Let$p$be a prime integer, 1≤$s$≤$r$be integers and$F$be a field of characteristic different from$p$. We find upper and lower bounds for the essential$p$-dimension ed_{$p$}( $$ Al{{g}_{{{{p}^r},{{p}^s}}}} $$ ) of the class $$ Al{{g}_{{{{p}^r},{{p}^s}}}} $$ of central simple algebras of degree$p$^{$r$}and exponent dividing$p$^{$s$}. In particular, we show that ed($Alg$_{8,2})=ed_{2}($Alg$_{8,2})=8 and ed_{$p$}( $$ Al{{g}_{{{{p}^2},p}}} $$ )=$p$^{2}+$p$for$p$odd.