What Does the SHRM-CP Stand For?

everything you need to know about the SHRM-SCP Exam

Looking for more support as you prepare for your SHRM-SCP exam?  Join our HR Certification Study Group on Facebook. 

The SHRM-CP stands for Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional. It’s the HR certification that HR professionals with three to five years of experience typically take, but you can take it sooner if you have an HR-related bachelor or master’s degree. You can see more specific education requirements further in this article. 

SHRM has two HR certification designations which are the SHRM-CP and the SHRM-SCP. Each one has different requirements and specifics, but for the purposes of this resource we are focused on the SHRM-CP

What Does the SHRM-CP Stand For? 


SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) are HR professionals who implement policies and strategies, serve as point of contact for staff and stakeholders, deliver HR services, and perform operational HR functions, should take the SHRM-CP exam. The CP stands for “Certified Professional.” 

Details About the SHRM-CP Exam


– Is multiple choice 

– Answers are ranked 

– You’re given four hours to complete the exam

– Comprised of 160 questions 

– Includes a 5-minute survey 

– Includes 30 non-test scoring questions

– Has Spring and Fall testing windows

The SHRM exams must be taken during a specific window of opportunity, as outlined below, which is why preparation and study is so important. Additionally, passing the text on your first try means you only have to pay the exam fee once. If you must take the exam again, you’ll have to wait until the next exam window and pay the full exam fee again. The most recent data from SHRM indicates a 66 percent pass rate for SHRM-CP, so a significant effort should be put into studying for this designation.

What Are the Testing And Registration Dates for the SHRM-CP Exam? 


2020 Spring Testing Window: May 1 – July 15, 2020

Applications are accepted beginning January 6, 2020. The early bird application deadline is March 20, 2020 and the standard application deadline is April 10, 2020.


2020-2021 Winter Testing Window: Dec. 1, 2020 – Feb. 15, 2021

Applications are accepted beginning May 13, 2020. The early bird application deadline is October 16, 2020 and the standard application deadline is November 6, 2020.


How Much Does It Cost to Sign Up for the SHRM-CP Exam? 


The Exam Fee:

SHRM Member: $300* USD

Nonmember: $400* USD 

*Includes $50 nonrefundable application fee.

All the tests are taken in a testing center in a nearby city. You have to register for your SHRM-CP exam date and the location. You can find the testing center nearest to you here. The testing room is normally filled with cubicles and you will have your own computer and area to take the exam. There is an exam proctor in the room to ensure you have a quiet environment to take the exam. They will also be making sure that you don’t try anything sneaky or unethical during the exam. 

What Are the SHRM-CP Testing Requirements? (applies to both SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP)


There are different testing requirements depending on each exam with SHRM including the SCP and CP. More details are listed below the graphic.


General HR Test Requirements


– HR-related experience relates to work in any of the 15 functional areas of HR knowledge which comprise the technical competency HR Expertise, identified in the SHRM BoCK.

– Applicants are not required to hold an HR title. The critical factor in determining eligibility is your HR-related work as opposed to your job title.

– Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they devoted at least 1,000 hours to HR-related activities in any calendar year to qualify as having a year of HR-related experience. More than 1,000 hours in a calendar year does not equate to more than 1 year of experience.

– Part-time work qualifies as long as the 1,000-hour standard is met within a calendar year.

– Individuals who have mixed roles—for example, office managers who have both administrative and HR responsibilities—may also have qualifying experience, as long as HR-related duties total at least 1,000 hours in a calendar year. Supervising employees in and of itself is not considered qualifying HR-related experience.

– Experience may be either exempt or nonexempt.

– Individuals who are HR consultants may demonstrate qualifying experience through the HR-related duties they perform for their clients. Contracted hours must total at least 1,000 hours in a calendar year.

– SHRM membership is not required.

SHRM-CP Experience and/or Education Requirements 


HR pros who are taking the SHRM-CP exam need to have the following experience and/or combined education requirements in order to apply for and be accepted to take the CP exam.

With less a Bachelor’s degree: 

– If your degree is related to HR, you must have 3 years of related experience in an HR role or 4 years of HR experience with a non-HR degree.

With a Bachelors’s degree: 

– If your degree is related to HR, you need 1 year of HR experience or 2 years of HR experience if you have a non-HR degree.

With a Master’s degree:

– If your Master’s degree is in HR, you need to be currently working in an HR role or if your degree is non-HR, you need 1 year experience in HR role.


What Is a Passing Score For the SHRM-CP Exam?


One of the challenges with both SHRM exams is they are weighted exams meaning that your score isn’t tied to a certain number of questions you get wrong or right. You won’t know the scoring or even which of the 130 out of the 160 questions are going to be used in the scoring of your SHRM-CP exam. You have four hours to answer all the questions for the exam. Thirty of the 160 questions are test questions SHRM is considering adding to the exam. They want to see how you respond and are testing them out before they become part of the scored questions for future exam. When it comes to your exam, you need a passing score for the SHRM-CP exam of 200. Anything less in a score of 200 means you don’t pass your exam. As I mentioned, the current pass rate for the SHRM-CP is 66%.


How to Prepare for the SHRM-SCP Exam with Workology 


HR practitioners are well aware of the difficulty of these exams and there is a lot of advice out there on methods of preparation for the SHRM certifications. First, there’s no “trick” to passing the exams. Preparation involves study and memorization, no matter how long you’ve been working in the HR field or what your degree is in. What does make the process easier is having an organized study schedule and preparation ahead of the exam to ensure you’ll pass it the first time you take it.   

At Workology, we offer three different certification prep options for those taking the SHRM-SCP. First, we have an HR Practice Test course complete with 200 HR Practice Test questions. Second, we have our on-demand course called Ace the HR Exam that offers more than 8 1/2 hours of audio and video learning plus a glossary resources of more than 600 important HR terms you need to know as you prepare for your exam. And third, SHRM Certification Prep by Workology prepares you to ace your SHRM certification with a mix of self-paced, social and face-to-face learning designed for the modern HR professional. These preparation courses keep you energized and help you retain what you learn so you can put it to use long after you earn your SHRM-SCP certification.

More HR Certification Resources:


Everything You Need to Know About the SHRM-SCP

Everything You Need to Know about the PHR

Everything You Need to Know About the SPHR

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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