SHRM Certified Professional: SHRM-CP Certification Cost, Requirements & Top Preparation Tips

SHRM-CP certification cost, preparation, eligibility.

Preparing for the SHRM-CP, Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional certification exam requires strategic planning, dedication, and effective study techniques. This article outlines ten essential tips to help you successfully pass the SHRM-CP certification exam.

SHRM-CP Certification Requirements:

  • The SHRM-CP certification targets those engaged in general HR or related duties, as well as current students and individuals aiming to build a career in Human Resource Management.

  • Applicants for the SHRM-CP certification do not need to hold an HR-specific job title, possess a degree, or have prior HR experience; however, it is advisable to have a basic understanding of HR practices and principles or to have a degree from a SHRM Academically Aligned program.

  • The SHRM-CP exam is crafted to evaluate the operational competency level in HR, which encompasses tasks such as executing policies, managing daily HR functions, and acting as a primary HR contact for employees and other stakeholders.

SHRM-CP Testing Windows:

Here are the details for the SHRM-CP exam testing windows and application deadlines for the year 2024:

First Test Window: May 1 - July 15, 2024

  • Application Period Start: January 3, 2024

  • Early-Bird Application Deadline: March 31, 2024

  • Standard Application Deadline: May 26, 2024

  • Application Deadlines: Close at 11:59 PM, ET

Second Test Window: December 1, 2024 - February 15, 2025

  • Application Period Start: June 4, 2024

  • Early-Bird Application Deadline: September 11, 2024

  • Standard Application Deadline: November 9, 2024

  • Application Deadlines: Close at 11:59 PM, ET

Note: Applicants must apply during the application period that aligns with their desired testing window and ensure that applications are received by the standard deadline for each window.

Exam Cost for SHRM-CP:

Early-Bird Exam Fee:

  • SHRM Member Price: $335

  • Nonmember Price: $435

Standard Exam Fee:

  • SHRM Member Price: $410

  • Nonmember Price: $510

Student Exam Fee:

  • SHRM Member Price: $149

  • Nonmember Price: $209

Student Eligibility Requirements: Specific criteria must be met for eligibility (not detailed here).

Corporate Exam Fee:

  • SHRM Member Price: $270

  • Nonmember Price: $270

Team Certification Requirements: Specific criteria must be met for corporate teams (not detailed here).

Military Exam Fee:

  • SHRM Member Price: $270

  • Nonmember Price: $270

Military Eligibility Requirements: Specific criteria must be met for eligibility (not detailed here).

Transfer Exam Fee:

  • SHRM Member Price: $100

  • Nonmember Price: $100

Additional Fee: Subject to an additional $53 appointment cancellation fee when applicable.

Reset Fee:

  • SHRM Member Price: $80

  • Nonmember Price: $80

Retest Exam Fee:

  • SHRM Member Price: Full exam fee

  • Nonmember Price: Full exam fee

Results Review Fee:

  • SHRM Member Price: $50

  • Nonmember Price: $50


The fees listed above are applicable depending on the membership status of the applicant.

Students, corporate teams, and military personnel have specific eligibility requirements for their respective fees.

SHRM-CP Exam Format & Length:

  • The exam duration is four hours, which includes 3 hours and 40 minutes dedicated to answering questions.

  • It consists of 134 questions, divided into 80 knowledge-based questions and 54 situational judgment questions, with 24 of these being field-test items.

  • The exam is administered via computer-based testing.

  • Candidates have the option to take the SHRM-CP exam either at an authorized testing center in person or remotely from home through live proctoring.

How to Prepare for the SHRM-CP Certification Exam?

1. Discover the SHRM-CP Question Types:

The SHRM-CP exam consists of two types of questions: knowledge-based questions and situational judgment items. Familiarizing yourself with the format helps reduce anxiety and allows you to manage your time effectively during the test.

Practice with sample questions and mock exams to get a feel for the question types and the exam’s pacing.

2. Review the SHRM Body of Competency & Knowledge:

The SHRM BoCK outlines the critical areas of HR knowledge and competencies that the exam covers. Study each section thoroughly, focusing on areas where you feel less confident.

