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SuccessFactors Training and Certification FAQ: 2015 Edition

My blog SuccessFactors Training and Certification FAQ that was published back in December 2013 provided all of the relevant information relating to SuccessFactors training and certification and has been viewed over 40,000 times to-date. With rapid and big changes taking place over the last year, I thought it was time to update my blog to include latest and greatest information and also answer some of the questions as below:

  • How can I obtain the training?
  • Where can I get the training from?
  • As a consultant, what should I do in order to get certified, either as an Associate or as a Professional?
  • How do I make the transition to SuccessFactors?

How do I get trained on SuccessFactors?

Training courses are available to all SAP Learning Hub subscribers with one of the following subscriptions:

  • Customer Edition (HUB020)
  • Partner Education (HUB030)

SuccessFactors trainings are available only via SAP Learning Hub or SAP Education Webshop, which are accessed with the URL Any trainings offered by any party other than SAP are not authorized and authenticated by SAP, so these should be avoided.

Are there prerequisites for me to take a SuccessFactors course?

The prerequisite course for all SuccessFactors training is the Introduction to SuccessFactors HCM Academy course (course code THR80). This must be completed before any subsequent training can be taken. Some courses have an additional prerequisite:

What courses do SuccessFactors offer?

The following courses are offered on SAP Learning Hub (click the link to see the course path and view the individual courses for each path):

Career Development Planning (course code THR95) is due to be launched later in 2015. All courses for Human Capital Management (HCM) – including other SuccessFactors courses – can be viewed here.

How does the training work?

Training is offered as self-learning or as Virtual Instructor Led Classes (VLC), which is delivered virtually. There is also a strong emphasis on collaborative learning via SAP Jam and you will be expected to actively participate in the SAP Jam group. SuccessFactors holds regular check-in meetings via Adobe Connect.

Self-learning courses are offered as part of the SAP Learning Hub subscriptions mentioned above while the VLC is an additional paid fee. The VLCs include the following:

  • 1-3 weeks of live instruction, delivered virtually
  • Training systems for hands on practice and completion of assigned exercises
  • Daily Q&A session
  • Best practices

Does completing the training make me “certified”?

Once you have completed the training you need to take and pass the certification to become a Certified Application Associate (see below for more detail). Only employees of official SuccessFactors partners are eligible to take the certification exam.

Why are only partner employees allowed to take certification?

This is because there are a number of systems provided by SAP to partners that are required to implement SuccessFactors and access to these are part of the Partner agreement between SuccessFactors and partners. These systems include the SuccessFactors LMS, SAP Jam, SuccessFactors Partner Portal, Provisioning, and SuccessFactors demo systems. In future SAP are planning to open this to customers, but the revamping of the program is still in its early days.

So once I’ve taken the exam, that’s it?

Not exactly. Taking and passing the certification gives you Certified Application Associate level. However, in order to retain this certification you must take delta exams within 6 months of the exam’s availability date. These ensure that you stay up-to-date on the latest releases and understand the ever-changing functionality and concepts of the SuccessFactors systems. If a delta exam is not completed by the deadline then certification will expire. By registering for SAP Credential Manager once you pass the Certified Associate certification exam, you will be notified of a Delta exam availability and deadlines.

I’m a Certified Application Associate, so I’m “certified” right?

Yes and no. There are two levels of certification with a clear distinction that customers look for.

Certified Application Associate means that the consultant has successfully passed the training exam. It does not mean that they have any implementation experience. Many consultants and/or consultancies refer to Certified Associate as “Certified” as a colloquialism or – in some cases – to hide the fact that they may be inexperienced.

Certified Application Professional means that the consultant has reached Certified Associate level and – in addition – has successfully led at least two lifecycle customer implementations with hands-on experience, which SuccessFactors has verified with the customers. These consultants typically are experienced enough to lead a customer project or act as a solution architect of some variety.

If I take the training do I get Provisioning access?

