The Philadelphia Chapter of SHRM strongly encourages its members to pursue HRCI certification. While pursuit of certification is voluntary, this accomplishment demonstrates that you have, as an HR business professional, demonstrates a strong commitment to your chosen field for which you have achieved a solid combination of experience, education and training. Achieving an HR certification designation differs from other certificate programs because in order to sit for SHRM certification exams, you must have possess a specific years of experience. Whether you are interested in advancing your HR career or in gaining more education in the HR body of knowledge, obtaining professional certification is the right means for you to achieve it.
The Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) develops the criteria for HR certifications. Those are:
- Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
This is designed for HR professionals whose primary responsibilities are tactical rather than strategic, who focus on HR program implementation rather than creation and who function primarily within the HR department rather than organization wide.
- Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
This certification is designed for HR professionals whose primary responsibilities involve designing and planning HR policies and practices and whose decisions have an impact both within and outside the organization.
- Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR)
This is for HR professionals with cross-border responsibilities who develop and implement international HR strategies that affect international HR assignments and operations.
- PHR-CA and SPHR-CA
Designed for HR professionals with job responsibilities in the state of California. Applicants must have a current PHR or SPHR to qualify.
Eligibility Requirements for Taking the Certification Exam
- PHR Eligibility
- 1 year of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher
- 2 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Bachelor’s degree
- 4 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree
- SPHR Eligibility
- 4 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher
- 5 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Bachelor’s degree
- 7 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree
- GPHR Eligibility
- 2 years of demonstrated global professional HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher
- 3 years of demonstrated professional HR experience (with 2 of the 3 being global HR experience) with a Bachelor’s degree
- 4 years of demonstrated professional HR experience (with 2 of the 4 being global HR experience) with less than a Bachelor’s degree
Preparing for the Certification Exam
To prepare for the exam, you will need to reserve enough time to study. Preparation requires at least one hour of study per day beginning at least three months before your exam date with more time needed in the two or three weeks preceding the exam.
In our area, Villanova University conducts its Villanova/SHRM Learning System certificate course in partnership with Philadelphia SHRM and is held in ten area locations. You can find more information on our site at http://www.phillyshrm.org/careers/villanova_hr_certification.htm.
You may want to study on your own, but you must remember that the exam is not just knowledge based. It also relies on HR experience. Accordingly, relying on textbooks alone will not fully prepare you for the exam, so you may want to form a study network with others who are also taking it.
The exam and the study material has significantly changed for the certification exam beginning with the May-June 2012 testing period. No matter which materials you employ to prepare for taking the exam, it is important that you purchase those specifically prepared for this year's test.
For information about the benefits of certification, the testing dates and locations, and related information, go to http://www.hrci.org/hrcertification.aspx?id=159. You may also want to check out HRCI's Certification Matters blog at http://hrci.org/Blog.aspx?blogid=2147483904. If you have questions about certification in general, please contact our Certification Chair, Sheila Scanlon, at email@example.com.