Follow these steps to guide you in earning your FPC or CPP Certification

1 – Determine Your Exam Eligibility

Visit the Establishing Eligibility sections for the FPC and CPP certifications to determine which certification is right for you and whether you meet all education and experience requirements.

2 – Download the Candidate Handbook

The FPC Candidate Handbook and the CPP Candidate Handbook provide answers to all of your questions about eligibility, application process, fees, the exam, and recertification.

3 – Submit Your Exam Application and Payment

Complete the FPC Application for Certification by Examination  or CPP Application for Certification by Examination found in the handbook and send to apaexam@americanpayroll.org for approval. The exam fee must be submitted at the time of application through APA’s online store.

4 – Make Your Exam Reservation upon approval

Once your application is approved by the APA, you can make your exam reservation at a Pearson VUE test center near you, by logging into your APA Certification Dashboard.

Have the following on hand when you make your reservation:

  • Your email application approval and payment confirmation from the APA
  • Your full name as listed on your primary ID, street address, email address, and telephone number
  • Exam Series name (refer to the FPC or CPP Candidate Handbook)
  • Preferred testing location
  • Preferred exam date

5 – Prepare for the Exam*

APA’s PayTrain® programs offer several options to help you prepare for your exam. Choose from three flexible course options that all come complete with reading materials, access to interactive exercises, quizzes, flashcards, practice exam, and more! For more exam preparation options, visit the Learning Paths page on APA’s website and build a plan that is right for you.

*Note: For the FPC, successful candidates have indicated that they engaged in a minimum of 6-12 weeks of preparation before taking the exam. For the CPP, successful candidates indicate that they pursued at least a three-month course of study.

6 – Take and Pass Your Exam

See the FPC Candidate Handbook or CPP Candidate Handbook for exam day tips. Once you finish your exam, you will receive a score report that informs you of whether you passed. When you pass, you will be sent an email within a week with instructions on how to order your complimentary certificate and lapel pin.

7 – Maintain Your Certification (Recertification)

Recertification is required after 3 years for the FPC and 5 years for the CPP. Recertification may be achieved through accumulating recertification credit hours (RCHs) or by successfully retesting. For FPC, 60 RCHs are required. The CPP requires 120 RCHs.

For more details on how to earn your FPC or CPP designation, visit the Certification section on APA’s website.