As with becoming “certified”, only employees of SuccessFactors partners can get Provisioning access. This is one of the many areas that are provided as part of the Partner agreement between SuccessFactors and partners.

What sort of experience do I need?

There is no particular experience required, but it does help to be familiar with the module you are taking and to have knowledge of XML. Business process experience is not required for the training, but it helps to understand the various functions of the application that you are training on.

Can I just take a course with a 3rd party instead?

SAP Learning Hub is the only location to take trainings and become a Certified Application Associate. Trainings offered by any other providers are not official and should be avoided. They do not count towards SAP courses or certifications.

Do I need training? Can’t I just learn on the Job?

SuccessFactors training equips you with the fundamentals of each application, but much of the real learning happens on projects so it is advised to shadow an experienced consultant on your first few projects. Like with any software, there are many nuances and caveats that you cannot learn in a training course and there is no substitute for experience.

Although this practice does occur with SAP ERP HCM, without taking the training it is not possible to get Provisioning access or to have the customer instance mapped to your Provisioning account. In addition, there are many nuances to each solution that would not be known without taking official training.

Customers need to understand that it is the Wild West out there right now and it is important to follow some of the tips in Jarret Pazahanick’s Seven Tips to ensure you hire the Right Consultant as well ensure that your SuccessFactors Consultant has the appropriate training, certifications, and experience as without it they are not going to be able to help you sufficiently. Customers also need to understand that implementing Cloud is different from implementing on-premise.

What does a course entail?

Each course varies in format, length, and delivery. I’ll cover each of them briefly:

Generally each 5-day course has a 2-hour check-in meeting each day. Each 10-day course generally has 5x 3-hour check-in meetings. There will be 3 meetings in the first week – which includes the introductory meeting on the first day of the course – and 2 meetings in the second week. The Employee Central Academy (THR81) course has an additional 2 check-in meetings in the third week. The check-in meetings enable the trainer to cover a number of topics, test the participants on their learning and request demonstrations, track progress, and answer any questions.

Why are only employees of SuccessFactors partners allowed to take training?

As mentioned above, there are a number of different systems required to take training and it can be difficult to provide access to non-partners. I am hopeful that this will change over time once the sheer demand for training subsides but in the interim think it is smart to limit it to ensure that unauthorized training centers don’t open up as this has historically been a problem in the SAP ecosystem. At present, there is a huge demand for training from existing partners and courses fill up quickly.

How much does it cost?

Both the customer edition (HUB020) and the partner edition (HUB030) subscriptions cost EUR 2,500 per year. The Certification Hub subscription – which is required to take Cloud certification exams (up to six Associate and delta exams per year) – costs EUR 500 per year.

Do customers need to hire Certified Application Professional consultants?

Although it is not mandatory, project success always depends on experience. Having a Certified Application Professional leading your project is the only way to ensure that you have the genuine expertise. It is ok having a Certified Application Associate on the project, as long as they are working for an experienced lead. Whether the consultant is a Solution Architect or Functional Consultant, they need to have hands-on experience to truly know the solution they will implement for you.

Customers should make sure to have consultants clarify which type of “certification” they have and to ask consultants to provide a copy of their certification certificate.


It’s important for me to point out that courses are updated quarterly and that course modality, duration, and titles are subject to change based on business demand. Anything I have written here is subject to change at any point by SAP, as clearly was the case between the previous blog and this updated edition!

Key resources

There are some key resources that you can use to help learn about SuccessFactors and SuccessFactors training:


Much like SuccessFactors in general, SuccessFactors training and certification is not the same as what SAP HCM consultants will be used to and is constantly evolving. There are different methods and formats required and the outcomes are different. While training is now open to everyone, certification and Provisioning access is still only available for SuccessFactors partners. This may change in the future as the current changes become tried and tested, but in the short-term customers can at least get trained and provide hands-on support to both implementations and post Go Live activities.

