Exam & Eligibility

What is accreditation, and why is it important?

The Department of Education defines the goal of accreditation as “to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.” In terms of testing programs, such as the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), accreditation involves a third-party review of exams, policies and procedures to ensure that organizations maintain a standard of quality as determined by the testing industry.

Achieving accreditation was important to SHRM because it provides SHRM-certified professionals and their employers with the assurance that SHRM’s credentials meet the high standards expected and needed to advance the HR profession.

Who awarded SHRM accreditation, and what did the process entail?

The Buros Center for Testing, the premier test review center located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, accredited SHRM’s certification exams (the SHRM-CP and the SHRM-SCP). The Buros Center for Testing is an independent nonprofit that has accredited and reviewed other well-known tests, including major state educational achievement exams; admissions tests for law school and graduate school; and licensure exams for physical therapists, clinicians and technicians.

The Buros Center for Testing measures testing programs against the Buros Institute for Assessment Consultation and Outreach (BIACO) Standards for Proprietary Testing. This review includes examining the psychometric properties of the test, reliability, decision consistency, equated passing score as well as item analyses and other analyses. SHRM submitted a 1,900-page application, which documented its testing practices, methodology and policy, for a thorough review by The Buros Center for Testing. The review process took six months to complete and included site visits of both SHRM’s offices and those of its testing vendors.

Why did SHRM seek accreditation from Buros?

The Buros Center for Testing was established in 1935 and is a nationally recognized accrediting organization. The Buros Center for Testing functions as the world’s premier test review center, having published more than 7,500 tests (or revisions of test) since its founding.

The Buros Center for Testing measures testing programs against the Buros Institute for Assessment Consultation and Outreach (BIACO) Standards for Proprietary Testing, which consists of the American Psychology Association (APA), American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) standards for educational and psychological testing, recognized by US federal agencies and courts as the most-comprehensive standards for ensuring fairness in testing. This review includes examining the psychometric properties of the test, reliability, decision consistency, equated passing score as well as item analyses and other analyses. Consequently, testing programs accredited by The Buros Center for Testing display high standards of psychometric quality as articulated in the professional standards and the expectations of the testing community.

Additionally, Buros has accredited and reviewed other well-known tests, including major state educational achievement exams; admissions tests for law school and graduate school; and licensure exams for physical therapists, clinicians and technicians.

What does this mean for SHRM-certified professionals?

Since the launch of the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP program, SHRM has worked towards evolving its credentials and maintaining recognition as the global standard in HR certification. Achieving accreditation demonstrates to HR professionals and their employers that SHRM’s credentials meet the highest standards in testing.

SHRM was awarded accreditation by The Buros Center for Testing. Located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The Buros Center is the premier test review center and has accredited or reviewed other well-known tests, including major state educational achievement exams; admissions tests for medical school, law school and graduate school; and licensure exams for physical therapists, clinicians and educators.

To learn more about The Buros Center for Testing visit buros.org.

How do I determine if I am eligible for the exam?

View the eligibility requirements. If after reading through our eligibility section you have further questions, please contact us.

Do I need to become eligible by the time I take the exam or do I need to be eligible when I apply?

Eligibility requirements to sit for either of the SHRM exams must be met at the time you apply for the exam.

How do I apply for the exam?

You may apply for the exams when the application period is open. Create your certification profile or login if you already have a profile. Once you are logged in, select the option to apply for the SHRM-CP or the SHRM-SCP exam. The system will walk you through the application process and then give you the option to pay.

When applying, I received a message stating that I am not eligible for the exam, but I feel as if I am.  How can I proceed?

View the eligibility requirements to ensure you do meet the requirements. If you know you are typing in valid eligibility data and you are still getting the error, please try the following: 

  • Logout of your certification profile. 
  • Clear your cookies and temporary internet files in your web browser. 
  • Log back in to your certification profile. 
  • Try the application again.

If the error message persists, you will need to contact us for further assistance.

How do I schedule my exam appointment?

