APA offers two levels of certification — the Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) and the Certified Payroll Professional (CPP).

It is advised that you download the FPC or CPP handbook and review the complete details before taking the exam. Visit the Certification section on APA’s website for more information.

Education and Experience Prerequisites

To apply for the FPC or CPP, you must meet all education and experience prerequisites outlined below:

Fundamental Payroll Certification
(FPC)

  • The FPC exam is designed specifically for fundamental–level payroll practitioners, sales professionals, consultants, and others who support the payroll industry.
  • No eligibility requirements. Visit here for more information on the FPC exam.

Certified Payroll Professional
(CPP)

  • The CPP exam is designed for experienced payroll professionals, managers, and supervisors. It places emphasis on higher-level skills, including management and payroll systems.
  • Must meet experience and education requirements. Visit here for CPP eligibility criteria.

Scheduling Your Exam

CPP and FPC exam testing windows are held twice a year, during March-April and September-October, in more than 400 locations in North America. CPP and FPC exams are also available year-round to those who participate in Payroll 101 and Payroll 201 at APA’s Payroll Learning Centers, and to international and military candidates based outside North America.

FPC exam dates

CPP exam dates

For more details on how to apply for your exam, visit the Certification section on the main APA website.

About the Exams

FPC CPP Both
  • 150 test questions
  • 3 hours to complete
  • Basic/Introductory
  • Textbook Knowledge
  • No eligibility requirements to test
  • 3-Year period to recertify
  • 190 test questions
  • 4 hours to complete
  • Mastery/Complex
  • Textbook knowledge and experience
  • Must meet eligibility criteria to test
  • 5-Year period to recertify
  • Must submit exam application and payment
  • Multiple Choice questions
  • Include calculations, supplement tables
  • Computer-based
  • Secure Pearson VUE Test Center

For the full exam content outline, policies and procedures, refer to the FPC or CPP Candidate Handbook.