SHRM Learning System Certification Course

Increase your chances of passing your SHRM certification exam by attending our upcoming certification prep course. 

Looking for help navigating the increased demands on HR professionals? Become the most qualified and valuable HR professional you can be with SHRM certification.

The SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP®) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP®) are the only behavioral competency-based HR certifications. This means you’ll have the answers AND know what to do on the job.

  • Boost your credibility: 58% of managers of SHRM-certified credential holders look to them for their enhanced efficiency and tendency toward leadership.
  • Boost your career: Of SHRM-certified professionals who were promoted, 63% report that their credential was a key factor.
  • Boost your salary: HR professionals who pass the SHRM certification exam report earning salaries 7%-9% higher than peers who do not.

The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications are built upon the SHRM BASK, which is based on the input of some of the best minds in the HR profession to define eight behavioral competencies and 15 functional areas that every HR professional should know. This course is offered in partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management.

The Small Business Development Center at UW Madison is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®.

Register for Fall 2024!

Location/Modality: The UW-Madison SHRM Certification Preparation cohort includes both in-person and online components.

Program format: Full course runs September 18-November 20, 2024

  • First and last sessions are IN PERSON at UW-Madison from 5:00-9:00 pm. While we strongly recommend meeting your classmates in person, we will offer a hybrid option on these nights for those who cannot make it to campus.
  • The remaining ONLINE class dates take place Tuesday & Wednesday nights from 6:00 – 7:45 pm.

Program Dates:

  • IN PERSON Wednesday, September 18, 2024 in person 5:00 (dinner) – 9:00 pm (class starts at 5:30)
  • ONLINE Tuesday & Wednesday September 24 & 25, 2024 6:00-7:45 pm
  • ONLINE Tuesday & Wednesday October 1 &2, 2024 6:00-7:45 pm
  • ONLINE Tuesday & Wednesday October 8 & 9, 2024 6:00-7:45 pm
  • ONLINE Tuesday & Wednesday October 15 & 16, 2024 6:00-7:45 pm
  • ONLINE Tuesday & Wednesday October 22 & 23, 2024 6:00-7:45 pm
  • ONLINE Tuesday & Wednesday October 29 & 30, 2024 6:00-7:45 pm
  • ONLINE Tuesday & Wednesday November 5 & 6, 2024 6:00-7:45 pm
  • ONLINE Tuesday & Wednesday November 12 & 13, 2024 6:00-7:45 pm
  • IN PERSONWednesday November 20, 2024 in person 5:00 (dinner) – 9:00 pm (class starts at 5:30 pm)

$1450 (Non-SHRM members)
$1400 (Local SHRM members)
$1350 (Nat’l SHRM members)
$1300 (Local & Nat’l members)

Registration Type Date Fee
Earlybird Earlybird closes: 8/28/2024 $1350 (Non-SHRM members)
$1300 (Local SHRM members)
$1250 (Nat’l SHRM members)
$1200 (Local & Nat’l members)
Late Registration Late Registration begins: 9/10/2024 $1550 (Non-SHRM members)
$1500 (Local SHRM members)
$1450 (Nat’l SHRM members)
$1400 (Local & Nat’l members)
Course Registration closes 9/17/2024

The course includes multiple tools for success, included printed SHRM materials mailed to you and online access to the SHRM Learning System (historically ranked the #1 HR certification prep tool).  In addition, you will also receive access to the instructor presentations and quizzes, and access to all class recordings. The course investment includes all course materials but does not cover registration for the SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP examinations.

Register for Fall 2024 or call 608-262-2451 to register. For more information on the SHRM certification course, please contact Stephanie Achten at or 608.263.2221.

Registration & Cancellation policies

  • Payment will be required at time of registration. You must have either a credit card or valid UW-Madison funding string to be able to register.
  • We cannot guarantee that a meal can be provided for in-person participants registering less than 8 days prior to the event date.
  • Cancelations at least 48 hours before the program begins will incur a $25 cancellation fee. Cancelations less than 48 hours before the start of the program will incur the full program fee. To cancel, call registration at 608-262-2451. Please note that in the case of a cancellation (by either the participant or the SBDC), participants can only be transferred one time into a new course.

Disability Statement: Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the UW-Madison SBDC office at to request accommodations.

