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SHRM Exam & SHRM Certification Info

What is SHRM: SHRM Exam & SHRM Certification Info

Are you interested in leveling up in your HR career with a SHRM certification? Have you heard of SHRM, but always wanted to ask, “What is SHRM?” or “What is SHRM certification?” Read on to learn more and discover if certification is right for you.

What is the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Society for Human Resource Management or SHRM, is the largest professional society for Human Resources management in the world, with over 300,000 members in more than 165 countries. SHRM is dedicated to the certification and ongoing training of Human Resource (HR) workers, and promotes HR as a profession by providing education, certification, and networking opportunities to its members.

What are SHRM Exams?

The SHRM exams help qualify new Human Resource professionals for long, successful careers. Candidates who pass the exam earn certification from SHRM – which is reported by HR hiring managers as the preferred credential for job applicants. SHRM-certified HR professionals are recognized as experts and leaders in their field and report earning 14-15% higher salaries than their non-certified peers.

SHRM tests are recommended for anyone hoping to prove their HR expertise and advance in this exciting field. A passing score and subsequent certification can lead to promotions, better pay, and new opportunities. SHRM certification is not strictly required for many entry-level Human Resource jobs, but getting certified can help you move up. For instance, the SHRM Certified Professional (CP) credential can help grab employers' attention and ensure your application is taken seriously. If you are already working in HR, a passing score on a SHRM exam can mean new opportunities for advancement. The benefits are obvious!

SHRM Exam Overview

The SHRM offers two certification exams: the SHRM-CP (Certified Professional) and SHRM-SCP (Senior Certified Professional). Both exams have the same overall structure:

  • Number of questions: 134 Multiple Choice
  • Test length: 3 hours and 40 minutes (220 minutes), broken into two 110-minute sections

Here is a general content breakdown for both SHRM CP and SCP exams:

HR Knowledge Domains
Behavioral Competency

The exams feature three types of test questions:

  • Knowledge items, which evaluate candidates’ knowledge of the 14 HR functional areas and 8 behavioral competencies.
  • Situational judgment items, which assess candidates’ judgment and decision-making skills.
  • Field-test questions, which are not scored and are used only to gather data on the questions’ effectiveness.

How Does SHRM Scoring Work?

Both SHRM certification tests feature 134 questions, including 24 unscored field-test questions. To pass, you will need to earn a passing score of 200 points or more. After you complete the test, you will have a raw score based on how many questions you answered correctly. The raw score is then used to calculate a scaled score between 120 and 200 points.

While 200 is the maximum possible score and the score required to pass, it is not necessarily a perfect score. Instead, it represents the level of competency required for SHRM certification. Without getting into specifics, delving into the details of how scaled scores are processed gets complicated fast. However, regardless of which SHRM certification exam you choose to take, as long as you undergo extensive exam prep, you are very likely to earn a passing score.

Which SHRM Exam Should I Take: SHRM CP vs. SCP

What is the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) Exam?

The SHRM CP exam was developed to gauge the knowledge and abilities of professionals with at least a year of Human Resources experience. It is a great entry-level certification for those just beginning their career in HR.

Your eligibility to take the SHRM CP will depend largely on your educational background. Those with a graduate degree can take this SHRM exam if they have one or more years of experience. Those with an undergraduate degree can take it with one to two years of professional experience. If you do not have a degree, you can become eligible for the SHRM CP after three years of Human Resource experience.

The SHRM CP test consists of 134 multiple-choice questions. To pass the SHRM CP exam, you will need to earn a score of 200 points or more. Guessing is not penalized.

What is the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) Exam?

The SHRM Senior Certified Professional exam – also known as the SHRM-SCP exam – was developed to measure the knowledge and abilities of more experienced Human Resources professionals. You must have at least six years of work experience in Human Resources if you hope to take the test without a degree. With an undergraduate degree, you can become eligible for the SHRM SCP after four years in Human Resources. If you have a master’s degree, you can take the SHRM SCP after three years of Human Resources experience.

Earn a passing score and you will be granted certification that is sure to impress employers!

How Do I Take a SHRM Exam?

4 Essential Steps to Prepare for your SHRM Exam

Step 1: Determine Eligibility and Apply

Before applying for the exam, check your eligibility. SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP have different eligibility requirements based on your level of HR experience, degree, and global equivalents. Be sure to review the SHRM certification requirements and eligibility criteria before applying!

After confirming your eligibility, you can apply for the SHRM exam of your choice. You will be asked to create a username and password to do so. The application includes personal information, education, and HR-related work experience. Once you have logged into your SHRM certification portal, you can access upcoming test dates and register for an exam that fits your schedule.

If you are already a member of SHRM, you can sign up to take either the SHRM CP or the SHRM SCP certification test for $410. This includes a $50 registration fee. The SHRM certification cost for non-members is $510. If you fail to earn a passing score on your first attempt, you will need to pay the full fee again to retake it.

While SHRM exam pass rates are generally favorable, it is important not to waste time or money! SHRM CP and SHRM SCP practice tests from Exam Edge can help you ensure a passing score on your first attempt.

Step 2: Schedule the Exam

After your application is approved, you will receive an authorization to test via email. You can then schedule your exam through the testing partner, Prometric. SHRM exams are offered in two testing windows per year: one in the spring and one in the fall. You can choose a date, time, and location that suits your schedule. Tests must be taken during the testing window that you applied for.

