Retirement Plans - Design Considerations and Administration (B2)


Learn Foundational Knowledge about Retirement Plan Design and Administration

Retirement plan design and administration are challenging tasks for the human resources professional, who must balance organizational objectives with the financial resources needed to ensure that employees are benefiting from and contributing to their retirement plans. This course provides you with an introduction to strategic retirement plan design and administration with emphasis on defined contribution plans.

In this course, you will learn about:

  • Aligning retirement plan objectives with organizational strategy.
  • Defined contribution plan types.
  • Key aspects of 401k plans.
  • Fiduciary requirements for retirement plans.
  • General plan investment and financing guidelines.
  • Auditing retirement plans for effectiveness, financial performance and plan delivery.
  • Integrating retirement plans when mergers or acquisitions occur.

This course contains U.S. specific content and provides a thorough overview of retirement plans. It is an ideal course for those who need foundational knowledge in retirement plan design and administration.

Specific areas covered include: 

  • Introduction to Retirement Plans
    Learn about aligning the retirement plan with the organization’s strategy. This section also explores the objectives of employee-sponsored retirement plans, retirement income needs and sources, an overview of employer-sponsored retirement plans and the differences between qualified and nonqualified plans.

  • Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans
    Understand the evolution of employer-sponsored retirement plans, the characteristics and types of defined contribution plans and hybrid plans.

  • Plan Design Considerations
    Gain knowledge about plan design considerations and regulations, including issues related to the IRS definition of compensation and service, contributions, vesting and distributions as well as comparison of the characteristics of various elective contributions.

  • Nondiscrimination Tests
    Learn about IRS nondiscrimination tests for retirement plans, including terminology and rules. This section will also explore safe harbors, Social Security integration and new comparability plans.

  • Fiduciary Responsibilities, Plan Investment and Financing
    Understand stakeholder responsibilities, fiduciary issues, the difference between financial education and financial advice, ERISA Section 404(c) regulations and the role of the retirement plan committee.

  • Plan Administration
    Gain skills in assessing the needs of the workforce and in assessing plan competitiveness. Learn about plan auditing.

  • Implementing Changes in Retirement Plans
    Learn how to communicate with and advise management about the plan, including trends and recommendations. Gain insights about merger options, integrating retirement plans and protected and unprotected benefits.

Upon completing this course, you will have foundational knowledge about retirement plan design and administration to align your organization’s strategy with its retirement plan.

Ready to get started?

This course is available in a variety of formats, including online and in-person.

Find a class format that works for you and register today.

Learning Options Click on your preferred Learning Option to see pricing and schedule.


On-site instructor-led delivery of course materials with the added value of face-to-face interaction with a subject-matter expert and peers.

Course and Certification Exam

Members: $1,495 USD

$2,200 USD

Virtual Classroom

Live online instructor-led delivery of online course materials including real-time interaction with a subject-matter expert and peers — no travel required!

Course and Certification Exam

Members: $1,350 USD

$2,150 USD


Self-paced online learning with access to pre-recorded course modules delivered by an instructor.

120-Day Access
(e-course materials available online immediately)

Member: $1,285 USD

$1,780 USD

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Please note: 120-day access to e-course material starts immediately on the day of purchase. Purchase includes course materials and exam.

Exam Only

Course Credits & Certifications

  • Recertification

    Course: 2 credits

    Exam: 0.5 credits

  • CEUs

    Course: 1.5 credits

    Exam: 0.3 credits

  • HRCI Recertification

    16 classroom hours

  • SHRM Recertification
    16 classroom hours

This exam is required for the following certifications:

More Information

Who Should Register

This course contains U.S specific content designed specifically for human resources professionals seeking an overview of defined contribution retirement plans and those preparing to assume responsibility for the detailed administration and management of these plans.

How to Register

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