Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must meet specific educational and work experience criteria at the time they submit their application in order to be eligible to sit for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP exam. These requirements are outlined below:

SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP EligiBility Chart

Credential Less than a Bachelor's Degree* Bachelor's Degree Graduate Degree
HR-Related Program Non-HR Program HR-Related Degree Non-HR Degree HR-Related Degree Non-HR Degree
SHRM-CP 3 years in HR role 4 years in HR role 1 year in HR
2 years in HR role Currently in HR role 1 year in HR role
SHRM-SCP 6 years in HR role 7 years in HR role 4 years in HR role 5 years in HR role 3 years in HR
4 years in HR role
*Less than a bachelor’s degree includes: working toward a bachelor’s degree; associate’s degree; some college; qualifying HR certificate program; high school diploma; or GED.

The following general eligibility criteria, listed below, also apply:
  • HR-related experience relates to work in any of the 15 Functional Areas identified in the SHRM BoCK.
  • Applicants are not required to hold an HR title. The critical factor in determining eligibility is your HR-related work as opposed to your job title.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they devoted at least 1,000 hours to HR-related activities in any calendar year to qualify as having a year of HR-related experience.
  • Part-time work qualifies as long as the 1,000-hour standard is met within a calendar year.
  • Individuals who have mixed roles—for example, office managers that have both administrative and HR responsibilities—may also have qualifying experience, as long as HR-related duties total at least 1,000 hours in a calendar year. Supervising employees in and of itself is not considered qualifying HR-related experience.
  • Experience may be either exempt or nonexempt.
  • SHRM membership is not required.

What Degrees Qualify as HR-Related?

GRADUATE (or global equivalent^):
HR-related degrees may include but are not limited to the following: MA in Human Resource Management, MS in Human Resources (HR), MA or MS in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, MA in Management (MAM) with HR concentration, MBA with concentration in HRM, Organizational Leadership or Leadership Development with HR concentration, Human Capital Development, Organizational Behavior, Labor Relations, or Industrial Relations.

BACHELOR’S (or global equivalent^): HR-related degrees may include but are not limited to the following: BA or BS in HRM, BA or BS in Management with a concentration in HR, BA or BS in Business Administration with a concentration in HRM, Bachelor of Business Administration with emphasis in HR, Organizational Behavior, Industrial Relations, Organizational Development, Management and Leadership.


  • ASSOCIATE’S: Applicants with less than a bachelor’s degree may have HR-related associate’s degree that may include, but are not limited to the following: Associate—HR Specialist; Associate—Business: HR Management; Associate—HR Administration.

  • CERTIFICATE PROGRAM:Applicants with less than a bachelor’s degree may complete an HR Certificate Program from an accredited institution consisting of eight courses that cover the fundamentals in HR (i.e., Principles of HRM; Compensation & Benefits; Organizational Development; Recruitment & Selection; Employment Law; Training & Development; Employee Relations; Performance Management). A qualifying certificate program typically lasts 18 months.

OUTSIDE THE U.S.: HR-related bachelor's programs may include but are not limited to the following: BBA with emphasis in HRM; Bachelor of Commerce with concentration in Managing People and Organizations; Bachelor of Business in Pedagogy with a concentration in HR. HR-related master's programs may include the following: MA in International HRM; Professional Post-Graduate Diploma in HRM; Executive Master in HRM.

^ For information on global equivalence evaluation services in support of the degree requirements shown, visit:
»» National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)
»» Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE)
»» American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO)
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