What is Certification?

Certification is a voluntary action by a professional group to establish system to grant recognition to professionals who have met a stated level of training and work experience. Certified individuals are usually issued a certificate attesting that they have met the standards of the credentialing organization and are entitled to make the public aware of their credentialed status usually through the use of acronyms (i.e. PHR, SPHR, or GPHR) after their names.

Certificates differ from certificate programs because certifications, by definitions include a work experience component. Certificate programs on the other hand award certificates once a course of study has been completed and do not require pervious work experience.

Why is certification desirable?

Certification sets those with the credential apart or above those without it. There are a number of advantages to seeking certificate. Certification becomes a public recognition of professional achievement – both within and outside of the profession. For many, achieving certification becomes a personal professional goal – a way to test knowledge and to measure it against one’s peers. Others see certification as an aid to career advancement.

Purpose and Use of certification

PHR and SPHR certifications show that the holder has demonstrated mastery of the HR body of knowledge and through recertification has accepted the challenge to stay informed of new developments in the HR field.

The PHR and SPHR exams are completely voluntary. Organizations or individuals incorporating PHR and SPHR certification as a condition of employment or advancement do so of their own volition. Individuals should determine for themselves whether the use of this process, including its eligibility and recertification requirements when coupled with any other requirements imposed by individuals or organizations meets their need and complies with any applicable laws.

The PHR and SPHR designations are a visible reminder to peers and coworkers of the holder’s significant professional achievement. PHR and SPHR certified professionals should proudly display their certificates and use the credentials on business correspondence

Certification Denial and Revocation:

Certification may be denied or revoked for any of the following reason:

1) Falsification of work experience or other information on the exam application.
2) Misrepresentation of work experience or other information on the exam application
3) Violation of testing procedures
4) Failure to pass the certification exam
5) Failure to meet recertification requirements.

Candidates whose certifications are denied or revoked should contact HRCI for more information about how to appeal the denial or revocation. There is no appeal based on failure to pass the exam or to recertify.

Exam overview

1) 225 multiple choice questions
2) Four hours to complete
3) Administered by computer
4) Administered only in English

Are you ready?

Take the HRCI Online Assessment Exam.

There are two levels of certification the professionals in Human Resources (PHR) and the senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Both exams are generalist (i.e. they assess all the functional areas of the HR field) but differ in terms of focus and the cognitive level of questions . PHR questions tend to be at an operational / technical level. SPHR questions tend to be more at the strategic and /or policy level. HRCI exams are offered only in English.

Test questions on both exams reflect the most recently published tests specifications. The exams are multiple choice and consist of 200 scored questions plus 25 pretest questions randomly distributed throughout the exam (a total of 225 questions). Each question lists four possible answers only one of which is the correct or the best possible answer. The answer to each question can be derived independently of the answer to any other question. Four hours are allotted to complete the exam. All exams are administered by the computer at more than 250 parametric testing centers. There are no paper and pencil exam administrations.

Pretest questions are not counted in scoring. They are, however, essential in building the PHR and SPHR item (or test questions) banks and are on the exam to statistically assess their difficulty level and effectiveness at discriminating between candidates who meet the passing standards and those who do not. The information gathered in the pretest process determines whether or not the question will be included in a future exam.

On the test day, answer questions that are easy first and mark the more difficult ones to return to later. There is no penalty or guessing on try to answer the entire question. Unanswered questions are counted as incorrect.

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