Understanding the Overall Process for a Human Resources Certification

A career in human resources requires certain skill sets that can be learned through various avenues, such as a degree program through a college or through a human resources certification program. The requirements for working in human resources will vary depending on the type of company or organization you work for, and even the state you work in.

Making the decision to pursue your human resources certification can be a beneficial step to landing your ideal career in human resources. As you begin to research the different types of certification available, you may come across programs that advocate certain certifications and offer training for taking these certification exams. Before you commit to the sales pitch of any of these programs, first decide which human resources certification is best for you.

Professional in Human Resources, PHR

This human resources certification, called the Professional in Human Resources, equips students with a powerful certification that will give them a real advantage in the job market as well as earn them recognition at their current jobs. The certification is a 4 hour exam that asks over 200 multiple choice questions and is provided by the Human Resources Certification Institute.

The exam will test a candidate’s knowledge in the field of human resources, which can be very extensive. Many individuals opt to take preparation courses or buy useful study aids to prepare. The exam is offered twice a year and will demonstrate to current potential employers that you meet industry standards for knowledge and skill sets in human resources. The exam does require you have worked in human resources for two years prior to attempting certification, and many industry experts even recommend accumulating four years of experience before taking the test.

Senior Professional in Human Resources, SPHR

The next level of certification after earning your PHR is the Senior Professional in Human Resources, or SPHR. This certification is similar to the PHR, except it tests a higher body of knowledge and skill sets than that of the more generalized PHR exam.

The SPHR serves individuals who are interesting in fulfilling higher positions within human resources. The certification denotes that an individual has achieved a high degree of understanding on how to create and implement strategies surrounding human resources. People with an SPHR certification are often hired to fill positions that require constructing policies that can be used within a company or used as a model for other companies and organizations.

Global Professional in Human Resources, GPHR

Certification as a Global Professional in Human Resources, or GPHR, denotes that an individual has met human resources certification for industry standards in human resources to work efficiently in a global capacity. Individuals who seek this certification will be appealing to international companies that seek individuals with a transient capacity to understand and implement human resources initiatives at home and abroad.
Before you can sit for the GPHR exam, you will likely need to fulfill human resources certification requirements at the SPHR level. The exam has similar requirements, including minimum experience in the field.

PHR/SPHR California Certification

California is one of the only states that require its own unique certification exam to meet standards set by the state. The test requirements are fairly simple, but the material tested for both certification exams will focus on a body of knowledge and skill set that has been deemed to meet the specific requirements of the state. If you live in California, you will want to ensure that you are preparing for the California certification, especially if you invest in study aids or other supplementation.

There are a few different avenues you can take to get your certification, and the higher your certification the more valuable you will appear to employers, which will result in higher salaries.