Education & Certification



woman leading a class

The American Payroll Association’s educational programs and resources are designed for payroll professionals at all stages of their careers. Whether you’re new to payroll and need to understand fundamental calculations or you’re the leader of a large payroll operation, the APA’s courses and publications will meet your needs.

Professional Resources

The APA publishes a comprehensive collection of compliance resources produced by the Association's experienced editorial team of payroll and employment law experts. Publications are issued in many media, including the online APA Bookshelf, printed texts, ebooks, magazines – both print and digital, and enewsletters. Ordering is available online, by fax, and by mail.

View All Publications and Online Resources


An essential component of the APA's mission is the presentation of quality training programs that range from basic payroll education to advanced topics in payroll management. Legislative updates, special topic seminars and forums, and all-encompassing events provide over 300 training opportunities each year.

View All Training

The APA presents educational opportunities in many different formats.

Classroom – The live classroom is an in-person event. This could be at various hotels or at one of APA’s Learning Centers in Las Vegas or San Antonio.

Interactive Virtual – This is a live interactive classroom held in a virtual platform, similar to Zoom. Participants address questions verbally to speakers and interact with peers via chat.

Virtual Classroom – The live virtual classroom is held in an online platform. Participants contribute to the course with online polling and group chat. These courses are held over several days.

Webinar – The live webinar is held in an online platform. Contribute to the course with online polling and group chat. Webinars are 60-90 minutes in duration.

Webinar on Demand – The webinar on demand is the recorded version of the live webinar. Webinars on-demand webinar are 60-90 minutes in duration.

Conference – This is a formal meeting offered either in person or virtually. Generally these will span several days and consist of multiple educational sessions.

Online Guided Study – This is an online program consisting of PayTrain and PayTrain Fundamentals. This program with weekly assignments with the ability to ask questions, via the program, to a subject matter expert

Online Self Study – This is an online program, consisting of PayTrain and PayTrain Fundamentals. With this option, you choose your own schedule and study duration.

In-House Training – APA can deliver course content and an instructor straight to your workplace.

Certification Exams

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.

The APA offers two levels of certification:


APA members receive discounts on all products and courses as well as many other benefits. APA membership costs $298 per year, plus a $35 enrollment fee for new members or memberships inactive for over 90 days. Total cost for new members is $333. Join now.