To stay current on this topic and SuccessFactors in general I would highly recommend joining the SAP and SuccessFactors Linkedin Group.

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    • HI Luke,

      Thanks for the info.

      However One query I have is what about the EC Payroll.Is it embeded in EC or its a different module for which We need to take the certification? Can u elaborate plz.



  • A couple of clarifications here

    The Learning Hub is a fantastic source of information, but:

    • subscription to the Learning Hub does not provide access to the virtual class for any of the courses mentioned above, but rather to the materials to be used in a self-paced approach. Access to the virtual class must still be paid separately.
    • The Learning Hub provides access to both content and Learning Rooms, these being information repositories and forums used by all students of the topic (including Virtual Classroom learners)
    • a student will need to secure provisioning and access to a demo system, knowing that data may/will be different than what is available in the training instances; so he/she will need to adapt the exercises accordingly - it may be a good idea to extract a list of users, and select what should be used for the different steps. It may also be a good idea to remind a student to NOT use the same demo instance to prepare for demos and to train - or there may be unpleasant surprises when delivering a demo
    • the Certification subscription allows to take certification exams, proctored from your own home. Watch out that the exam time is set in GMT - so make sure to take note of the correct time frame.
  • Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for these clarifications. As to "no learning hub" - as far as I can see these trainings are always delivered via learning hub, where you get a free temporary licence for with the little downside that the material is gone once this temp license expires, right?

    Or are other delivery options available, where you can keep access to the e-training material?

    As to the language selection:

    We found this out recently, when I could see a training offering from UK and my colleague from Germany couldn't (we both searched for trainings in English). And then we checked the US, where we found even more and checked search option "global", where we found nothing.

    To be honest: we had a good laugh at SAP cloud education in that moment as this is suggesting that whoever built and approved this search feature doesn't understand the whole point of e-trainings at all. And seriously: I'm sure you are loosing revenue that way as many learners would assume SAP is clever enough to provide the easiest way possible for customers to spend money on them.

    So, just as an idea: if you can offer a search option to restrict results by language only rather than location, it will help users and I'm sure you'll sell a few trainings more.

    Even better: allow to select a period of time the user can attend the VC sessions, as that's the big limiting factor.

    Best wishes


  • Hi Luke,

    Thanks for the info and there are lot of confusion ,i have two questions

    1,As a independent consultant i go with customer edition (HUB020) for 2500$  which is valid for a year and do you mean that iam eligible to go for any certification not spending any further ,ie there is no additional payment required for certification in


              Introduction to SuccessFactors HCM Academy (course code THR80)

    2)As a independent consultant If i go with certification as you said i will not get a provisioning ID ,may be later if i join with a company and inform the employer iam certified in SF will i get a provisioning id,



    • Hi Peter,

      1. You can take the self-learning with the customer edition (HUB020). The Virtual Instructor Led Classes (VLC) is priced separately.

      2. You will get Provisioning access if you join a partner

      All the best,


  • Hello Luke,

    Its always a pleasure reading your informative articles.

    I had some queries regarding SF Associate Certification, Can you please guide on the same.

    I am planning to go ahead with SF Associate certification as i am working with SF partner company, But my company is not sponsoring  me and i am self-sponsored, But I have an SSO id tagged to my company hence i was thinking to purchase HUB030 Subscription, But yesterday i got a a call from SAP India saying that HUB030 can only be purchased by a Company and If i am a self-sponsored then i need to purchase HUB020 but i will be treated as independent consultant, The problem is Independent consultant don't get the "Provisioning ID", SAP India person told me that once i complete the certification then they will link my certificate to my employer and then i will get a "Provisioning ID", also if i change my employer in future they will assign my certificate to my future employer so as to retain my "Provisioning ID", I am not sure about all this, If you have any idea about this information kindly share the same.

    It would be great help.

