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5 required courses (three post-secondary transfer courses, plus 2 National Payroll Institute courses (75 hours))


Classroom, Online | Learn more


Complete National Payroll Institute courses in 12 to 18 months | Learn more


Courses start at $585, plus National Payroll Institute fees

Payroll is the administrative process within an organization that involves ensuring that every employee is paid correctly, calculating the appropriate payroll taxes and correctly deducting miscellaneous items.

The National Payroll Institute (formerly The Canadian Payroll Association) designation programs are recognized nationally as the standards of excellence for payroll training. The Institute offers the only payroll designations in Canada: the Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) and the Certified Payroll Manager (CPM). The Institute awards these professional designations upon completion of core and compulsory courses offered through classroom study at Mount Royal University.

These programs prepare payroll practitioners to manage the compliance requirements of an organization's annual payroll cycle, deliver clear and reliable payroll information, and contribute a payroll perspective to organizational policy and strategy discussions.

Designation from the National Payroll Institute is becoming an increasingly common prerequisite for employment in payroll. Join a growing community of supportive professionals and gain access to the resources you need to stay current and compliant. In addition, earning a bona fide credential can boost your salary range by an entire band.


Certified Payroll Manager (CPM)

The Certified Payroll Manager (CPM) designation is a valuable credential providing the management skills needed by experienced PCP designation holders to advance their career in payroll management. Gain the effective decision-making and project management skills needed to lead a department. Build your knowledge in areas such as benchmarking, best practices development and human resources skills to achieve organizational and career goals.


Highlights and benefits

Earn a recognized credential — Enhance your career prospects

Real-world knowledge — Learn from experienced industry professionals

Enhance your life — Develop your personal and professional skills

Gain hands-on experience — Demonstrate workplace competencies to potential employers

 Important notice:

Effective June 1, 2023, the Certified Payroll Manager designation will be suspended. Current students will have the opportunity to take required courses from February to May 2023.

As of June1, 2023, these courses will no longer be scheduled. If you have any questions, please contact us at or 403.440.6861


Interested in the Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) designation?

In addition to the Canadian Payroll Manager (CPM) designation, we are pleased to offer the pre-requisite Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) designation.

Learn more


New students must have at least two years of experience with responsibility for an organization's payroll function (obtained in the past five years), including being accountable to management for the accuracy of employees' pay and all government statutory remittances, or equivalent experience.

Each Certified Payroll Manager (CPM) student must submit a Payroll Experience Prerequisite Application (PEPA) and receive approval from the National Payroll Institute prior to enrolling in the Introduction to Payroll Management course.

The Certified Payroll Manager (CPM) certification requires five courses:

  1. Introduction to Payroll Management (IPM)
    (Prerequisites: Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) certification and payroll experience)
  2. Organizational Behaviour Management
    (transfer of credit; offered at post-secondary institutions)
  3. Managerial Accounting
    (transfer of credit; offered at post-secondary institutions)
  4. Compensation & Benefits Management
    (transfer of credit; offered at post-secondary institutions)
  5. Applied Payroll Management (APM)
    (Prerequisite: Introduction to Payroll Management)

To receive designation, you must complete the National Payroll Institutes' core courses listed in the schedule below plus compulsory courses, complete the Institutes's Application for Certification and fulfill the ongoing designation requirements: Payroll work experience, Institute membership, adherence to the Institutes Code of Conduct and Continuing Professional Education (CPE). The core courses offered vary each semester.

For a complete listing of the compulsory courses required (and approved equivalents) for designation, refer to the National Payroll Institute website or contact

The National Payroll Institute has an online database of accepted courses offered at other Canadian post-secondary institutions to assist you in finding suggested equivalents for the compulsory courses. Access the Transfer Credits database and find complete details on the Transfer of Credit procedure.

The National Payroll Institute requires that all courses, including Introduction to Accounting, have a minimum passing grade of 65% on each of the courses and final exam in order to be accepted toward designation. Schools may have a different passing grade than the Institute. If a student has passed a course with the school, it does not mean they have passed with the National Payroll Institute.

The Canadian Payroll Manager (CPM) can be completed within 12-18 months. Visit the National Payroll Institute website for requirements and complete details on earning the Canadian Payroll Manager (CPM) designation.

The listed course hours indicate the estimated time to review the online learning units - your actual time spent completing assignments may vary.

Course schedule by semester

(Sept. - Dec.)
(Jan. - April)
(May - Aug.)
Payroll Compliance Legislation  
Payroll Fundamentals 1  
Payroll Fundamentals 2  
Financial Accounting Fundamentals Not offered at Mount Royal at this time. Visit the National Payroll Institute website or contact for more information.

This schedule is subject to change. Courses start on various dates within each semester. Fall schedule and registration is available in June; Winter schedule and registration is available in November; and Spring/Summer schedule and registration is available in March.