Quality Instruction at
  • Participants consistently complete their exams at an 80-90% pass rate – far above overall SHRM pass rates for those who do not attend our course
  • Taught by experienced HR professionals who integrate real-life examples into their instruction. With three different instructors, you also will have the opportunity to hear from different perspectives.
  • SHRM-certified instructors provide tips for passing the exam throughout their teaching
Class is Personal and Flexible
  • Mixed in-person and online offering gives you the best of both worlds!
  • The twice-a-week online evening schedule allows for more face-time with your fellow cohort members, and shorter virtual time blocks help with content retention.
  • Access to the instructor presentations, quizzes, and class recordings
Provides You with Structured Learning
  • Keeps you on track
  • Includes multiple tools for success, included printed SHRM materials and online access to the SHRM Learning System (historically ranked the #1 HR certification prep tool). The System dynamically adjusts to your interaction and unique learning style.
  • Study with your peers to enhance your learning and network with other HR professionals

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Who should take this course?

Our certification preparation course is designed primarily for individuals seeking SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certification.

Certification is a great choice for HR professionals who want to:

  • Increase their knowledge
  • Advance their skills
  • Earn recognition from the global community

Can I take the course online?

Yes! UW-Madison SBDC is offering a partial-hybrid option to bring you the best of both worlds. This includes two in-person sessions (with a hybrid option for those who can’t make it to campus) to help you meet your cohort members at the beginning and celebrate your hard work on the last day. The remaining sessions are online and recorded to provide you with maximum flexibility and the benefit of live instruction and interaction with peers.

  • Gain one-on-one guidance to help you comprehend and learn to apply your new HR knowledge.
  • Acquire the knowledge and understand the behavioral competencies you need to prepare to pass the exam.
  • Network and collaborate with peers to share real-life examples and bring HR knowledge and competencies to life.
  • Stay on track to earn your certification with a structured learning experience and support.

Can I test from home?

Yes! SHRM has introduced the option to take your SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP exam from home, through live remote proctoring. With SHRM’s new live remote proctoring option, you’ll be able to continue moving toward your goal of SHRM certification wherever you are.

What tools and materials are provided?

This course combines expert instruction with the most comprehensive and effective way to prepare for success on your SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP exam. The interactive SHRM Learning System is a personalized roadmap to help you master the SHRM Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge™ (SHRM BASK™) and prepare you for the SHRM certification exams.

  • Customized Study Plan: As you progress through the SHRM BASK™ and complete your learning activities, you’ll see your study plan update in real time and get motivating reminders to keep you on track for success.
  • Online Topic Cards: Visualize your study plan through a series of course topic cards depicting SHRM BASK topics. As you move through the course materials, click on a card to access a topic overview or more in-depth study activities. As you complete a topic, another will take its place in your study plan. To sync your personal studies with the course syllabus, simply drag and drop topic cards on and off your study plan.
  • Online Learning: Fill your knowledge and competency gaps with interactive online reading content (with optional audio segments) that teaches the entire SHRM BASK. Then, assess your understanding with flashcards and periodic quizzes. Based on your results, the Learning System will either guide you forward to the next topic or provide you with suggested content for further review.
  • Practice Questions: Test your knowledge and increase exam day confidence with 2,700+ practice questions presented through online quizzes and a practice exam that includes questions previously used on actual SHRM Certification exams.
  • Bonus Resources: Throughout our course, you’ll have support from your SHRM-certified instructor who can provide a broad range of guidance to prepare you for exam day, Additionally, your SHRM Learning System includes a digital copy of Ace Your SHRM Certification Exam study guide, which includes study guidance, test taking tips as well as additional practice questions.

In addition to all of these resources, you will also have access to recorded class sessions, scenario questions, and instructor quizzes, giving you additional flexibility and a chance to practice on your own!

Am I eligible to take the exam?

Advancing your career. For those not seeking certification, the SHRM Learning System for SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP course provides a comprehensive and accelerated option for professional development. Participants gain a generalist viewpoint, refresh key ideas and concepts, strengthen their understanding of core HR competencies and increase productivity.

Program Requirements: There are no admission requirements to take this program, however certain criteria must be met for participants taking the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP exam.

SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP Exam Requirements: To apply for either the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP, candidates must have a combination of education and professional HR experience. For more information, visit


What are the certification details?

This is an exciting and pivotal time in the HR profession.  Now, more than ever, HR teams are required to assume a greater leadership role, contributing to the strategic direction of their organizations.  The profession is no longer just about what you know – but how you do your job.  SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP℠) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP℠) are poised to become the new standard for all HR professionals around the globe, as it is among the first HR certifications that is focused on teaching and testing the practical, real-life information HR professionals need to excel in their careers today, including behavioral competencies, knowledge and skills.

Test Windows

Window 1 (May 1 – July 15)
Window 2 (December 1 – February 15)

The testing windows are the dates during which the exams are administered.


All credentials are valid for 3 years. Recertification is required every three years through demonstrated professional development (preferred method) or by retaking the exam. The UW-Madison SBDC offers a variety of course options for recertification.

How much time can I expect to devote to exam preparation?