    Thanks & regards,


    • Hi BFP,

      SAP India are correct. It doesn't matter which subscription you get, if you are certified and work for a SuccessFactors partner company then you will get Provisioning access through that partner. Your certification stays with you so if you move to another SuccessFactors partner company then you will get Provisioning there too.

      I hope that clarifies.

      Best regards,


  • Hi Luke,

    Thanks for your quick response.

    Actually my doubt is related to "Provisioning ID', provisioning access will be granted as per client requirement, but will I get a Provisioning ID once i clear the certification.

    As per SAP India even my S-ID is linked to my company, i will be treated as independent consultant and later they will assign my certificate to my Employer and then i will be able to get a Provisioning ID, My main concern is about Provisioning ID, I am not sure if i will be able to get a Provisioning ID.

    Thanks & regards,


    • Hi BFP,

      If you work for a partner you will get Provisioning ID as soon as you complete certification. It doesn't matter if you are considered independent or not, SAP issues Provisioning IDs to companies for their employees that have completed certification, irrespective of whether they completed that certification at the company or not.

      Best regards,


    • Thanks for posting Vasily. I can't imagine many consultants implementing more than 2 or 3 modules, so I don't think too many people will be effected. I'd be interested to hear from a consultant that implements 4 or more different modules. I know a few consultants who 3 or 4 certifications but don't actively implement most of them.

      • Hi Luke! My  colleague implemented 4 different modules. It's obvious for emerging markets as there are not so many projects to have dedicated consultant for each module.

        • How regularly are they implementing 4 modules? Are they doing it regularly? And do they find it easy to stay up-to-date in all modules?

          • It happens. Especialy when practice only aapeared in Russia. If there are no expirience consultants in the solution, somebody has to be a pioneer. That's the way of cross-module expirience I mentioned.

  • Hi Luke,

    Appreciate your help on this issue.

    So I will go ahead with HUB020 and followed by THR80, THR81, THR99E followed by CER006.

    Thanks once again for clearing my Doubts πŸ™‚

    Thanks & regards,


  • Hi Shweta,

    Individual consultant can opt for CER006, but they wont get any provisioning id / access

    if they are not a employee of SAP partner company.

    Thanks & regards,


    • Thanks Bhushan.

      I am okay with that. Can you let me know the process to enroll.

      It would be great if you can share your email id.



    • Hi Ahmed,

      Both are strong solutions. SuccessFactors has significantly more customers than Workday and Employee Central is getting close to having more customers than Workday, so there is obvious momentum for both vendors. Both will continue to grow, although how long Workday can sustain being unprofitable for is yet to be seen.

      Best regards,


  • Hi Luke ,

    can two or three friends share the learning hub amount  and can all of the 3 appear for exam by paying exam fee



  • Hello Luke,

    I wonder if you could advice me more as I seem to be mixing up a few things which might no longer be relevant.

    Just to give you a background, I work for a Successfactors Customer (Not Partner) and I will be self sponsoring myself for Successfactors training (VLC) and then intend to write the Certification exam through teh Certification Hub thereafter.

    I do understand that I would not get access to Provisioning which is fine but I have read somewhere on the many posts that as an "Independent Consultant" I wouldn't be able to write the Certification exams, is this still the case or has events overtaken this?

    Secondly, I wish to attempt a second module certification without enrolling for VLC but just by self pacing through the learning materials on the SAP Learning Hub whilst my subscription is still valid, do you think this should be sufficient to pass the the second Certification?

    Kind Regards,


    • Hi Babs,

      It is correct that wouldn't be able to write the Certification exam, since only employees of partners can sit the Certification exam. Self-paced learning is sufficient to take certification, although it is not as in-depth as a VLC.

      All the best,


    • Hi Ahmed,

      You don't need to take the VLC to write the exam. However, you might not be able to answer all of the questions correctly without taking the VLC.

      Best regards,


  • Hi Luke

    Can you please clarify, as I understand that one can't write exam unless working with SF Partner ? If so door is still close for new comers ?

