC, QPA, QKC, QKA® , director of technical education, offers four hours of expert coaching and motivation to help you master the  content and improve your chances of passing the exam.

Enrollment Instructions

  1. Go to
  2. Type in your username and password
  3. Type in the enrollment code: SPRING2023QKC

Spring Classroom Schedule

04/18 - 2:00 p.m. ET

  •           Chapters 1-3

05/01 - 2:00 p.m. ET

  •           Chapters 4-5

05/16 - 2:00 p.m. ET

  •           Chapters 6-8

05/30 - 2:00 p.m. ET

  •            Chapters 9-11

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who would benefit from QKC?
Anyone seeking an advanced DC designation, especially client-facing and technical personnel, (i.e., compliance testers, relationship managers and implementation team members).

What topics are covered in the QKC program?

  • Multi & Multiple Employer and Leased Employees.
  • Leased employees.
  • Other employer situations.
  • Controlled groups and affiliated service groups.
  • Compensation.
  • Average benefit test and special rules.
  • Nondiscrimination.
  • Employee stock ownership plans.
  • Fiduciary standards.
  • Prohibited transactions.
  • Distributions and life insurance.
  • Ethics.


Is there a prerequisite for the QKC program?
Yes. If you earned the QKA credential or meet the requirements (passed the DC-1 and DC-2, or QKA1 and QKA2 exams) you are eligible to pursue the QKC. Then, upon passing QKC, you may apply for the credential.

I’m ready to take the exam. Where can I take it?

  • All ASPPA credentialed examinations, including QKC, are delivered through an online proctoring examination system.
  • Since this exam is included in the Qualified 401(k) Consultant Package purchase, candidates will not be immediately enrolled in their exam. This is to ensure sufficient time to complete the study materials.
  • Once ready to enroll in the exam, candidates should do so by clicking 'Enroll' on their exam within their Catalog in Learning Activities.
  • Candidates will then receive instructions via email to access their exam within three business days following their enrollment request. Candidates will have three full months following the month of their enrollment to complete their examination.


How do I apply for the QKC credential?


Once earned, how do I maintain the QKC credential?
All ASPPA credentialed members must earn 40 hours of continuing education (CE) credits (two of which must be ethics) within a two-year cycle, and renew their ASPPA membership annually.

What type of exam does a candidate need to pass to earn the credential?
The QKC examination consists of 55 multiple-choice questions; candidates have 2.5 hours to complete it. 

Do I have to take the exam or can I just take the educational program?
Anyone can complete all or part of the education without taking the exams. However, we encourage  you to take the exams to confirm your mastery of the subject matter and be eligible to earn the credential.  

Can I purchase just the QKC exam?
Yes. The QKC Exam is available to purchase as a standalone product. 

Once I finish the QKC Exam and earn the QKC, how would I pursue the Qualified Plan Administrator (QPA) credential?
You can earn the QPA credential by passing the Defined Benefits (DB) exam. 

I am a QPA, am I eligible to become a QKC?
Yes, if you’ve passed the DC-1 and DC-2 (or QKA1 and QKA2), and the QKC exam, you may apply for an additional credential

An ERPA who has been awarded the QPA credential and wants to pursue the QKC credential must have completed DC-1 and DC-2 (or QKA1 and QKA2), and QKC exams in order to be eligiblie for the credential.

I am a Certified Pension Consultant (CPC), am I eligible to become a QKC?
Yes, you may apply for an additional credential

Where can I get more information?
Download the Candidate Handbook.

What is the ASPPA Exam Policy?
Download the Exam Policy. Read the Exam Disciplinary Procedures.

What if I need more time to take the exam?
Download the ASPPA Exam Extension Policy. Request an extension if needed.