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What is a CPP

To become a Certified Payroll Professional you must pass the Payroll Org’s certification exam (formerly the American Payroll Association).

To be eligible for the exam you must meet criteria that The Certification Board of the PayrollOrg establishes. If you have been practicing payroll in three out of the five preceding years you qualify to take the exam. However, if you’ve only been practicing payroll for the last 24 months, to sit for the exam PAYO requires you take certain courses they offer. If you’ve been working in payroll for just the last 18 months you need to obtain your Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) designation as well as take certain courses the PayrollOrg offers.

Certified Payroll Professional Exam

You have 4 hours to complete the 190 question exam. The PayrollOrg website has a complete list of the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) you need to pass the test.

Certified Payroll Professional Cost

In addition to paying a fee to take the certified payroll professional exam you should expect to incur costs to study for the exam. Naturally, I’m partial to The Practical CPP Study Guide and Practical CPP Online Study tools. My products will help you pass the exam without breaking the bank. PAYO sells books and courses with prices ranging from several hundred to over a thousand dollars.


The CPP designation is valid for five full calendar years. To re-certify without retaking the exam you must complete 120 hours of certified payroll professional continuing education. You must pay a fee for recertification.

Download the CPP handbook from the PayrollOrg website for complete details.