Further Your Career in WFM with CWPP Certification!

By Vicki Herrell, Executive Director, SWPP

Workforce management (WFM) has become a lifelong career to many people, and over 10 years ago, SWPP created a certification program that elevates the workforce management function and recognizes the professionalism required to achieve success in this part of the business. The Certified Workforce Planning Professional (CWPP) program provides a professional development opportunity and recognition for the workforce management community, and is available to any and all interested workforce management professionals.

Here is an overview of the certification program, but more information is available on the SWPP website.

The SWPP Workforce Management Certification program consists of three exams, which cover the core workforce management competencies:

  1. Planning and Strategy
  2. Staffing and Scheduling
  3. Managing Daily Staffing and Service

Successful completion in all three areas, combined with a workforce management application project, will
earn full CWPP certification.

Competency Review and Exam Preparation

If you decide to undertake the certification process, reviewing the workforce management competencies on the SWPP website is the best starting point. They were developed by thought leaders in the WFM industry, and address the major skills and knowledge areas required of a workforce management professional.

While some WFM professionals take the exams directly, relying upon their everyday work processes and practical knowledge, most find it beneficial to do some directed study to brush up on WFM concepts and calculations prior to taking the exam. It can be beneficial to test your knowledge by taking the WFM Knowledge Assessment on our website. This assessment is available at no charge and can serve as a way to test your knowledge and help you assess how prepared you are to move into the actual certification testing.

There are other study materials on our website, including many articles that cover all areas of the exams. Also, SWPP offers a web seminar series on the Fundamentals of Workforce Management that covers all topics in the CWPP Certification Exams.

Taking the Exams

Each exam is made up of 50 questions with 150 for the full CWPP certification. The tests have been certified by a professional psychometrician and are made up of simple and nested multiple-choice questions. The exams are taken online in a proctored setting. There is a two-hour limit per exam, although most participants average about one hour for each test. Exams can be taken back-to-back, or spread over time. Results are provided immediately on-screen and also via email for each exam individually, and show the percentage of correct answers for each section of the exam. The passing score is 80% and, if necessary, re-testing is available.

Workplace Project

Once an applicant has successfully completed all three exams, it is time for the project portion of the certification process. The reason for this project is to demonstrate a practical application of the workforce management knowledge tested on the exams, as well as the ability to communicate that knowledge to others. Applicants present their projects via web seminar to a certification review board, which consists of SWPP Advisory Board members and other workforce management professionals who have already achieved CWPP Certification.

This project can be selected from a list of pre-approved projects (see the SWPP website for a list of standard projects) or an applicant can create his/her own project idea and submit it for approval. The project can be pulled from the real world, taking advantage of work already completed. Most projects have consisted of PowerPoint and Excel files, with some projects including both. Project feedback is provided via e-mail as soon as possible after the presentation, often within an hour.

Associate Certification

In recognition of the many workforce management specialists in the field, and to offer them a substantial development opportunity, SWPP offers Associate Certification. This requires successful completion of one exam, along with a project to demonstrate knowledge in the same competency area as the exam. This is a great alternative for someone who has spent years as a Scheduler, for example, and who might not have a strong interest in overall certification. This might also be an alternative for someone who prefers to certify in one competency area at a time, or over a longer time period than two years.

Continuing Education Requirements

Once certified, there are annual requirements to maintain the designation. Using a points-based system similar to that of other professional certification programs, certified professionals need to accumulate 40 points per year to maintain their CWPP status. Associate certification requires 25 points per year. Points can be earned for attending (or presenting at) the annual SWPP conference, for submitting “Tips of the Week” and articles to the SWPP newsletter, and for a variety of other workforce management-related activities. A full list is posted on the SWPP website

Certification Fees

Full CWPP certification is offered at $250 for SWPP members and $350 for non-members. Associate certification is offered at $100 per competency for SWPP members and $150 for non-members. There is a $50 fee per exam for any re-testing.

Action Plan

If you think CWPP Certification is right for you, the process is pretty straightforward. Just register online at www.swpp.org, review the competencies, determine any knowledge gaps you might have, prepare using the resources mentioned above, take the exams, submit your project, and then maintain your certification.

We hope you will decide to further your education and career development by participating in CWPP Certification. More information is available at https://swpp.org/certification/.