How to Become a Payroll Supervisor

Payroll Supervisor Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $41,570
Avg. Pay / hour $19.99
Education 3-4 Years
Job Outlook -3%

A Payroll Supervisor is responsible for what might be considered the most important part of someone’s job – the paycheck.

They make sure all employees at an organization receive accurate payment for their hard work and have to handle all payroll responsibilities in a timely manner so that all employees get paid on time with no hassles.

These professionals have to use and maintain employees’ personal private information and are therefore required to be highly trusted individuals.

A Payroll Supervisor is also responsible for managing two or more Payroll Practitioners while also working under the guidance of a Payroll Manager or Director.

Depending on the size of an organization, a payroll department might be structured in this manner from highest to lowest position:

  • Director/Vice President of Payroll
  • Payroll Manager/Director
  • Payroll Supervisor
  • Payroll Practitioner

Depending on the size of a company, Payroll Supervisors can work in a specific specialty in payroll.

One specialty manages the unit that is responsible for processing and preparing payroll while the other unit handles tax records and reporting as well as the administration of benefits and payroll systems.

Interested individuals who want to become a Payroll Supervisor should have some inherent skills such as:

  • Organization
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Provide confidentiality for employee information
  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Proficiency with computers and software applications

Education Requirements to Become a Payroll Supervisor

In addition to having a minimum of an Associate’s degree, employers look for candidates with at least 3 to 5 years of experience in payroll administration.

Those who want to become a Payroll Supervisor should begin their career by seeking licensure in combination with an Associate’s degree.

Candidates can focus on a curriculum in business, accounting or finance.

Candidates can also major in one of these specialties at an accredited four year college in order to become a Payroll Supervisor.

In order to have a competitive background in the field, candidates should seek licensure in order to strengthen their background.

The American Payroll Association offers training and licensure for Certified Payroll Professionals.

Visit their website for more information regarding requirements to take this exam: APA Certification Requirements.

The website also provides information regarding training programs and educational information.

Payroll Supervisor Job Description

The main duty a Payroll Supervisor needs to fulfill is the management and organizing of payroll in order to secure the timely payment of wages for employees.

They will achieve this by implementing their knowledge of payroll and accounting principles, practices and procedures.

Payroll Supervisors use a handful of skills that should include mathematical knowledge, use of computerized equipment and payroll software as well as the comprehensive understanding of common tax forms and privacy laws.

A Payroll Supervisor can find work at an organization that specializes in payroll or at companies that are large enough to house a payroll department.

Candidates can find employment as Payroll Supervisors in several types of industries.

Companies with their own payroll department can be a part of many industries such as healthcare, retail, government, education or manufacturing firms.

Some other skills that Payroll Supervisors should have in order to succeed in this profession include:

  • Ability to meet tight deadlines
  • Proficiency with computer applications
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Ability to follow laws and regulations
  • Ability to secure confidential information
  • Experience using payroll applications
  • Knowledge of tax forms and regulations
  • Ability to use data spreadsheets
  • Strong organizational and communication skills: oral and written

Payroll Supervisor Salary and Career Path

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment for Payroll Supervisors is expected to grow at 7% to 13% through the year 2018.

Individuals who want to become a Payroll Supervisor can expect their duties to change because of the frequent and popular use of technological programs and software.

The national average salary for Payroll Supervisors is approximately $30,000 to $40,000 per year.

Salary will determine on a variety of factors including geographical location, years of experience and educational background.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$64,120
New Hampshire$52,080
New Jersey$54,260
New Mexico$42,580
New York$54,310
North Carolina$45,380
North Dakota$53,520
Rhode Island$55,970
South Carolina$37,770
South Dakota$40,920
West Virginia$38,460
Puerto Rico$28,200
Virgin Islands$42,480

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $64,120.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $64,120
Washington - $57,170
Alaska - $56,680
California - $56,200
Rhode Island - $55,970
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks, OCC Code 43-3051, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a payroll supervisor do?

A payroll supervisor is a person who makes sure that the employees of an organization or company receive accurate paychecks on time.

Payroll systems certainly do differ, and larger corporations might have slightly different procedures in comparison to smaller businesses.

However, payroll supervisors have to be able to follow all the rules involved in the distribution and processing of the paychecks.

In order to become a payroll supervisor, a candidate has to possess the following skills – be able to meet deadlines and maintain confidentiality; be organized and attentive to details; have strong communication and computer skills; be able to create and fill in spreadsheets, and so on.

In most of the cases, payroll supervisors are also responsible for preparing tax and business documents.

How much do payroll supervisors make?

On average, payroll supervisors earn around $60.500 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to make anywhere between $45.000 and $78.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on your overall experience, the employer, and even the geographical area.

Payroll supervisors that work in Los Angeles, for example, make an average of 16.5% more than the national average.

An entry-level payroll supervisor makes around $52.000 per year; the specialists that have 1-4 years of experience earn about $53.000 annually, while top-level professionals with over 10 years of experience can make more than $61.000.

How much does it cost to become a payroll supervisor?

Employers would, in general, require the candidates to have a diploma or a degree in any of the following fields – accounting, business administration, human resources, commerce or anything related.

Typically, a year in a university would cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $30.000 per year, depending on a wide range of factors (whether you are an in-state student or not, whether the school is private or public, the overall prestige of the institution, etc.).

You might have to become a Certified Payroll Professional or undergo Fundamental Payroll Certification training.

The CPP testing fee ranges from $380 to $550.

What is the demand for payroll supervisors?

From 2018 to 2028, the payroll supervisor job market is expected to shrink by 3% in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Payroll supervisors should seek promotions to managerial positions.

The advancement of technology will soon make the job of a payroll supervisor pretty much irrelevant.

How long does it take to become a payroll supervisor?

The educational requirements for a payroll supervisor vary by industry; however, a lot of employers look for candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

It will take you 4 years to acquire the latter and 2 years to obtain an associate’s degree.

To become a Certified Payroll Professional, you would need to have at least 18 months of professional experience; moreover, you would have to obtain the FRC designation and complete all of the courses offered by the APA.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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