HR CERTIFICATION RESOURCE CENTER FOR HRCI

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Associate Professional Human Resource with HRCI

3-5 YEARS OF HR EXPERIENCE

Professional Human Resource with HRCI

7+ YEARS OF HR EXPERIENCE

Senior Professional Human Resource with HRCI

Overview of HRCI Exams - aPHR, PHR, and SPHR

HRCI EXAM PASS RATES FOR THE APHR, PHR, AND SPHR

aPHR
74%
PHR
61%
SPHR
53%

What's on the exam(s)?

All three exams, the aPHR, PHR and SPHR by HRCI covers the functional areas of leadership and strategy, talent planning and acquisition, learning and development, employee relations and development, and total rewards for leaders are working in senior and more experienced HR position. With HRCI, the scope of the exam is shared in what they call a Body of Skills and Knowledge. 

All three exams have knowledge questions, but the type of topics asked vary depending on your exam. For example, your aPHR which is an entry level HR certification covers more foundational HR topics like employment law and basic HR terminology to support the organization. For the PHR, expect more topics in a broader scope of areas beyond the aPHR including total rewards, employee and labor relations, and a new category as of 2024 called HR Information Management. For the SPHR, this is a senior level exam so you will expect the PHR topics plus more focus on business, talent management and workforce planning as well as the HR Information Management category which is expanded for the SPHR to also include risk and security. 

To gain more insights on what is covered on the exam, you can view our free Insider Secrets webinar series.

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Learn More by joining our free webinar

Workology offers a free HRCI certification prep webinar that discusses many of the exam foundations in more detail. Click the link to sign up below.

Testing Windows and Fees for HRCI Exams

Each exam requires that HR leaders apply for the exam and pay a fee. The application will include information about your work history including experience working in HR and your education background.

For HRCI, the testing window is more simple. You submit your application and once approved, you must schedule your exam within 180 days.

Exam Fees

Application Fee (aPHR®, aPHRi™, PHR®, PHRca®, PHRi™ SPHR®, SPHRi™, and GPHR®)

(non-refundable)

aPHR®, aPHRi™

PHR®, PHRca®, PHRi™

SPHR®, SPHRi™, and GPHR®

Second Chance Insurance (SCI) allows a candidate to pre-purchase the opportunity to retake the same exam type a second time if the candidate is unsuccessful the first attempt.

Cancellation or exam change fee

HRCI Price

$100 USD

$300 USD

$395 USD

$495 USD

$250 USD

(pre-paid and non-refundable)

$150

(nonrefundable)

How Do I Study for the HRCI Exam?

There are many ways to study and prepare for your exams with HRCI. Whether it’s the aPHR, PHR, or SPHR, we recommend that you first assess your strengths and weaknesses taking a self-assessment. This will help you understand what areas should be your primary focus. As far as studying, we recommend at least 12 weeks of studying 3-7 hours a week. In our signature HR review program, we offer a 12 week study schedule along with a comprehensive self-assessment designed to help you organize and focus your study efforts.

Studying for the SPHR Certification Exam

Here are five things to consider that can help with your HRCI exam study and preparation.

#1 – Accountability and scheduling.

Having a plan (as opposed to a single deadline) can help keep you on schedule, especially when your time to study is limited to nights, weekends or your lunch hour. Programs like Workology’s study prep break your studying down into manageable bites with multiple deadlines, setting up a series of accomplishment milestones as opposed to a singular finish date. This helps to ensure you have absorbed each section of exam prep as an item you can check off of a list, and holds you accountable for the deadline for each section.

#2 – Make time for studying.

Your job, especially if you’re already working in human resources at any level, tends to consume a large percentage of your time. If you’re looking into SHRM Certification, it means you’re also looking for ways to be more efficient with your time and better at your job. Like any type of training, in order to accomplish the goal, sometimes you have to prioritize tasks differently so you have time to study. Setting aside blocks of time and treating them as appointments you must keep can help move you forward in the learning process.

#3 – Studying regularly and consistently over time.

Consistency is key to retaining the information you learn. Following a regular study schedule and having a roadmap to follow, can help you retain the information you studied in the first week as well as you do that last. A learning roadmap, which is part of Workology’s certification prep programs, gives you a solid foundation and each block of new information builds on what you previously learned, with real-world examples and solutions to situational questions. We offer this in every part of our SHRM certification prep programs.

#4 – A community of support is critical.

Having a method of communicating with like-minded people who are at a similar stage in their human resources career and can commiserate or share information about their study process can help keep you motivated. You’re not out there on your own and you’re not the only person who is struggling to keep up with a study workload along with a full-time job and family. An online community of people who are also studying for their SHRM Certification can be the support you need to keep up with your study schedule and a cheering section when it comes time to take your exam.

#5 – Adapting to your specific learning style.

There are seven types of learning styles, and you may fall under more than one. It’s important to know how you learn best in order to absorb information in the most efficient way. For example, visual learners have had great results with flashcards and aural learners study more effectively by listening to audio courses.

TYPES OF LEARNING STYLES

Visual Learning Using Pictures and Spacial Understanding

Aural Learning Means You Prefer Sound and Music

Physical Learners Prefer Using Their Body and Hands to Touch

Social Learners Prefer to Learn in Groups or with People

Verbal Learners Learn with Words Using Writing & Speech

Solitary Learners Prefer to Work Alone or Use Self-Study

Logical Leaners Rely on Logic, Reasons and Systems

YOUR RECOMMENDED COURSE IS ACE THE HR EXAM

Click on each course to be directed to a new page with more about Workology’s HR Certification prep program(s).

HOW WORKOLOGY HELPS YOU PREPARE FOR YOUR HR CERTIFICATION EXAMS

We offer HR certification prep that ACCELERATES YOUR LEARNING while working with your busy schedule. COURSE PRICES START AT $89.

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