Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must meet specific educational and work experience criteria at the time they submit their application in order to be eligible to sit for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP exam. These requirements are outlined below:

SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP EligiBility Chart

CredentialLess than a Bachelor's Degree*Bachelor's DegreeGraduate Degree
HR-Related Program
Non-HR ProgramHR-Related DegreeNon-HR DegreeHR-Related DegreeNon-HR Degree
SHRM-CP**3 years in HR role4 years in HR role1 year in HR
2 years in HR roleCurrently in HR role1 year in HR role
SHRM-SCP6 years in HR role7 years in HR role4 years in HR role
5 years in HR role3 years in HR
4 years in HR role
*Less than a bachelor’s degree includes: working toward a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, some college, qualifying HR certificate program, high school diploma, or GED.

The following general eligibility criteria, listed below, also apply:
  • HR-related experience relates to work in any of the 15 functional areas of HR knowledge which comprise the technical competency HR Expertise, identified in the SHRM BoCK.
  • Applicants are not required to hold an HR title. The critical factor in determining eligibility is your HR-related work as opposed to your job title.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they devoted at least 1,000 hours to HR-related activities in any calendar year to qualify as having a year of HR-related experience. More than 1,000 hours in a calendar year does not equate to more than 1 year of experience.
  • Part-time work qualifies as long as the 1,000-hour standard is met within a calendar year.
  • Individuals who have mixed roles—for example, office managers who have both administrative and HR responsibilities—may also have qualifying experience, as long as HR-related duties total at least 1,000 hours in a calendar year. Supervising employees in and of itself is not considered qualifying HR-related experience.
  • Experience may be either exempt or nonexempt.
  • Individuals who are HR consultants may demonstrate qualifying experience through the HR-related duties they perform for their clients. Contracted hours must total at least 1,000 hours in a calendar year.
  • SHRM membership is not required.

Students who are enrolled in their final year of an undergraduate or graduate degree program at a college or university that has been approved by SHRM’s Academic Initiatives staff as being aligned to SHRM’s curriculum guidelines are eligible to sit for the SHRM-CP exam. Students must also have accumulated at least 500 hours of an internship or practical HR experience and must be in good standing with their school. See a current listing of approved schools here.


GRADUATE (or global equivalent^): HR-related degrees may include but are not limited to the following: MA in Human Resource Management (HRM), MS in Human Resources (HR), MA or MS in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, MA in Management (MAM) with an HR concentration, MBA with a concentration in HRM, Organizational Leadership or Leadership Development with an HR concentration, Human Capital Development, Organizational Behavior, Labor Relations, Industrial Relations.

  • OUTSIDE THE U.S.: HR-related master's programs may include but are not limited to the following: MA in International HRM, Professional Post-Graduate Diploma in HRM, Executive Master in HRM.

BACHELOR'S (or global equivalent^): HR-related degrees may include but are not limited to the following: BA or BS in HRM, BA or BS in Management with a concentration in HR, BA or BS in Business Administration with a concentration in HRM, Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in HR, Organizational Behavior, Industrial Relations, Organizational Development, Management and Leadership.

  • OUTSIDE THE U.S.: HR-related bachelor's programs may include but are not limited to the following: BBA with an emphasis in HRM, Bachelor of Commerce with a concentration in Managing People and Organizations, Bachelor of Business in Pedagogy with a concentration in HR.


  • ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE: Applicants with less than a bachelor's degree may have HR-related associate's degrees that may include, but are not limited to the following: Associate—HR Specialist; Associate—Business: HR Management; Associate—HR Administration.

  • CERTIFICATE PROGRAM: Applicants with less than a bachelor's degree may complete an HR certificate program from an accredited institution consisting of six to eight courses that cover the fundamentals of HR (i.e., Principles of HRM, Compensation & Benefits, Organizational Development, Recruitment & Selection, Employment Law, Training & Development, Employee Relations, Performance Management). A qualifying certificate program typically lasts 18 months.

^ For information on global equivalence evaluation services in support of the degree requirements shown, visit:
»» National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) 
»» Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE) 
»» American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO)