Compensational Professionals and CCP Certification

by Sarah Reynolds - June 5, 2019
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Earning CCP Certification can be expensive and time-consuming, but often a worthwhile investment. Most compensation professionals view a CCP as a long-term investment that will advance their knowledge and fast-track their careers.

Employers that recognize the value of the CCP credential will often reimburse employees for certification-related expenses, which can help speed up the process.

What is a CCP Certification?

Obtaining a CCP certification signifies that a recipient has successfully completed a wide-ranging curriculum in the fundamentals of compensation management. CCP candidates learn how to integrate compensation programs with business strategy, design and administer pay programs, and effectively communicate compensation information.

CCP Certification is needed to become a Certified Compensation Professional, thus the CCP acronym.

Who Grants the CCP Certification?

The Certified Compensation Professional designation is granted by WorldatWork, a nonprofit association that serves compensation professionals who design and deliver total rewards programs. World at Work is considered the gold standard for professional development in compensation and rewards.

How to Become a Certified Compensation Professional

Candidates for CCP certification must pass ten exams that cover the knowledge and skills required of compensation professionals, including job analysis, base pay administration, market pricing, variable pay, accounting, quantitative analysis, and regulatory compliance.

There are a variety of ways to prepare for the ten exams required for certification. Prior to taking a CCP exam, candidates usually complete the associated coursework in one of three ways:

  • Traditional classroom – a traditional instructor-led course conducted over two days;
  • Virtual classroom – a two-day online course with live instruction and participant interaction; or
  • Self-study – an independent study program using pre-recorded materials.

Some extremely experienced individuals may be able to pass exams using experiential knowledge and opt not to attend one or more classes. However, the most typical path is to complete the coursework and then sit for the exams.

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Certified Compensation Professional?

Costs for training and exam fees to obtain the CCP vary based on the candidate’s WorldatWork membership status and the type of instruction that is chosen. WorldatWork members receive significant discounts on fees compared to non-members. Costs are as follows, per course:

  • Traditional or Virtual Course – If the candidate chooses to take the traditional or virtual course before the exam, the fee is $2,200 for non-members, but only $1,495 for members.
  • Self-Study with Materials – If the candidate elects to self-study using materials provided by World at Work, the fees are $1,780 for non-members and $1,275 for members.
  • Self-Study without Materials – If the candidate chooses to prepare for the exam without using course materials, World at Work charges an exam fee of approximately $500 per exam.

Based on these options, the total costs for obtaining a CCP will vary from approximately $5,000 to $15,000 for the total of ten exams required to earn certification. This does not include travel costs which will be depend on the individual’s own circumstances, but many of the courses are taught at various locations across the country.

Note: Costs are as of May 1, 2019, and will likely increase in the future.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified Compensation Professional?

Earning a CCP can be as done as quickly as the candidate can take CCP courses and pass all ten exams. For the majority of candidates, the main challenges will be lack of spare time and available funds. Given these limitations, it typically takes most candidates several years to earn their certifications.

Is the CCP Certification Worth the Investment?

Studies have estimated that pay levels could be as much as 10% higher for compensation professionals who earn a CCP certification. If a newly-minted CCP recipient with a base salary of $50,000 earns an additional $5,000 per year after certification, the CCP will pay for itself within three years. This assumes the candidate takes all ten courses and passes all the exams on the first attempt. Moreover, employees with CCPs may be promoted at a faster pace than non-certified employees, leading to an even greater salary.

For businesses, there are advantages to employees earning a CCP, too.

Based on job posting data, most employers prefer candidates for compensation roles to have a CCP certification. Certified compensation professionals enjoy a competitive advantage in the job market because the certification assures employers that the employee has attained the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively manage compensation programs.

There is no doubt that obtaining CCP certification is worth the investment in time and money for professionals seeking a long-term career in compensation management.

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