Posts Tagged ‘HRCI’

Passing Your HR Certification Exam

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

HR professionals who earn an industry certification distinguish themselves from their peers. More organizations are recognizing the benefits of hiring HR professionals who meet rigorous industry and education requirements. Employers understand that certified HR employees or job candidates are dedicated to the HR industry and have mastered the skills and tasks required to manage an HR department successfully.

The most notable HR certifying organization is the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). There are three main credentials HRCI offers: Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR). To receive a certification, HR professionals are required to obtain a specific amount of work experience, which is based on their education level, and pass the HRCI exam.

Passing the exam is no easy feat. Only 57 percent of PHR test takers and 52 percent of SPHR test takers passed the exam in HRCI’s most recent test period. Many organizations provide study aids to certification hopefuls. Some HR professionals regard the materials from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as the official study guide for the HRCI exam. Workforce explains that many professionals make this assumption because of the confusing affiliation SHRM has with HRCI, but HRCI’s executive director released a written statement that indicates the two HR organizations are separate and SHRM is not involved in any aspect of the HRCI exam.

Unlike SHRM, CAI offers multiple instructor-led study courses for PHR and SPHR Certification preparation. David Siler, SPHR, GPHR, Managing Partner of Distinctive HR, Inc., leads the study courses that boast superior results. His PHR and SPHR students have an extremely impressive pass rate of more than 90 percent. CAI offers flexibility in preparing for the exam with its web-based courses and its evening classes. The webinar format allows HR professionals outside of North Carolina to participate in the study courses as well.

In addition to exceptional classroom instruction and interaction, participants will receive many tools to prepare for the exam, including:

  • Study manual
  • Complete library of audio CDs
  • On-line access to videos on tough topics
  • On-line access to hundreds of practice exams
  • On-line access to learning and testing games
  • Flash cards
  • Tips on how to take standardized tests
  • Comprehensive final practice exam

Elizabeth Fuss, an HR consultant at the Cascade Employers Association, currently is enrolled in CAI’s PHR/SPHR Web-Based Certification Study Course. She is participating remotely in Oregon. Elizabeth has been blogging about her study course experience for the past six weeks on her company’s blog. During her first week in the program, Elizabeth offered insights on the course and David Siler to her readers:

Never have I been so engaged in a webinar. His approach was logical. The plan for the class: master the knowledge needed for the test and master test taking skills. He has been certified for 30 or so years and has always recertified by re-taking the tests. So when he says that he knows what he is talking about, I believe him. His style is laid-back, but focused. He held me captive talking about test taking – that is no easy task.

Visit CAI’s Certification page if you are looking for a proven system for preparing for the HRCI exam. Decide which course is right for you, and contact a member of CAI’s Learning and Development Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

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What is More Valuable, HR Certification or a Master’s Degree?

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

A record number of candidates sat for the Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) certification exams from the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) in 2010.

Despite that fact, only 13 percent of eligible HR professionals are certified. However, recent estimates show that between 40 and 60 percent of open mid-level or higher HR positions either “require” or “prefer” certification. In plain language, 13 percent of the workforce commands roughly half of the open HR labor market.

In this tough employment landscape, candidates need every advantage. Professional certification is a no-brainer. There is a raging chat room argument as to what is more valuable, a master’s degree in HR or HRCI certification. There are pros and cons to both sides. The fact that this argument won’t go away tells most experts they are equally valuable to one’s career. However, a master’s degree costs about $35,000 and takes two years of effort, while HR certification costs about $1,500 with a prep class, and takes 10 weeks.

Many people mistakenly assume the new eligibility requirements from HRCI will make it tougher for candidates to qualify for admission to the certification exams. For some, this is true. For others, it is easier to qualify.

While the PHR and GPHR exams require four years of professional HR experience and the SPHR requires seven, all three give credit for education. Subtract two years from the eligibility requirement if the candidate has a bachelor’s degree and subtract another one if he or she holds a master’s. This means that some PHR candidates only need one year of professional experience before they qualify to sit for the exam.

