What Does the SHRM-SCP Stand For?

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The SHRM-SCP stands for Society for Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional. It’s the HR certification that HR professionals with more than seven years of experience typically take, but you can take it sooner if you have an HR-related bachelor or master’s degree. For HR professionals with less than seven years of experience, SHRM recommends taking the exam for the SHRM-CP designation. 

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-SCP


What Does the SHRM-SCP Stand For? 


SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) are HR professionals who develop strategies, lead the HR function, foster influence in the community, analyze performance metrics, and align HR strategies to organizational goals, should take the SHRM-SCP exam. The SCP stands for “Senior Certified Professional.” 


Details About the SHRM-SCP 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 41 percent pass rate for SHRM-SCP, so a significant effort should be put into studying for this designation.

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


2022 Spring Testing Window: May 1 – July 15, 2022

Applications are accepted beginning January 8, 2020. The early bird application deadline is March 31, 2022 and the standard application deadline is April 8, 2022.


2022-2023 Winter Testing Window: Dec. 1, 2022 – Feb. 15, 2023

Applications are accepted beginning June 1, 2022. The early bird application deadline is October 14, 2022 and the standard application deadline is November 8, 2022.


How Much Does It Cost to Sign Up for the SHRM-SCP 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-SCP 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-SCP Testing Requirements? 


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


General SHRM Exam 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 BaSK.This is a 2022 change where SHRM moves from the SHRM Body of Knowledge to the BaSK which is the Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge. There are small differences to the content for 2022 but mostly the expansion of the Behavioral Competencies.

– 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-SCP Exam Education and/or Experience Requirements 


With less than a Bachelor’s degree: 

– If your degree is related to HR, you must have 6 years of related experience in an HR role or 7 years of HR experience with a non-HR degree.

With a Bachelors’s degree: 

– If your degree is related to HR, you need 4 years of HR experience or 5 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 3 years of HR experience or if your degree is non-HR, you need 4 years experience in HR role.


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.   


What Is a Passing Score For the SHRM-SCP 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-SCP 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-SCP 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-SCP is 41%.

How to Prepare for the SHRM-SCP Exam with Workology 

At Workology, we offer different certification prep options for those taking the SHRM-SCP or SHRM-CP exams. 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. These resources help you retain what you learn so you can put it to use long after you earn your SHRM-SCP certification.

It’s important to focus on your individual and unique needs which is why we have exam prep resources for nearly every type of learner. In order to best prepare for the SHRM-SCP exam, we suggest a focused learning approach starting with a self-assessment and creating a study plan that focuses on HR competency subject matter areas like diversity, talent acquisition, risk, employment law, or business acumen… Your study schedule and how you prep for the SHRM-SCP exam is unique to you which is why I suggest a 12-15 week approach focused on these subject matter areas where you focus on 1-2 areas over the course of two weeks. Prep should be 3-7 hours a week during that time with review time being no more than 45 minutes in a single sitting without a break. This allows you to really focus in your study prep time for the SHRM-SCP without overworking your brain.

As I mentioned, at Workology our most robust offering is our comprehensive Ace the HR Exam Suite which includes digital and on-demand resources for all types of learners who are preparing for the SHRM-SCP Exam. This includes an audio course called Ace the HR Exam. You’ll also have access to our Ace HR Shorts course which is 100+ short 5-7 minute videos on hard to remember HR topics. Also included is our signature Ace the HR Exam course with over 28 hours of exam prep longer form review videos as well as a pre-study assessment, 150 exam test questions and other digital downloads including flashcards and a downloadable 600+ HR glossary. You can learn more about our Ace HR Exam Suite by visiting www.acehrsuite.com.

More HR Certification Resources:


Everything You Need to Know About the SHRM-CP

Everything You Need to Know about the PHR

Everything You Need to Know About the SPHR

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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