The SHRM certification exams can be taken at any Prometric testing center worldwide. You can also take the SHRM test from home through SHRM's new remote testing option. Visit the SHRM website for more information on registration and scheduling, as well as to learn about the specific SHRM testing window that works best for you.

Step 3: Take the Exam

On the day of your SHRM exam, make sure to arrive at your testing location early. Bring your ID and your Authorization to Test email. Be prepared for the testing center to have a significant amount of security. You may be asked to go through a metal detector, and you will need to leave all your personal belongings in a locker except your ID and locker key.

If you find that you cannot make it to the testing center on your original test date, you can reschedule the exam. Make sure you reschedule your exam at least 30 days before your original test date to avoid having to pay a rescheduling fee.

In cases of severe inclement weather, Prometric may cancel the exam for safety reasons. However, in cases of severe weather cancellations, you will not be charged a rescheduling fee, and Prometric will reschedule you for a different exam date as soon as possible.

Step 4: Earn your SHRM Credential!

After the exam, your preliminary results will be given to you immediately. You will receive your official SHRM exam scores about 3-4 weeks after the testing window closes.

If you pass, you will receive your SHRM certification as a digital certificate of achievement with your score report. You can then start identifying yourself as SHRM-certified!

How Do I Register for a SHRM Exam?

To register for a SHRM exam, you will need to first create a login on the official SHRM website. After signing up with a username and password, you can access possible test dates and register for the exam of your choice.

Once you have decided on a username and password and completed your account set-up, you can see upcoming testing opportunities and sign up for your preferred exam date. You will receive confirmation of your choice via email, so be sure to look out for correspondence in your inbox after signing up.

The standard exam fee for both the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams is $410 for SHRM members, and $510 for non-members.

PHR vs SHRM: What is the Difference?

The PHR certification (Professional in Human Resources) is a professional credential provided by the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). Both PHR and SHRM certifications are valuable credentials in the field, and each requires you to pass an exam.

Compared to the SHRM exam, however, the PHR exam is more expensive and involves answering more questions in less time:

  • Business Management
  • Talent Planning & Acquisitio
  • Learning & Development
  • Total Rewards
  • Employee & Labor Relations
  • HR Knowledge
    • People
    • Organization
    • Workplace
  • Behavioral Competency
    • Business
    • Interpersonal
    • Leadership
175 questions, mostly multiple choice
134 multiple choice questions
Time Limit
3 hours
4 hours
$395 + $100 application fee
  • SHRM members: $410
  • Non-members: $510

SHRM Test Prep Tips

SHRM HR certification is a feather in the cap of any ambitious Human Resource professional. Given how much is riding on the outcome of these tests, examinees owe it to themselves to prepare as thoroughly as possible. Exam Edge’s SHRM SCP and SHRM CP practice tests can help you gauge your knowledge and give you unique insight into how you would fare if you were to take the test today. Here are a few ways that practice tests can bolster your SHRM test-prep efforts:

Shrm exam prep tracking

1. Gauge your initial ability with a practice test. Before you embark on any studying, take a practice test to get a picture of your existing knowledge and skills. Your results will serve as a benchmark against which you can compare future practice test scores.

Shrm certification planning

2. Design your study plan. Detailed score reports of the initial practice test will show which content areas you have mastered and which merit further study. Use these insights to develop a thorough SHRM exam study plan that is tailored precisely to your weak areas and helps you get the most out of your practice SHRM exams.

Shrm certification study content

3. Study the relevant content. With your study plan as your guide, it is time to hit the books! Traditional study methods like outlining, note-taking, and flashcards can help you retain information. You can also try reading your notes aloud, explaining concepts to a friend, or creating mind maps to refresh your study routine.

Shrm certification progress tracking

4. Track your progress with additional practice tests. You will see how you are developing your skills and content knowledge, and which material deserves more of your attention. A final practice test shortly ahead of your exam date can boost your confidence and give you a real psychological advantage when walking into the testing center, to say nothing of actually improving your SHRM exam results.

A free sample test is a great way to preview our resources and see for yourself just how effective our tools can be. Put your best foot forward with a SHRM practice test today!

Prepare Now with SHRM Practice Tests from Exam Edge

Ready to begin your journey to SHRM certification? Start with our SHRM practice tests!

SHRM - Society for Human Resource Management Exams

SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

The SHRM CP exam was developed to gauge the knowledge and abilities of professionals with at least a year of Human Resources experience. It’s a great entry-level certification for those just beginning their career in HR. The test consists of 160 multiple choice questions. To pass this SHRM exam, you’ll need to earn a score of 200 points or more. Only 130 questions count towards your overall score, and guessing isn’t penalized.

134 - Multiple Choice
Organization - 18%
People - 18%
Leadership - 17%
Business - 16.5%
Interpersonal - 16.5%
Workplace - 14%

220 Minutes
SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)

The SHRM Senior Certified Professional exam – also known as the SHRM-SCP – was developed to measure the knowledge and abilities of more experienced Human Resources professionals. If you have at least two years of HR experience, you likely qualify for this challenging exam. Earn a passing score and you’ll be granted certification that is sure to impress employers.

134 - Multiple Choice
Organization - 18%
People - 18%
Leadership - 17%
Business - 16.5%
Interpersonal - 16.5%
Workplace - 14%

220 Minutes