News & Resources

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Certification and Recertification Have Just Gotten Easier

BY: APA Staff | 01/08/19

Online applications, online recertification logs, and an online directory of CPPs and FPCs have just been launched.

FPCs and CPPs have been asking for more online tools to make certification and recertification easier. APA has listened, and we are very pleased to share three new certification tools to support you through the process of becoming certified or maintaining your certification.

Online FPC and CPP Exam Applications

In an effort to streamline the FPC and CPP exam application process, APA has developed an online exam application form. Once you’re logged in to the APA website, the application will automatically populate your preliminary contact information and allow you to use an electronic signature. No more paper or PDF forms are needed.

Both the FPC and CPP online applications are built to reduce the time it takes to submit your exam application and receive an approval from the APA. Both online exam applications are simplified to easily walk you through the process, making this a stress-free task.


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Due to its eligibility requirements, the CPP exam application enjoys a few additional features to help candidates quickly meet the eligibility criteria via education or work experience.


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All you have to do is input the name and contact email for a supervisor who can verify your work experience in the payroll field. That supervisor will receive an email with easy to follow instructions. The supervisor will also be allowed to sign off on your eligibility with an online verification. The process should greatly reduce the amount of time it takes for supervisors to verify eligibility.


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Ready to apply for an exam? Apply online for the FPC or CPP exam at www.americanpayroll.org/certification.

Online Recertification Logs

For payroll professionals who are part of the elite group of FPC and CPP designees, we are moving away from cumbersome paper recertification program logs to a more simplified online recertification process. With this digital recertification log, it is our goal to not only simplify the recertification process, but to also help certificants easily track RCHs throughout their maintenance period.


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The online recertification log automatically populates all of your completed APA National education hours. Certificants will be able to enter third-party payroll education and select the appropriate content area from a drop-down menu.


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The recertification log also displays the certification expiration date and a progress bar with a running total of accumulated RCHs. When the certificant has reached the required number of RCHs within their 3-year (FPC) or 5-year (CPP) recertification period, the online process will allow them to pay and submit their recertification log with the click of a button!


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Start tracking your RCHs now to recertify at the end of your certification period. Login with your APA credentials to access the recertification log at www.americanpayroll.org/recertlog.

Directory of Certificants

The APA has launched a searchable public directory of certificants of FPC and CPP certified payroll professionals. This directory lets your peers and employers instantly verify an individual's certification status, whether that individual is an FPC or CPP.


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The search results will provide the certificant's designation, designation status, current recertification period, city, and state. Certificants can use this tool not only as verification of their credentials, but as a way to showcase their hard-earned designation to their peers and employers.


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The Directory of Certificants is updated in real time, so new candidates who pass the FPC or CPP exam will be searchable and verifiable within approximately 24-48 hours of passing the exam.

Give this new and exciting tool a try at www.americanpayroll.org/directory.

Updated KSAs

Since summer of 2017, the APA has been working on updating the FPC and CPP blueprint, also known as the KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities), for the FPC and CPP exams. Effective September 14, 2019 all FPC and CPP examinations will be based on the updated KSAs.

The Job Task Analysis: Approximately every five to six years, the APA completes a Job Task Analysis (JTA) to validate certification examinations and ensure that the content specifications for the Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) examination and the Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) examination are current and relevant to the payroll profession.

A JTA is generally a year-long process that involves test development professionals who measure the validity, reliability, and fairness of an exam program through the science of education and psychological measurements. In addition, payroll subject matter experts as well as the entire APA community of payroll professionals is involved through surveys and meetings to discuss and validate the results of the Job Task Analysis.

The KSAs: The results of the JTA form the basis of the new FPC and CPP blueprint, or KSAs. The KSAs in turn affect the content of the exams, which must align with the KSAs to ensure that the CPP and FPC exams align with the tasks that payroll people perform every day, in the real world. New exam content outlines have been prepared, and will take affect during the Fall 2019 exam window.

Additionally, the APA and its Approved Provider and RCH Chapter programs will begin using these KSAs to align their course content and submissions for RCH approval.

The current FPC and CPP Content Outline will be in effect through September 13, 2019. The updated FPC and CPP Content Outline will be in effect starting September 14, 2019 and on.

To read more about this update, visit the APA News page at www.americanpayroll.org. For the full list of new KSAs, visit the FPC and CPP pages at www.americanpayroll.org/certification.

With these updates, our goal is not only to improve the certification programs and to support our payroll professionals, but to also give FPCs and CPPs more convenient, faster ways to keep up with their payroll certification needs. We truly hope you enjoy the new updates as you discover their features. As we move forward, APA will continue to make improvements to our certification processes to create even more useful tools to help you along the way through certification.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact the APA Certification Department at (210) 226-4600, ext. 3001 or email [email protected].


Rali Petrova is Certification Manager for the American Payroll Association.