    Thanks - Syed

    • Hi Syed,

      It is correct that wouldn't be able to write the Certification exam, since only employees of partners can sit the Certification exam. However, I hear conflicting information coming from different people at SAP so it's hard to be 100% sure.

      All the best,


      • Hi Lucas

        Could you please tell me when SucessFactor Training and Certification Courses are going to take place?

        As  I am really interested on it. If you guys have some FAQ section regarding SucessFactor that you can share to me?

        I look forward to hearing from you

        Regards, Natalia

      • Hi Luke

        so as here, I am not sure how but heard few ex co-workers wrote the exam in Middle East without any association with any partner will confirm and update you and others as well.

        Thanks - Syed

        • Getting certification is not really the problem/issue. There are plenty of outfits out there that will happily snatch up your money to get you certified. However, getting a job(s) after that is tough (impossible?) if you are not working for an actual SF partner. You don't just get to "jump in and play" because you have a piece of paper that says you are "certified" like in the old SAP HR days. πŸ˜›

          • Hi Chris

            Lets be prepared for the opportunity. Jobs is something associated with luck but your preparation should be full to strike that lucky opportunity πŸ™‚ . I am ready to spend money as well but SAP is not πŸ™‚ as they need Partners so consultant will insist their companies to implement SF.

            thanks - Syed

  • Hi Luke

    For associate level certification you don't required to be with partner. Mean you can buy from certification hub C_THR81_1405 and can appear any time without any association.

    Below is the list of exam which are free and available for everyone now

    • C_THR81_1502 - SAP Certified Application Associate - Cloud HCM Employee Central
    • C_THR88_1502 - SAP Certified Application Associate - SAP Certified Application Consultant - SuccessFactors Learning
    • C_THR82_1411 - SAP Certified Application Associate - SuccessFactors Performance and Goals
    • C_THR86_1502 - SAP Certified Application Associate - SuccessFactors Compensation
    • C_C4C10_2015 - SAP Certified Application Consultant - SAP Cloud for Customer
    • C_C4C30_2015 - SAP Certified Development Consultant - SAP Cloud for Customer
    • C_C4C50_2015 - SAP Certified Integration Associate - SAP Cloud for Customer

    SAP Retired the E_THR85_1411 on July 31st.

    Now to keep you certification you have to appear in exam every 6 months πŸ˜† unless you get your professional certification

    More if you buy from certification hub you have have 6 attempts of above list with 3 attempts on each.

    For the professional level exam below are the conditions

    below quoted from SAP Website

    This expert level of Certification is based on successful project experience and does not require a new exam. SAP SuccessFactors Professional Certification shows the world that you have the highest level of competency on SuccessFactors products.

    Do you meet the requirements?

    • Are you an SAP SuccessFactors Partner or an SAP SuccessFactors Consultant?
    • Do you have a valid SuccessFactors Associate Certification?
    • Have you been part of 3 successful SuccessFactors implementations in the last 24 months?
      • 2 projects as lead consultant
      • 1 project as a supporting consulting

    If answer is yes than you have to fill the following Application form

    below is specimen as well


    one point to add - cost of certification hub is US $ 635

    Good Luck Everyone

    Thanks - Syed

      • Hi Chris

        Of course πŸ™‚ you have to take THR81 first so you will have Foundation of Success Factor and Employee Central, after that you can choose your expertise I am feeling more like medical professional πŸ˜›

        Currently above 7 exams are available if you take each in first attempt this mean 6 will cost you only US $ 635 above that if you have SAP ID (OSS) you will have 15 % discount valid till Dec 2015




  • Hi Luke,

    First of all, thank you for this successful blog which involves tons of information.

    I have a tiny question : Is THR95 - CDP course available now? I have heard that VLC type of this training is free of charge, do you have any idea?

    All the best,


    • Hi Dilek,

      Thanks so much! The CDP course is not yet available. The VLC offering foir this course is not free unfortunately.

