Professional in Human Resources

Professional in Human Resources

Professional in Human Resources (PHR) is an industry certification for people working in the human resource management profession. The certification, awarded by the HR Certification Institute, signifies that individuals possess the theoretical knowledge and practical experience in human resource management necessary to pass a rigorous examination demonstrating a mastery of the body of knowledge in the field. [ [ HRCI - Certification: Overview - HRCIWEB01 ] ]


To be eligible to sit for the PHR exam, an individual must be able to document two years of exempt-level (professional) human resource management experience. Although two years of exempt-level HR experience is required to sit for the exam, the ideal candidate for this certification is an individual who: [Citation | last = Human Resources Certification Institute | first = | author-link = | last2 = | first2 = | author2-link = | year =2007 | date = | title =PHR-SPHR-GPHR Certification Handbook | place =Alexander, VA | publisher = Society for Human Resource Management | edition = | volume = | id = | isbn = | url =]

*Focuses on program implementation.
*Has tactical/logistical orientation.
*Has accountability to another HR professional within the organization.
*Has two to four years of exempt-level generalist HR work experience, but because of career length may lack the breadth and depth of a more senior-level generalist.
*Focuses his or her impact on the organization within the HR department rather than organization wide.
*Commands respect through the credibility of knowledge and the use of policies and guidelines to make decisions.


The exams are administered at computer-based testing centers throughout the world. The exams are offered twice a year: May 1 through June 31 and December 1 through January 31.

The exam is knowledge- and experience-based. Candidates are given four hours to answer 225 multiple-choice questions. The test specification are based on the PHR/SPHR Body of Knowledge, which is comprised of six functional areas [Citation | last = Human Resources Certification Institute | first = | author-link = | last2 = | first2 = | author2-link = | year =2007 | date = | title =PHR-SPHR-GPHR Certification Handbook | place =Alexander, VA | publisher = Society for Human Resource Management | edition = | volume = | id = | isbn = | url =]

trategic management

Developing, contributing to, and supporting the organization’s mission, vision, values, strategic goals, and objectives; formulating policies; guiding and leading the change process; and evaluating HR’s contributions to organizational effectiveness.

Workforce planning and employment

Developing, implementing, and evaluating sourcing, recruitment, hiring, orientation, succession planning, retention, and organizational exit programs necessary to ensure the workforce’s ability to achieve the organization’s goals and objectives

Human resource development

Developing, implementing, and evaluating activities and programs that address employee training and development, performance appraisal, talent and performance management, and the unique needs of employees to ensure that the knowledge, skills, abilities, and performance of the workforce meet current and future organizational and individual needs.

Total rewards

Developing/selecting, implementing/administering, and evaluating compensation and benefits programs for all employee groups that support the organization’s strategic goals, objectives, and values.

Employee and labor relations

Analyzing, developing, implementing/administering, and evaluating the workplace relationship between employer and employee, in order to maintain relationships and working conditions that balance employer and employee needs and rights in support of the organization’s strategic goals, objectives, and values.

Risk management

Developing, implementing, and evaluating programs, plans, and policies which provide a safe and secure working environment and to protect the organization from liability.


Recertification is the cornerstone of any reputable certification program. Certifications differ from certificate programs because certifications, by definition, 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 previous work experience or recertification. To maintain the PHR credential, those passing the PHR exam must recertify every three years through continuing education activities. Recertifying a certificant's designation demonstrates a commitment to stay abreast of changes taking place in the human resource management field.

See also:

Society for Human Resource Management

Human resource management

Professional certification


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