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SHRM-CP Certification

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What is SHRM?

With more than 300,000 members in 165 countries, SHRM is the largest organization for human resource (HR) professionals and is considered an authority on all things HR. Its members have access to a range of resources and education to advance their careers, as well as the ability to actively participate in the creation of globally recognized HR standards.

If you’re exploring your HR degree options, joining a program that has a SHRM-aligned curriculum can better prepare you for the real HR scenarios you’ll face in your future career. WGU’s online human resource degree program has been recognized by SHRM as fully aligned with their HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. On top of that, WGU has its own online virtual SHRM student chapter that helps students continue learning and networking within the HR profession.

“Western Governors University (WGU) has been in alignment with SHRM since 2016. [In five years], WGU referred over 150 students to take the SHRM exam—which speaks to the level of dedication they have to their students! Additionally, their alignment reinforces the content and information students may be exposed to during the exam. SHRM is excited to continue supporting WGU in replenishing the HR practitioner pipeline!”

Demetrius Norman | Senior Specialist, Academic Programs and Initiatives, Society for Human Resource Management

What Does SHRM Stand For?

SHRM is short for the Society of Human Resource Professionals. Since its founding in 1948, SHRM has served three main functions: to provide education and certification in HR, to act as a networking hub for members, and to lobby Congress on behalf of HR and management interests.

As a SHRM member, you can take advantage of a variety of professional benefits to advance and support you in your HR role, including:

  • Research publications and articles
  • Industry trend reports
  • Educational articles and updates about policy changes
  • Job postings
  • Networking opportunities
  • Continuing education classes and credits

What is SHRM Certification?

The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP are two paid certifications that SHRM offers to its members. Both certifications are based on the SHRM Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge™ (SHRM BASK™). SHRM-CP is the first level of certification and covers foundational HR competencies. The CP stands for Certified Professional. SHRM-SCP stands for SHRM Senior Certified Professional and is a more advanced certification designed for senior-level HR roles, making it a great credential for individuals looking for professional development.

“I believe that my time studying for my class at WGU helped me prepare for and pass a very difficult [SHRM-CP] test.”

—Maureen Devine
B.S. Human Resource Management


What is SHRM-CP?

The SHRM-CP certification can help prepare you for the future of HR. The SHRM-CP exam focuses on workplace policies as strategies, examining topics like leadership and navigation, relationship management, recruiting, ethical practice, business acumen, communication, and more.

SHRM-CP is valuable for HR professionals who:

  • Are in charge of implementing workplace policies and strategies
  • Act as the contact for employees and stakeholders
  • Perform operational HR job duties

SHRM-CP certification requires passing an exam, and WGU students can review eligibility requirements for the exam on the SHRM website. The SHRM-CP exam is designed to assess the competency level of HR at the operational level, which will include policy implementation, day to day support of various HR functions, and serving as a strategic point of contact for employees, leaders, and other stakeholders.

How Much Does the SHRM Certification Cost?

One thing to keep in mind if you plan to take the SHRM-CP certification exam is the cost. There are application processing fees and exam fees, and if you don’t pass the exam on the first try, you’ll have to pay to take it again.

The student exam fee is $149 for SHRM members and $209 for nonmembers. This price includes a $50 nonrefundable processing fee. (The SHRM-CP exam fees may vary and are subject to change.)

Additionally, you’ll need to maintain your certification through professional development credits earned through SHRM-approved educational sessions and pay a recertification application fee every three years.

"My experience and WGU had provided me with much of the information I needed to pass the [SHRM-CP] certification. I heavily credit WGU’s program for my success."

—Ashley Remini
B.S. Human Resource Management


The exam is computer based with 134 questions and four hours in length. The exam will cover the nine behavioral competencies and fourteen functional areas from the SHRM BASK (Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge). A passing score is 200, and results are generally communicated immediately upon finishing the exam. You can schedule your exam at an approved SHRM testing center or test remotely via remote proctoring approved through SHRM.

To sit for the SHRM-CP certification exam, you are not required to hold an HR title, nor do you need a completed degree in HR or previous HR experience. However, it is important to note that a basic working knowledge of HR practices and principles or a degree from an Academically Aligned program is recommended by SHRM. WGU’s HR degree program is approved by SHRM as Academically Aligned, but you should plan for separate, direct test preparation as well.


The online WGU human resource management bachelor's degree will help you get the vital skills you need to be successful in a human resource position, and thereby help you be ready for this exam. Our curriculum is aligned with the guides and templates established by SHRM to define the HR content areas that should be studied by HR students.

When you purchase SHRM student membership to join the WGU SHRM Virtual Student Chapter, you will get access to

  • Weekly SHRM-hosted webcasts.
  • Discounts on SHRM-sponsored resources comprised of seminars, conferences, certification prep, books, and more.
  • Subscription to HR Magazine and SHRM e-newsletters.
  • Regular updates on changes in U.S., state, and local compliance regulations.

Study Tips

One of the best things you can do to set yourself up for SHRM-CP success is to join a degree program designed to prepare you for it. In addition to that, here are a few more tips to consider as you head into exam day.

  • Don’t cram the night before.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to study (at least 60 hours, according to SHRM).
  • Utilize flash cards.
  • Read the SHRM Certification Guide Book.
  • Answer practice questions.
  • Make a weekly study schedule.
  • Create or join a study group with other students or your instructor.
  • Take breaks to give your brain a break
  • Get plenty of sleep before exam day.

Is SHRM Certification Worth It?

Definitely! Getting your SHRM certification not only gives your résumé a boost, it shows employers you’re serious about taking your career to the next level. Earning the SHRM-CP also validates your knowledge and abilities in the field of human resources and helps you stay ahead of the game in an industry that’s constantly evolving.

Earning your SHRM certification can also positively impact your:

1. Salary

Credentials make you more valuable to employers, giving them higher incentive to pay you more.

2. Hire-ability

Oftentimes, employers will require candidates to have human resource certifications to qualify for a job.

3. Opportunities for Advancement

Getting a human resource certification makes you a prime candidate for promotions or new positions in the HR field.

4. Performance

It’s vital to advance your knowledge and skills to help you improve your performance. Human resource certifications can help you do that.

The last thing to consider is this: a degree in human resource management is the foundation for professional success, but earning your SHRM certification will help you take your future one step further on the path to a rewarding and lucrative career.