On average, based on our experience, students will spend about 80-100 hours preparing for the exam. Included this estimate is the time spent:

  • reading the materials
  • participating in class
  • using the on-line review tools and final exam review and preparations

There are students who do this in as little as 60 hours and some need 120 depending upon their experience and breadth of knowledge when entering the class. Read more tips for preparation and test success from the SHRM website.

How does my SHRM Certification Benefit My Organization?

There are many reasons why you should pursue SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certification. Once you set your certification or professional development goal, it’s time to talk to your manager. Help your manager understand the value of certification and build a business case for certification and training as a worthwhile investment. Schedule a meeting with your manager and arrive prepared with the powerful talking points provided below. They demonstrate why your organization should support your efforts to prepare for and attain SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certification.

  1. My Knowledge Will be Current and Relevant
    Now, more than ever, HR teams are required to assume a greater leadership role, contributing to and advancing their organizations’ strategic direction. The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP credentials recognize this trend and take a fresh and current look at what HR professionals need to know—and how to put that knowledge to work. The certification program covers behavioral competencies and functional knowledge areas within the themes of HR Competencies, People, Organization, and Workplace. Attaining and maintaining my credential means I’ll be ready to take on
    new roles and responsibilities.
  2. I will learn practical skills that will impact my job immediately
    SHRM certification is the new standard for HR professionals around the globe, as it is among the first to focus on practical, real-life HR information, teaching, and testing competencies and knowledge. When I prepare for the certification exam with the SHRM Learning System, I won’t be simply memorizing a textbook; I’ll be applying concepts, using behavioral judgment and understanding best practices for handling day-to-day business as well as unexpected scenarios. I’ll be learning from the experiences of other HR professionals, sharpening my skills, and boosting my productivity and effectiveness.
  3. These certifications were developed with employers in mind
    SHRM conducted global research, including outreach to major corporations, universities and over 35,000 members of the profession worldwide. Based on its findings, SHRM determined that, in addition to technical knowledge, a successful HR career will also be determined by behavioral competencies—the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP include both of these essential elements. This credential will reflect what I need to know and how to apply it to be a leader in our organization. Growing the influence of HR leaders through certification is a worthwhile investment that also improves our reputation as an organization that takes HR seriously.
  4. My knowledge will be globally applicable and universally recognized
    We live and work in a global economy, and my skills need to be globally applicable and accepted. Based on one single SHRM Body of Applied SKills and Knowledge (SHRM BASK), the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP credentials are relevant and applicable worldwide. Earning this credential will give me the recognition and flexibility to use my knowledge, skills and competencies anywhere our organization operates, now and in the future.
  5. My certification and training is provided by the leading advocate for HR professionals
    SHRM has represented the HR community for nearly seven decades, and has more than 300,000 members in 165 countries. It is a well-respected organization at the forefront of HR trends and emerging professional knowledge. The SHRM BASK, the foundation of my credential and recertification, is supported by SHRM, is kept current and relevant, and encourages lifelong learning. Training of this caliber and reliability cannot be replicated, and it provides an opportunity for our entire HR team from which our whole organization can benefit—ultimately saving our organization time and money on training and professional development.


Judy Peirick, SHRM-SCP℠, SPHR

Hear from Lead SHRM Instructor, Judy Peirick!

Judy was the vice president of human resources at Webcrafters, Inc.  She has more than 30 years of human resource experience in health care and manufacturing.  Her primary areas of responsibility have included strategic planning, employee and labor relations, talent acquisition and management, total rewards, development and safety.

Judy graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s of business administration in management.  She is very involved in the community and has served on numerous boards including United Way, Meriter Retirement Services, The Alliance, the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality and the National Cooperative Rx.  She has also served on several human resource advisory committees including the Dane County Manufacturing Consortium, the Council on Wisconsin Strategies, W-2 steering committee, Oakwood, and United Cerebral Palsy.

Tracy Niesen Breunig

Tracy has been in the Human Resources field for over 25 years in a variety of industries working across small and large businesses around the Madison area. Her experiences include union and non-union environments, profit and non-profit and has lead HR teams as well as being the single HR practitioner. Tracy’s expertise covers areas such as recruiting, onboarding, employee engagement and relations, union relations, training and development, compensation, and benefits. Currently, Tracy is a Director of Human Resources at Culver Franchising System.

Tomás Rivera

Tomás Rivera, who earned his law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996, is a Vice President, Associate General Counsel, at Discover Financial Services. He manages the Employment and Labor team, which advises stakeholders regarding global laws and regulations pertinent to executive talent acquisition and retention agreements, organizational and talent accountability, immigration and global mobility, benefits and compensation, leave administration, contractor staff augmentation, succession plans, and whistle-blower investigations. He also oversees Discover’s litigation related to Title VII, ADA, FMLA, ADEA, EPA, NLRA, DOL audits, Affirmative Action, HIPPA and ERISA. His geographical coverage areas include the U.S., EMEA, APAC, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. His primary stakeholder partners include C-Suite Management, Human Resources, Procurement, Finance, and Business Technology.

