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Your Guide to Becoming SHRM Certified

The SHRM Certified Professional and SHRM Senior Certified Professional certifications serve as globally recognized symbols of HR expertise, signaling to the business community that the credential-holder possesses the deep knowledge, practical skills, and strategic leadership acumen required to excel in the dynamic field of human resources. By carefully evaluating your current HR responsibilities and future career aspirations, you can make an informed decision about which SHRM certification aligns best with your professional goals.

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Choosing the Right Credential

The SHRM-CP certification is designed for HR professionals who primarily focus on operational tasks, such as:

  • implementing HR policies
  • providing HR support to employees and stakeholders
  • managing day-to-day HR functions

The SHRM-SCP certification is geared towards senior-level HR professionals who play a strategic role in:

  • shaping the organization's HR strategy
  • developing HR policies and initiatives
  • overseeing the execution of integrated HR operations
  • analyzing HR performance data
  • aligning HR strategies with overall organizational goals

SHRM Certification Requirements

SHRM-CP Eligibility Requirements

The SHRM-CP certification is designed for individuals who engage in general HR/HR-related duties, including currently enrolled students and those pursuing a career in Human Resource Management. While an HR title, degree, or prior HR experience is not mandatory for application, a basic grasp of HR practices and principles or a degree from an Academically Aligned program is highly recommended. The SHRM-CP exam assesses competency at the operational level of HR.

SHRM-SCP Eligibility Requirements

The SHRM-SCP certification is for individuals with at least three years of strategic-level HR experience or SHRM-CP holders working in or transitioning to a strategic-level role. No HR title or degree is required for the SHRM-SCP exam, which assesses competency in strategic HR work.

To qualify for the SHRM-SCP, applicants must demonstrate 1,000 hours of strategic-level HR work per calendar year. Part-time work, hourly or salaried experience, and HR consulting work all count toward this requirement.

Do you meet these requirements?

To find out, take the eligibility quiz

Start the SHRM exam process in 5 easy steps:

  1. Decide on a SHRM Certification
  2. Apply and schedule your exam
  3. Prepare for your exam
  4. Take the exam
  5. Earn your certification

What You'll Learn

The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications serve as internationally recognized symbols of HR expertise, demonstrating to the global business community that the credential-holder possesses the deep knowledge, practical skills, and strategic leadership acumen required to excel in the dynamic and multifaceted field of human resources.

Aligned with the SHRM Body of Applied Skills & Knowledge™ (SHRM BASK™), the certifications equip you with practical skills for real-world HR scenarios.


  • Leadership & Navigation
  • Ethical Practice
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Relationship Management
  • Communication
  • Global Mindset
  • Business Acumen
  • Consultation
  • Analytical Aptitude


  • HR Strategy
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Employee Engagement & Retention
  • Learning & Development
  • Total Rewards


  • Structure of the HR Function
  • Organizational Effectiveness & Development
  • Workforce Management
  • Employee & Labor Relations
  • Technology Management


  • Managing a Global Workforce
  • Risk Management
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • U.S. Employment Law & Regulations

Testing Windows

Exams are offered during two windows each year. When applying for the exam, you must apply during the application period that coincides with your testing window. Applications must be received by the standard deadline for each window.

First Test Window: May-July
Second Test Window: December-February
Are you ready to start your prep?

Maximize your chances of passing the SHRM exam from the first attempt! Select the preparation option that best fits your schedule, budget, and learning style.

Exam Essentials

Once you complete the SHRM certification application process, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter with instructions on how to schedule your exam.

The exams contain two types of multiple-choice questions: stand-alone knowledge-based items that assess a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of factual information and scenario-based situational judgment items that assess a candidate's judgment and decision-making skills broken down as follows:

Exam Structure
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    50% HR-Specific Knowledge
    Key concept topics associated with the 15 HR functional areas
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    40% Situational Judgement
    Choose the best strategy to address issues in a given work-related scenario
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    10% Leadership
    Key foundational topics related to the 8 behavioral competencies
Exam Format & Length
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    4 hours
    Including 3 hours and 40 minutes of testing time
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    134 questions
    80 knowledge items & 54 situational-judgment items, of which 24 are field-test items
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    Computer-based testing experience
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    SHRM exams are available in Arabic starting in 2023
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    3 hours and 40 minutes divided into two 110-minute sections
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    Computer-based experience
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    Testing windows
    May-July & Dec-Feb
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    134 MCQs
    80 knowledge items/54 situational judgment items
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    Available in English & Arabic