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Information below has been taken from the American Payroll Association (APA) website. Click on the FPC or CPP logos to learn more about the certification tests on the APA website. 


The Fundamental Payroll Certification is open to all those who wish to demonstrate a baseline of payroll competency. The FPC is designed for:

  • Entry-level payroll professionals
  • Sales professionals/consultants serving the payroll industry
  • Systems analysts/engineers supporting payroll systems
  • Payroll service provider client representatives

You do not have to be an APA member to register for or take the FPC examination. As a first step, all candidates must download the FPC Candidate Handbook.



The Certification Board of the APA requires that payroll professionals fulfill ONE of the following criteria before they are eligible to take the Certified Payroll Professional Examination.

CRITERIA 1:
The payroll professional has been practicing for at least a total of three (3) years out of the five (5) years preceding the date of the examination application. The practice of payroll is defined as direct or related involvement in at least one of the following:

  • Payroll Production, Payroll Reporting, Payroll Accounting, Payroll Systems, and Payroll Taxation
  • Payroll Administration
  • Payroll Education/Consulting

CRITERIA 2:
Before a candidate takes the CPP examination, the payroll professional has been employed in the practice of payroll as defined in Criteria 1 for at least the last 24 months, and has completed within the last 24 months, ALL of the courses within ONE of the following three options offered by the APA:

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

*Delivered exclusively by the APA.

CRITERIA 3:
Before a candidate takes the CPP examination, the payroll professional has been employed in the practice of payroll as defined in Criteria 1, for at least the last 18 months, has obtained the FPC designation, and has completed within the last 18 months, ALL of the courses within AT LEAST ONE of the following three options offered by the APA:

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

*Delivered exclusively by the APA.

You do not have to be an APA member to apply for or take this exam. As a first step, all candidates must download the CPP Candidate Handbook.



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