Prior to Discover, Tomás served in similar roles at the Walgreen Company where he developed process improvement procedures to support labor initiatives as the lead legal advisor in Puerto Rico. He also spearheaded employee training and advocacy efforts to foster sustainable employee relations and advised executive officers and managers on employee performance management strategies, employee re-deployments due to mergers and acquisitions, litigation and arbitrations. He conceptualized and introduced the company’s first diversity and inclusion plan and collaborated with Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, and Marketing to execute diversity initiatives. Under his direction, the company developed its first Office of Diversity and Business Resource Groups program.

Tomás contributes to volunteer and legal pro bono programs by providing financial literacy training, drafting wills for first responders, and providing legal assistance to low-wage workers facing sudden unemployment. Tomás also manages Discover’s high school work-study program, which provides high school students with opportunities to work in a corporate environment and, in exchange, earn a salary to pay their school tuition.

Tomás is a terrific instructor who cares about each student.

Stephanie Pannkuk, HR , Skinner Transfer Corp, Spring 2023 Participant

[It was] great to meet some of the people in person; [the in-person sessions] felt like a good way to start and end the class - it bookends and made it more "real."

I liked the structure and tips given during the class. Seeing the material in multiple forms (reading, presentations, quizzes) helped solidify learning, and [I liked] having the ability to discuss to digest the information. Judy alwasy gave tips and tricks and moved through content effectively.

Recruiter, Trek, 2023 [hybrid class] participant

[This course gave me] a better understanding of the material - and Judy's energy is wonderful!

HR Generalist, Hartung Brothers, Inc.

I appreciated the conversation and questions surrounding concerns. [The class was] helpful and well organized; I do better with instruction vs. self-study, [and I appreciated] the ability to ask questions and engage with others. Knowing relevant information to study and knowing the testing format [helped prepare me].

RDH & Director of HR & Compliance, Spring 2023 participant [hybrid format]

This is a great class to prepare yourself for this exam. The community of the program and hearing others' questions helped prepare me. It felt like the whole class was in it together every class, which helped me stay motivated.

All instructors are amazing and knowledgeable and care about your progress. Judy is a SHRM wizard and was so helpful - thank you, Judy!

Cameron Theisen, UW-Madison Division of Recreation & Wellbeing, Spring 2023 participant [hybrid course]

I did a self-study series and failed my first self-study exam. [When taking this class,] the instructors were great - knowledgeable and engaged as questions came up.

Spring 2023 participant

This course helped me navigate the SHRM reading materials, kept me accountable each week. and was very well laid out. The quizzes, tips, and examples helped me think about the way questions are asked [on the exam]. The instructors were so knowledgeable and provided real life context to the reading. I already find myself referencing class lessons in my everyday work!

Amanda Edl, Sr. HR operations coordinator. Exact Sciences, Fall 2022 participant

I liked the flexibility of the program, the support, and availability of instructors for questions.

Ashley Cohen, HR Generalist, LeadCar Systems, Inc.

[This class was] very interactive and participatory. Gave me good ideas about what content is important to focus on and explanation on rationale for reasoning of answers, etc.

2023 SHRM Participant

Getting insight from HR professionals’ experiences with real-world examples was helpful to piece concepts together. It was nice to kick off class meeting everyone in person; [I] felt more comfortable and less nervous [after] meeting in person the 1st day. But [it was also] nice to be hybrid at home majority of the time due to work schedules.

Marissa Levan, Springs Window Fashions, 2023 Participant

“Judy was amazing and helpful to everyone.  Very engaging and informative. Thank you!”

SHRM 2021 Online Participant

"I’m very pleased with Judy’s instruction! She’s excellent at giving tips to help with recall and throwing in past information to keep it fresh in our thoughts. She’s very knowledgeable and encouraged and supportive! I am SO GLAD I signed up for the class and didn’t try to go it alone as I’m certain I wouldn’t be learning as much as quickly as I am with her help and the input of the other classmates!"

Fall 2020 online participant

"Thank you, thank you for all you have done for me and the HR profession."

Previous SHRM Certification Student

"Thank you so much for the expert instruction and class organization! I am so glad that I took the class rather than just doing independent study - several times during the exam (which I thought was very difficult) I almost felt like I had Judy whispering in my ear!"

Previous SHRM Student

The Wisconsin SBDC Network is a proud part of the Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship in the University of Wisconsin System.
It is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact us at or call (608) 263-2221.