This is a mid-level HR certification through HRCI. In order to qualify you must have the following education and/or experience combination:
– Have at least one year of experience in a professional-level HR position and a Master’s degree or higher, OR
– Have at least two years of experience in a professional-level HR position and a Bachelor’s degree, OR
– Have at least four years of experience in a professional-level HR position.
Learn more about what HRCI considers professional-level experience here.
The PHR exam 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 for the SPHR. Access the SPHR BoK here. To gain more insights on what is covered on the exam, you can view our free Insider Secrets webinar series.
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.
Application Fee (aPHR®, aPHRi™, PHR®, PHRca®, PHRi™ SPHR®, SPHRi™, and GPHR®)
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
(pre-paid and non-refundable)
Interested? Visit HRCI and create an account with HRCI. Once complete, you’ll be redirected to the SPHR exam application.
Once you complete the SPHR exam application and are approved, you must schedule your exam within 180 days. Exams can be taken remotely via proctor or in-person at a testing center.
With the PHR, you can first assess your strengths and weaknesses by taking a self-assessment. This will help you understand what areas should be your primary focus. 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 o the areas where you might be weakest.
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.
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 HR 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.
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 HR certification prep programs.
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 HR 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.
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.
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
With HRCI exams, including the aPHR, PHR, and SPHR, all test questions are multiple choice and offer a single correct answer with four different options. The exams are weighted, meaning that each question is scored differently. The PHR exam consists of 115 scored questions in addition to 25 pre-test questions that are not included in your final result. For HRCI certification exams, a score of at least 500 is required to pass, and the possible score range is between 100 to 700.
HR Knowledge Questions
DOWNLOAD 25 QUESTION HR PRACTICE TEST
Access 25 FREE Sample Test Questions for your PHR exam with HRCI
Easy access on learning portal or mobile app
Interactive training that improves memory
Affordable course options that work
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PS – I’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions about our program below.
Within one (1) business day of processing payment, HRCI will send you an auto-generated email to confirm receipt of your application. You will receive a separate email notification with the status of the application (approved, need more information, or selected for random audit). Once eligibility is approved, you must schedule an exam appointment within the application approval’s eligibility period of 180 days.
HRCI partners with Pearson VUE to deliver certification exams year-round. Because exam dates for all HRCI certifications are available on a first-come, first-served basis, you should do so as quickly as possible. Scheduling early increases the chance you will receive your preferred testing date, time and location.
If you reschedule your exam appointment, you must pay Pearson VUE’s nonrefundable fee each time you change/cancel your appointment. You are not guaranteed a new appointment if you try to reschedule. Pearson VUE charges a rescheduling fee of $150 USD.
You must reschedule your exam appointment at least:
• two (2) business days before your original test center appointment or all fees will be forfeited.
• One-hour before the beginning of your virtual online proctored exam session or all fees will be forfeited.
The Professional in Human Resources test is graded by the HRCI. The HRCI uses the statistical Angoff method to establish the amount of correct responses required to achieve a passing score. The passing score is set at 500.
The pass rate for the PHR is 61%
Your PHR certification is valid for three years after testing. To maintain your PHR credential, you must earn 60 recertification credits over a three-year time span or retake the exam.
Exam Fee*: $395.00 + Application Fee: $100.00
* Once an exam application is approved, no refunds will be made whether a candidate withdraws or no longer wishes to take the exam.
Obtaining your HR certification will help you in increasing your income in your current role and in obtaining promotions in as little as 6 months. HR certification with SHRM or HRCI offers benefits for HR leaders. According to a study from PayScale.com, those who earn HR certification make $10,000 or more per year every year and get promoted 14% faster than their non-certified HR peers.
Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, an online resource and community for HR professionals. Through Workology, she shares insights, best practices, and resources to help HR practitioners stay up-to-date with the latest trends and strategies in the industry. Jessica’s latest book is Digitizing Talent: Creative Strategies for the Digital Recruiting Age published by SHRM in 2023.
Jessica earned a SPHR designation in 2008, SHRM-SCP in 2015, and a Master Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) certification in 2021. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Business from Kansas State University and a Masters in Business Administration from Webster University.
Jessica has over two decades of experience in HR leadership and education, and has worked with organizations to develop effective employer branding campaigns, improve candidate experiences, and leverage technology for talent acquisition. She created Ace the HR Exam to offer easy and affordable study methods for HR professionals who want to pass their HR Certification with SHRM and HRCI.
Check out our Ace HR Audio Courses for Global Or International Certification here!