It is not a question as to “whether” you need certification; the question is “when.”  CAI offers a Web-based, evening PHR/SPHR Certification Study Course.  For additional information visit

Photo Source: Corey Ann

Human Resources Certification is an Advantage

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

HR Certification Institute (HRCI) Executive Director Mary Power was recently interviewed regarding the importance that employers place upon HR-certified applicants. A study conducted by HRCI showed 96 percent of hiring employers indicated that certification was an advantage for HR applicants and 91 percent felt it was an advantage for employees seeking promotion in HR.

According to the study, certification provides benefits for both companies and individuals. From the company standpoint, improvements were reported in customer satisfaction, employee engagement, turnover and profits.

In addition, employers and certified HR professionals indicated that certification:

  • Increases employee knowledge
  • Ensures HR knowledge is up to date
  • Demonstrates employee commitment to HR
  • Is good for the reputation of the organization
  • Increases employees’ confidence in their ability to do the job
  • Shows the organization takes HR seriously
  • Gives employees greater trust and confidence in the HR department
  • Makes HR professionals think more strategically

Every few years, the HR Certification exams are evaluated and updated to be certain they remain relevant to the real world of HR and that eligibility requirements are in line with professional certification standards. The new eligibility requirements for 2011 are as follows:

PHR (Professional in Human Resources) 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; or
4 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree.

SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) 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; or
7 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree.

GPHR (Global Professional in Human Resources) 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; or
4 years of demonstrated professional HR experience (with 2 of the 4 being global HR experience) with less than a Bachelor’s degree.

CAI provides PHR, SPHR and GPHR certification study courses, both in person and web-based.  Please see for additional information.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Three Reasons Why You Should Pursue the PHR, SPHR or GPHR This Fall – And How We Can Help

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

The Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) offers official designations for PHR (Professional in Human Resources), SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) and GPHR (Global Professional in Human Resources). To pursue these titles, the HRCI requires a person to have a minimum of two years of professional HR experience and to devote at least 51 percent of their daily activities to HR.

HRCI defines a typical PHR candidate as having two to four years of experience at the generalist level and most often implements rather than creates programs. A typical SPHR candidate will have four to eight years of progressive experience with more frequent program creation. The usual GPHR candidate has some experience developing and implementing global HR policies.

To help HR professionals prepare for the exams for each designation, CAI is offering PHR/SPHR and GPHR Certification Study Courses led by David Siler, SPHR, GPHR, MA, Managing Partner of Distinctive HR, Inc. The instructor-led study courses will take place at both our Raleigh and Greensboro training centers this fall.

Why would you or your organization want to devote many hours to study for this exam now? We can think of three main reasons:

  • The current eligibility standards for the exams will change after this fall/winter 2010 testing period and require more experience. That means, for example, that a prospective GPHR applicant will need to have two or three or four years of demonstrated global professional (exempt-level) HR experience combined with the respective educational requirements to qualify for the exam. And HR professionals who are eligible for the SPHR exam under the current eligibility requirements may only qualify for the PHR exam in 2011. These new rules could delay your organization’s efforts to be certified.
  • Study courses such as the one CAI offers greatly increase your odds of successfully earning the certification. For example, David’s students have extremely impressive pass rates of more than 90 percent for the PHR/SPHR, compared to national pass rate averages in the mid 50s. Also, each exam has different versions, even within every session people take it. Therefore, talking to someone who passed it previously will not provide you with the knowledge you think will succeed in passing the exam.

  • The certification provides professional recognition for your HR program that gives it a competitive edge. For prospective employees coming to your organization and clients working with you, the knowledge that your firm knows the most current principles and core practices of HR management can be the deciding factor for them in whether to select you for their business over others in your industry. That can improve your bottom line considerably in 2011.

Applications for PHR, SPHR and GPHR in the current winter semester are available from HRCI through Oct. 8, with a late application deadline of Nov. 12. To apply, visit

For more details on our PHR/SPHR and GPHR Certification Study Courses and how to register for them, visit our website,, or contact Dawn Mooney at or call (919) 713-2560.

Photo Source: Affiliated H.R. Co.