Online Certification Options for Payroll Specialists

Working in payroll requires an understanding of things like tax reporting, generating a W-2 form and accounting. Review some of the different paths to earning certification as a payroll specialist. Get info on your credential options, the requirements, training and prep classes and the testing process. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kind of Certifications for Payroll Specialists Can I Pursue?

The American Payroll Association (APA) offers two certifications for perspective payroll specialists. The first is the Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) and is primarily for people with little to no payroll experience. The second is the Certified Payroll Professional (CPP), which is for people who have at least three years work experience in payroll.

Both certifications require you to pass an examination. In order to sit for the examination, you will need to have completed some training courses. Some of these are offered through the APA, while other courses may be available through colleges and universities.

Certification and LicensureProfessionals can be certified through the American Payroll Association (APA) depending on their level of experience
Online Course DetailsStudents pursuing courses online can take a self-directed, self-paced course or elect to take a class with an online instructor. Students can also take in-person courses.
Obtaining CertificationAfter completing courses, students must take and pass the exam in person at a pre-authorized test center on one of the designated testing days.

What Kinds of Online Classes Are There?

The APA offers its own series of training classes. If you are interested in completing the courses online, you can engage in a self-directed course. The class is entirely self-paced, and you won't have an instructor to assist you. There is no time limit on how quickly you must finish the courses.

You can also register to take the APA classes with an online instructor. While the classes are conducted entirely online, you do have access to someone who can assist you when needed. You use a combination of online software and print materials, as well as a class discussion board to interact with your instructor. Each class lasts approximately eight weeks, so you have to complete your coursework within a specific period of time.

There is also an in-person option for these classes. The APA offers their courses through colleges and universities across the country. On-campus courses cover the same topics as those online and offer access to the same online components. However, this delivery method allows students one-on-one, personal interaction with their instructor. After you successfully complete the courses, you will likely be granted a certificate proving that you completed the program. While it does not mean you are certified, it will prepare you for the APA certification examinations.

How Do I Complete The Certification Process?

Once you have completed your classes, you are eligible to sit for the certification exam. The exam must be completed in-person at an authorized test center. No matter where you take the test, it's generally only offered during certain times of the year. You will need to check with the APA to reserve a spot for yourself, as walk-ins aren't accepted on the day of the test.

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