PHR Certification | PHR Exam Requirements

PHR Certification Award

Professional Human Resources certification, more commonly known as PHR certification, is a great choice for an experienced HR professional who has yet to fulfill their career potential. PHR certification is designed for those who: answer to another HR professional with approximately two years professional experience in HR and have a desire to improve their credentials and chances for promotion. If this describes your professional HR scenario, and you meet all of the eligibility requirements, maybe it’s time to consider PHR Certification.

In order to obtain PHR certification, one must take the PHR Certification exam. The exam’s eligibility requirements differ depending on the ratio of occupational to educational experience one possesses. A masters degree in HR accompanied with one year of on-the-job experience, a B.A. with two years of work experience, or four years of professional experience for anyone with less than a B.A., will all make you eligible to take the PHR certification exam. Once it’s deemed that PHR Certification is possible for you, it’s time to choose your method of study for the exam.

Applying for and Paying for PHR Certification

There are only two HR certification exams a year, so they fill up quickly and it’s important to apply as soon as possible. Applications are generally accepted from 5-2 months up until the date of the exam, and late applicants may be accepted as soon as a month prior to the exam, although a $75 fee will be issued in this case. Applications can be completed online at the Human Resources Certification Institutes website. The cost of the PHR Certification exam itself is $300, but depending on your method of preparation, total costs can vary.

PHR Certification Exam Preparation

There are a number of ways you can prepare yourself for the PHR certification exam. There are websites devoted to providing physical, and online preparation materials for the exam. Both online and traditional Universities offer prep courses for the exam, so there’s a course out there for any one’s schedule.

The exam is composed of 6 sectors of HR knowledge:

  • Strategic Business Management 12%
  • Workforce Planning and Employment 26%
  • Human Resource Development 17%
  • Total Rewards 16%
  • Employee and Labor Relations 22%
  • Risk Management 7%

Much of this knowledge is expected to have been obtained throughout your HR education and career. Depending on when you received your education and the position you hold, your knowledge of HR may be a bit dated or incomplete, so knowing which areas to study is vital to passing the PHR Certification exam.

The PHR Certification Exam

The process of taking the exam, and the content featured in the exam, is made to be as predictable as possible. Exam-takers are allowed four hours to complete all of the questions. The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions, made up of the six areas mentioned previously. For a complete guide to the body of knowledge encompassed in the test, click here. While the exam is costly and difficult, there should be some relief in knowing that you will be fully refunded if you don’t pass.

The Benefits of Obtaining PHR Certification

Being able to add the PHR designation to your resume is beneficial for numerous reasons. Obtaining any type of HR certification is a wise career move, but PHR certification is particularly useful because it’s intended for those professionals who have some experience, but need an extra boost to get promoted within their HR department. As with most extended, career-based education, it’s an investment few professionals regret.

PHR certification makes you stand out to current, and prospective employers. All HR certifications require re-certification after three years, so by committing to this, you are showing employers how serious you are about staying current in your field. It also serves as evidence that you met all of the eligibility requirements, and that you have the knowledge necessary to operate as an HR professional successfully.

If you are at a point in your career where PHR certification is a logical next step, and you meet all of the eligibility requirements, why not take the exam? The benefits of obtaining PHR certification surely outweigh the cost, time and effort required to pass the examination. Making a worthwhile investment in your HR career by obtaining PHR certification, is a more than logical choice. If you still need to get some education under your belt, start by researching human resources bachelors degree or HR masters degree options. Many can be completed online while still gaining valuable on-the-job experience.

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Human Resources Certification By State


New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina

North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Article By Emily Manke

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