Certified Payroll Professional | Meaning and Definition

What is a certified payroll professional? 

A Certified Payroll Professional or CPP certification is an individual who has completed advanced coursework in payroll processing, software, and legislation. This designation demonstrates a keen understanding of payroll best practices and laws. CPP certification professionals are sought-after experts in the field, often consulted for their industry insight and legislative expertise. 

Is CPP certification difficult? 

The CPP certification exam is difficult. The passing score of the CPP exam is 300. 80% of the test takers will fail the CPP exam if they don’t study or take a review course. The CPP exam covers a lot of material, and most people underestimate how difficult it is. The better prepared you are, the more likely you will pass the CPP exam. 

Steps to get a CPP Certification 

CPP certification is a great way to show that you’re serious about your career in payroll. But before you can even sit for the exam, you need to make sure that you’re eligible. The criteria are fairly straightforward: 

  • You must have been employed in payroll for at least 3 out of 5 years before the date of the exam application,


  • They have been working in payroll for at least 24 months and have completed various APA-approved courses.


  • They’ve been in the payroll sector for at least 18 months and have finished APA-approved courses. 

If you meet either of these criteria, you should have no problem applying for and taking the CPP exam. Before registering for the CPP exam, your staff must satisfy APA’s requirements. They must complete an application, obtain approval from the APA’s certification department, and pay the examination fee before enrolling in the CPP exam. The APA usually takes 10 to 15 days to evaluate applications once submitted.

Get 20% off
HR & Payroll Software