The BoCK is your roadmap to what will be tested, so understanding it well is crucial for your preparation.

3. Cover All Necessary Study Materials:

A structured study plan keeps you organized and ensures you cover all necessary material before the exam date. Break down the content into manageable sections and set specific goals for each study session.

Allocate more time to challenging topics and ensure you review each area multiple times.

4. Use SHRM Learning System Resources:

The SHRM Learning System offers comprehensive study materials, including textbooks, online resources, and practice tests. These resources are specifically designed to help you understand and retain the information needed for the exam.

Utilize these tools to enhance your study sessions and track your progress.

5. Get the Needed SHRM-CP Exam Support:

Study groups provide support, motivation, and different perspectives on the material. Discussing topics with peers can deepen your understanding and help clarify difficult concepts.

Additionally, study groups can provide accountability, making it easier to stay on track with your study plan.

6. Track Your Progress with the SHRM-CP Practice Test:

Regularly taking practice exams helps you assess your knowledge and identify areas that need improvement.

Practice exams simulate the test environment, helping you build confidence and improve your test-taking skills. Review your results to focus on weak areas and track your progress over time.

7. Focus on Key HR Competencies:

The SHRM-CP exam tests your knowledge of HR competencies, including leadership, ethical practice, and relationship management. Prioritize these areas in your studies, as they form a significant part of the exam.

Understanding how to apply these competencies in real-world scenarios is crucial for success.

8. Attend SHRM Certification Prep Courses:

SHRM offers certification prep courses that provide structured learning and expert instruction. These courses cover all exam topics in detail and offer interactive learning opportunities.

Attending a prep course can enhance your understanding of complex concepts and provide valuable test-taking strategies.

9. Balance Your Study & Work Life:

Effective time management is essential for exam preparation. Balance your study time with work and personal commitments to avoid burnout. During the exam, manage your time wisely by allocating time for each question and moving on if you get stuck.

Practicing time management techniques during your study sessions can help you perform better on the actual exam.

10. Stay Healthy and Relaxed:

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital for optimal brain function and stress management. Ensure you get adequate sleep, eat nutritious meals, and exercise regularly.

Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to keep anxiety at bay. A healthy body and mind will help you stay focused and perform better on exam day.

Concluding Thoughts:

Passing the SHRM-CP certification exam is a significant milestone in your HR career. By familiarizing yourself with the exam format, thoroughly reviewing the SHRM BoCK, creating a structured study plan, and utilizing available resources, you can enhance your preparation and confidence.

Engaging in study groups, taking practice exams, and prioritizing key HR competencies will further solidify your knowledge and skills. Stay focused, remain dedicated, and believe in your ability to succeed. With the right strategies and mindset, you can achieve your goal of becoming a SHRM-certified professional and take your HR career to the next level.

FAQs for SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

1. What is the SHRM-CP certification?

  • The SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) credential is designed for HR professionals working in operational roles or those pursuing a career in Human Resource Management.

2. Who is eligible for the SHRM-CP exam?

  • Eligibility criteria include working in an HR role with operational duties or pursuing a career in HR. Specific eligibility requirements can be found on the SHRM website.

3. What topics are covered in the SHRM-CP exam?

  • The exam covers behavioral competency clusters and HR knowledge domains, including leadership, organization, people, business, interpersonal etc.

4. How is the SHRM-CP exam structured?

  • The exam consists of 134 questions, including knowledge-based and situational-judgment items. It also includes 24 field-test items.

5. How long is the SHRM-CP exam?

  • The exam is four hours long, including 3 hours and 40 minutes of testing time.

6. What is the format of the SHRM-CP exam?

  • The exam is computer-based and can be taken at an authorized testing center or from home via live remote proctoring.

7. How much does it cost to take the SHRM-CP exam?

  • The application fee for SHRM members is $410, and for non-members, it is $510.

8. How can I prepare for the SHRM-CP exam?

  • Preparation options include the SHRM Learning System, SHRM Certification Handbook, and online practice exams available on

9. What are the benefits of using the practice exams on

  • The site offers 960+ practical and real-time case study-based questions, unlimited access for two months, and a personalized result book to track progress.
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