      All the best,


      • Hi Luke

        Not sure, it will not come if someone buy Learning Hub Subscription? by chance do you have any list of courses available under Hub-020 or Hub-030 ?

        Thanks - Syed

        • Hi Syed,

          CDP comes later in the year. All courses listed under "What courses do SuccessFactors offer?" are available under HUB020 and HUB030.

          Best regards,


  • Hi Luke

    I need to ask a question please

    I am about to get the certificate for SuccessFactors Performance & Goals, there is a prospect customer who might be interested in implementing Performance & goals, Compensation and Recruiting Management. If I obtained my certificate will I have the Provisioning Access and be able to implement the three modules or this is not possible and the provisioning is provided by module so we have to hire 2 certified consultants for Recruiting and Compensation



      • Thanks for reply

        Do you mean I need to shadow with an expert first?

        What about Provisioning, is it given per module or one for all



    • Hi Emad,

      You get provisioning access once you have completed the Foundation course. However, it is highly advised to be the shadow consultant on your first project under an experienced lead. And I would never recommend someone to implement a solution if they have not at the very least taken a training course. Even passing the exam is not enough if not training has been taken.

      Best regards,


  • Hi Luke,

    I have just joined an SF partner company and they have registered me for the SAP learning hub. I have no previous experience in SAP or any enterprise application for that matter.Which module do you suggest I should get certified in first? Also is it necessary to understand/get certified in EC first to undertake certification in any other module ?



    • Hi Bibek,

      It's difficult to choose which application(s) to study first as you have no experience. I would just evaluate your persona skill set with your manager and look at the business needs before choosing. I would also ensure that you get some training on business processes, as the technology alone isn't enough to help you be a consultant.

      EC is not a requirement for other modules.

      Good luck!


  • Does SAP HCM Experience Count to become as SF Consultant?

    Why there is segregation of SAP and SF?

    Though SF and SAP HCM are independent product. Still SAP HCM   is dependent on SF for cloud . With out subject on SAP HCM for SF Certification. Definitely there will be  impact on SAP HCM Product .

    SAP should look in to this and should add SAP experience to take in to consideration to become SF Consultant

    • SAP HCM can be useful. The most useful skills from SAP HCM are the process knowledge (most important!) and technical knowledge you'll need when supporting data migration and integration.

      SAP HCM and SAP SuccessFactors are independent of each other - SAP HCM is not dependent on SAP SuccessFactors. You don't need one certification to have the other or have experience of implementing one to implement the other.

  • Hi Luke,

    I heard that there are still some modules (for example Recruiting Management) for which we can get certified in Learning hub.Please let me know if this certification in learning hub a valid SF certification.

    If yes,please let me know that are delta exams required to be taken even after the certification from learning hub.


  • Hi Luke,

    I would like to confirm that, Is SAP SuccessFactors certification is open for all now ?. One more question to ask is if I got training from third party and apply for SAP Certification on SAP certification cloud than would it be any issue ?


    • Hi MWK,

      SAP SuccessFactors training has been open to all for some time. Third party training is not considered valid by SAP. Any unofficial courses should be avoided.

      Best regards,



    Hi Luke,

    Could you please help me to clarify a certification question?

    I have completed and successfully passed the exams for SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Academy in Oct 2014 but I can’t see this certificate in my Credential Manager

    I have submitted several tickets to Credential Management team with no result.

    Can I somehow migrate my certificate in Credential Manager?



    Kind regards,


  • Hi Luke,

    Until recently there were a few SuccessFactors modules wherein if you answer the final exam of the Academy course from Learning Hub, an associate was given a certification in that module. Example: WFAP

    Could you please clarify a bit on which modules are currently available for certification from Learning Hub?

    Thanks in advance


    • You need to get a subscription on SAP Learning Hub to be able to take training and certification. Look for the Line of Business subscription for Human Resources. There are no prerequisites from training.