The SHRM exams are administered via computer-based testing by SHRM’s test delivery vendor, Prometric, at one of their testing centers. Once your application is complete, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter via e-mail. This letter has the contact information for Prometric and your Eligibility ID that you will need when you contact Prometric to schedule your exam appointment. 

I never received my Authorization to Test Letter.  How do I receive it?

In order to receive the letter, the following must be complete:

  • Complete an exam application
  • Pay all exam fees
  • If audited, complete and pass the audit verification process
  • If you answered yes to having a felony conviction, you must have submitted all requested documentation and it must be reviewed and approved by the SHRM Certification Department
  • If you answered yes to needing special testing accommodations, you must have submitted the Special Testing Accommodations Form and it must be reviewed and approved by the SHRM Certification Department

If you feel as if all of this has been completed and you still have not received your letter, please contact us.

I have my SHRM-CP and now I want to sit for the SHRM-SCP exam. How do I apply?

If you are currently eligible to sit for the SHRM-SCP exam, please e-mail certification@shrm.org for assistance. The SHRM Certification Department will be able provide you with a specific link to be able to apply for another exam.

Can I take both exams in the same testing window?

Yes, you may take both exams within the same testing window as long as you are eligible for and pay for both exams. In order to apply, complete your first exam application online through the certification portal. To apply for the second exam, please contact us at certification@shrm.org for assistance.  Please be aware that should you pass the SHRM-SCP and decide not to take the SHRM-CP exam you will be bound by the cancellation/refund policy outlined in the Certification Handbook.

How do I change my exam appointment?

Exam appointments may be changed as long as you are keeping your appointment within the same exam window and do so five or more business days before your scheduled exam appointment. 

  • If you are changing exam appointments 30 or more business days before your scheduled exam date, you may switch free of charge. 
  • If you are between five and 29 business days, before your scheduled exam date, you may reschedule your exam appointment, but there will be a $50 fee due to Prometric. 
  • If you are less than five business days before your scheduled exam date, you may not reschedule, and will forfeit your fees.

All exam appointment changes must be done directly through Prometric:

  • Within the U.S.:  prometric.com/shrm or 888.736.0134
  • Outside the U.S.: prometric.com/shrm or call the local Prometric Regional Contact Center found in Appendix C in the Certification Handbook
  • If you requested special testing accommodations:  800.967.1139

Can I change my exam level?

A candidate may request an exam level change once during an exam window.

If an exam appointment has already been scheduled, it must first be canceled with Prometric. Once the exam appointment has been canceled, an exam level change request must be submitted at least 10 business days before the scheduled exam date. Because an exam level change cancels the originally scheduled exam appointment, a candidate is required to schedule a new exam appointment. If the exam window has already opened, the same time and location for the new exam appointment is not guaranteed.

To request an exam level change, e-mail certification@shrm.org, specifying which exam you wish to take. Candidates requesting to change from SHRM-CP to SHRM-SCP must provide applicable work experience to ensure the eligibility requirements for the SHRM-SCP are met. If those requirements are met, SHRM will verify the exam level change request with a new ATT letter.

How long are the exams? How many questions?

Both exams will contain Knowledge- and Competency-based questions:

  • Candidates for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams will have 4 hours to answer a total of 160 questions, of which approximately 95 are stand-alone knowledge items and 65 will be situational judgment items.

Breakdown of Testing-Time:

Confidentiality Agreement: 2 minutes

Introduction and Tutorial: 8 minutes

Exam: 4 hours (240 minutes)

Survey: 5 minutes

Each section shows a countdown timer on the screen, and each section is separate and time-independent. Minutes do not roll over. For instance, if a candidate spends less time in the introduction, extra minutes are not rolled over to the exam portion.

I heard if I pass the Assurance of Learning Assessment, I will not have to take the SHRM-CP exam. Is this correct?

No, this is not correct. Candidates who pass the Assurance of Learning assessment receive a Certificate of Learning, not a certification. The Assurance of Learning exam is intended for traditional or non-traditional students who have little or no experience in HR and therefore, would not meet the eligibility criteria to take the SHRM-CP exam. Candidates would need to wait until they meet the eligibility criteria to be able to take the SHRM-CP exam.