The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Certified Professional (CP) Exam is used by HR professionals around the world to prove they have the knowledge and skills necessary to excel and grow the human resources field. A successful completion of this certification exam shows your employer, colleagues, and potential clients that you will go the extra mile to get the job done right, setting a high standard of success for all.
Who is Eligible?
Human Resource (HR) professionals who would like to become certified in their field must meet at least one of the following requirements:
Less than a Bachelor’s degree
- Be enrolled in an HR related education program and have at least three years in an HR role
- Be enrolled in a non-HR related education program and have at least four years in an HR role
- Have an HR related degree and at least one year in an HR role
- Have a non-HR related degree and at least two years in an HR role
- Have an HR related degree and are currently in an HR role
- Have a non-HR related degree and at least one year in an HR role
The Exam costs $300 for SHRM members. For non-members, it is $400. Scholarships and certificates are available by the SHRM Foundation.
When and Where Can I Take it?
After your exam application has been approved, you will be sent an Authorization to Test or ATT letter. This will give you instructions on when and how to schedule your exam. It will also include an eligibility ID number that you will need to schedule.
The SHRM-CP is taken twice a year during a spring and a winter exam window. These are computer-administered exams by Prometric, a test delivery vendor, at more than 8,000 testing sites throughout 160 countries. Register for an exam at your preferred location early as space may be limited.
If you cannot get an exam scheduled and taken during your testing window, all fees will be forfeited and you will need to begin the application process again.
Once you have scheduled an exam, you will be sent a confirmation email including the date, time and place of your exam. Should you need to reschedule or cancel your exam, you may do so for an additional fee.
What Should I Bring?
Prometric, the company used to administer the SHRM-CP exam recommends that you arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled exam. This will give you enough time to complete the check-in process and get situated for the exam without being late. Those who are late will not be allowed to test and will have to reschedule for another session, as well as forfeit all exam fees paid up to that point.
Part of the check-in process at the testing site will require that you present a current and valid form of ID. This must contain a recent and recognizable photo, your full name as it appears on your application/registration, and your signature. Acceptable forms of ID are:
- Driver’s license
- State ID
- Military ID
If you are not able to present such an ID, you will not be allowed to enter the facility and take your scheduled exam.
As a computer-administered test, the SHRM-CP will have all testing material that you need provided for you including an on-screen calculator, pencils, and scratch paper. Therefore, you will not be allowed to bring any of your own materials or personal belongings, including cell phones, food, and drinks. Any such items will not be allowed in the testing area and will be kept in a designated area until your exam is complete.
What Does it Cover?
The SRHM-CP is broken into two main categories: Behavior Competencies and HR Expertise. There are 160 multiple choice questions on the exam. You are given four hours to complete it.
Below is a brief outline of the exam and the topics you will be expected to know.
- Leadership and navigation
- Leadership theories
- Management techniques
- Trust and relationship building techniques
- Ethical practice
- Codes of conduct
- Ethical business practices
- Confidentiality and privacy policies
- Relationship Management
- Types of conflict
- Conflict resolution
- Elements of communication
- Communication techniques
- Communications media
- Global and Cultural Effectiveness
- Cultural intelligence
- Techniques to bridging differences
- Cultural norms and dimensions
- Best practices for managing diverse workforces
- Business Acumen
- Business terms and concepts
- Elements of a business case
- Business documents
- Business intelligence techniques
- Consulting processes and models
- Effective consulting techniques
- Critical evaluation
- Interpretation of data and charts
- Sources of data
- Survey and assessment tools
People Knowledge Domain
- HR strategic planning
- Strategic planning analysis
- Concepts of systems thinking
- Approaches to project management
- Talent acquisition
- Employee onboarding
- Employment categories
- Approaches to sourcing
- Job offer negotiations
- Talent acquisition metrics
- Employee engagement and retention
- Improving job attitudes
- Retention and turnover metrics
- Types of organizational cultures
- Workplace flexibility programs
- Learning and development
- Career development
- Learning evaluation
- Learning theories
- Development assessments
- Organizational analysis
- Total rewards
- Compensation philosophies
- Basic accounting and financial knowledge
- Leave plans and approaches
- Other benefits
- Pay practices and issues
- Total rewards metrics and benchmarks
Organization Knowledge domain
- Structure of the HR function
- Outsourcing HR functions
- HR function metrics
- Elements of the HR function
- Organizational effectiveness and development
- Intergroup dynamics
- Intragroup dynamics
- Behavioral assessments
- Workforce management
- Approaches to restructuring
- Leadership development and planning
- Succession planning programs
- Analysis of labor supply and demand
- Employee and labor relations
- Retaliation prevention
- Union-organization relations
- Disciplinary procedures
- Employment rights and concepts
- Technology management
- Data and information management
- Policies for procurement
- Practices for technology and social media use
Workplace Knowledge Domain
- HR in the Global Context
- Requirements for moving work
- Best practices for international assignments
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Demographic barriers to success
- Workplace accommodations
- Developing an inclusive workplace
- Risk management
- Drug free workplace
- Emergency and disaster
- Risk sources
- Security concerns
- Quality assurance techniques
- Corporate social responsibility
- Community inclusion and engagement
- Creating shared values
- Organizational philosophies and policies
- U.S. employment laws and regulations
- Employee Relations
- Equal Employment Opportunity
- Leave and Benefits
- Job Safety and Health
How is it Scored?
About four weeks after the end of your exam window, you will receive an email with instructions on how to get your official score report. Those who have passed will receive a credential certificate, a lapel pin, and a congratulatory letter about four to six weeks after you have your official results. These will be delivered through the mail.
To keep your SHRM certification you must either earn at least 60 professional development credits or PDCs or retake the certification exam every three years. These credits can be earned by attending seminars and conferences, as well as contributing efforts and resources to the advancing HR profession.
How Can I Prepare for the SHRM-CP Test?
We believe that different learning styles require different tools for success. We have compiled a list of the best study guides, flashcards, and practice tests that we’ve found on the market. Some of these guides have review videos, for you visual learners out there. Others have practice tests, which have been proven to increase student scores by a whole letter grade (in some cases more than that)!