APA certification is a valuable, objective credential that verifies a specified level of knowledge, skills, and abilities in the payroll profession. Certification helps individuals demonstrate their payroll expertise, secure promotions, advance their careers, and enhance their standing within the profession.
APA offers two levels of certification -- the Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) and the Certified Payroll Professional (CPP). The exams are administered at more than 300 locations throughout the United States and Canada. (Please see below for Military and International Testing opportunities)
It is the responsibility of each examination candidate to download and read the applicable FPC or CPP Examination Candidate Handbook. Exceptions will not be made for candidates that do not read the handbook.
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Certified Payroll Professional (CPP)
|The CPP is a certification credential for those with payroll knowledge and experience.|
Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC)
| The FPC is a certification credential for payroll beginners and service and support professionals with payroll knowledge. There are no payroll experience requirements to take this exam.|
Exam Windows - Northern Americas
Registration: January 17 - April 21
Exam Window: March 25 - April 22
Registration: July 11 - October 13
Exam Window: September 16 - October 14
About the Exam
For CPP and FPC exams administered September 17, 2016 through September 15, 2017, questions should be answered based on Federal laws and regulations in effect as of 1/1/2016.
For CPP and FPC exams administered September 16, 2017 through September 15, 2018, questions should be answered based on Federal laws and regulations in effect as of 1/1/2017.
Mid-year changes are NOT reflected on the exams.
Learning Center Testing Opportunities
Attendees of Payroll 101: Foundations of Payroll Certificate Program and Payroll 201: The Payroll Administration Certificate Program at APA's Learning Centers in Las Vegas and San Antonio will have the opportunity to take their respective certification exam at the end of each course. Yes, that means year-round!
If you wish to take the exam at the conclusion of APA's Payroll 101 or Payroll 201 course, DO NOT make exam reservations through Pearson Vue. Candidates can register through APA's website for the course. The examination fee can also be paid online with course registration. If you are unable to pay for the examination online, please contact [email protected] for the registration form. If you have any questions about registration or paying for the exam, please contact the Certification Department by email or call (210) 226-4600.
The Payroll 101 and Payroll 201 courses should not be considered the only method of study for these exams. These testing opportunities are only recommended as a review for candidates that have already studied and are ready to take the exams. Successful candidates who shared their study secrets with us have indicated that they engage in a minimum of 6 to 12 weeks of preparation before taking the FPC exam and a minimum of 3 to 4 months before taking the CPP exam.
The Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) exam is available on the Friday afternoon at the conclusion of all Payroll 101: Foundations of Payroll Certificate Program courses in Las Vegas and San Antonio. Advance registration is required.
The Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) exam is available on Friday afternoon at the conclusion of all Payroll 201: The Payroll Administration Certificate Program courses in Las Vegas and San Antonio. Advance registration is required.
International Testing Opportunities
The APA administers the FPC and CPP exams at over 180 locations internationally. For complete registration instructions, fees and how to find international testing locations, candidates can download the FPC or CPP Candidate Handbook. Examinations are delivered ONLY in English and are based on U.S. federal rules and regulations. After reading the Candidate Examiniation handbook and submitting and receiving approval of your application by the APA you may register for international testing with Pearson VUE.
Military Testing Opportunities
APA administers the FPC and CPP examinations at all DANTES locations in the United States through Pearson VUE. 100% of the cost of the Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) and Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) certification exams are approved for reimbursement to eligible military and certain family members through the G.I. Bill of the Department of Veterans Affairs. For detailed information, log onto their website at http://www.gibill.va.gov Download the Candidate Examination Handbook for complete registration instructions, fees and how to find testing locations.
Study and Training Resources
The candidate for certification is advised to consult a variety of sources to prepare for either of the certification exams. The exam handbooks contain a list of suggested references.
The candidate can obtain study materials from the APA and attend APA preparation courses. APA courses are also approved to achieve recertification. Training and resources are available in a variety of formats including books, training courses, Web-based training, and Local Chapter Study Groups.
Free Webinar - Prepare yourself for the CPP and FPC Exams
Get the latest information and tips for preparing yourself to take these exams. After clicking on the webinar link below, press the "Add To Cart" button.
View this webinar at your convenience!
Webinar On Demand
Available after February 9, 2017
Approved Provider Program
For designees who need to obtain Recertification Credit Hours (RCHs) Effective September 1, 2006, APA has instituted an Approved Provider program for organizations that present payroll education.
Approved Providers: 2016 :: 2015 :: 2014 :: 2013 :: 2012 :: 2011 :: 2010
Approved Chapter Meetings: 2016 :: 2015 :: 2014 :: 2013 :: 2012 :: 2011 :: 2010
APA Transcript Requests
Transcripts for APA national courses, seminars and conferences attended, within the current recertification period (3 years for FPC and 5 years for CPP), will be provided upon submission of payment.
Please allow two (2) weeks for processing. APA will provide transcripts via email. If you need to update your contact information, please call Membership Services at (210) 224-6038 or email [email protected].
Notification / Verification of Designation
For successful candidates that would like the APA to notify their boss of their accomplishment OR for potential and current employers that would like to obtain verification, please complete the request form. Submit all requests to [email protected]. Please allow 2 to 3 weeks for processing.
4 Easy Steps to Order Your Certificate and Lapel Pin
1. Log into the APA website using your APA ID Number and Password. You can obtain your APA ID and password by contacting Membership Services at [email protected] or by phone at 210-224-6406.
2. Verify, on the welcome line, the spelling of your name as you want it to appear on your certificate.
3. After verifying that your name is spelled correctly, stay logged into the APA website and click on the certification tab in the left panel (this is necessary for validation of
- If you need to make corrections to your name or to change your legal name, email your request (along with legal documentation for name changes) to [email protected]. Include in the Subject Line of the email the words: Certificate Order.
- Allow 3 to 5 business days for updates to be completed.
- You must wait for name changes to be effective on your APA profile before ordering your certificate.
- If a Certificate is ordered with the wrong name the APA will not be responsible for the cost of a corrected certificate.
4. Scroll down to the bottom of the certification page and click on either CPP or FPC. You will then be redirected to the ordering page where you can make your selections and place your order.
If you have any questions contact the certification department at [email protected] or 210-226-4600.