PHR Certification You Need to Know Before Starting a Career in HR

Human resources practitioners can gain Professional in Human resources, or PHR, designation by giving an examination developed by the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). The PHR certification is not a rating, in itself; it is the base examination for professionals who often are new to mid-stage career HR professionals.

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The HRCI exists the registered trademark for PHR certification, as well as marks for the senior professional in human resources, global professional in human resources, and California certification.

Professional HR certification gives working human resources professionals with proof of their knowledge, experience, and commitment to their career in human resources. HRCI Certification exams are open to candidates who have the right combination of education and on-the-job experience needed to fill responsible professional roles in the field.

In the competing human resources field, holding a PHR certification can provide candidates an advantage when it gets to getting interviews, being hired or promoted from within for a professional position, and making above-average wages.

On average, salaries of certified HR professionals are 30% higher than those of their uncertified counterparts. Certified individuals report more excellent reliability, career advancement, and professional recognition as a consequence of getting professional HR credentials.

To be respected professional-level, a candidate’s work in human resources must hold a particular degree of advanced level knowledge and skill, discretionary decision-making power, responsibility, and breadth of influence.

HRCI has a short, interactive questionnaire on their site to assist candidates in determining which certification is best adapted to their degree of education and experience.

Professional Qualifications for PHR Certification

PHR certified professionals generally are practitioners, meaning they are well-versed in the functional and tactical features of the field. They might be HR generalists or specialists who work several responsibilities in an organization's HR department or who are responsible for HR responsibilities for a company that does not have a dedicated HR department. There are some higher-level HR practitioners and HR leaders with PHR certification. Still, many HR leaders hold SPHR certification.

PHR Eligibility Requirements

You need to have professional, exempt-level HR professional experience to change for the PHR exam. The number of years of experience you must have differed depending on your educational credentials.

  • At least one year of experience in a professional-level HR position with a Master's degree or higher


  • A minimum of 2 years of experience in a professional-level HR position with a Bachelor's degree


  • At least four years of experience in a professional-level HR position with a high school diploma

Preparing for a PHR Career

Be prepared for a severe, 180 minutes exam that consists of 175 multiple-choice questions. Preparation for the exam often takes many months or up to a year or more sometimes more complicated and more extended study than it needs some law school graduates to study for the bar. Reading for the PHR exam is a critical element of the process.

Body of Knowledge

It would help if you had an excellent grasp of the PHR exam content outline, used to connect to the focus areas for certification exams. The PHR exam content outline often includes workforce planning and employment, which provides business management, talent planning and acquisition, learning and development, total prizes, and employee and labor relations.

The PHR syllabus topics break down as follows:

  1. Business management: 20%

  2. Talent planning and acquisition: 16%

  3. Learning and development: 10%

  4. Total rewards: 15%

  5. Employee and labor relations: 39%

PHR Exam Process

You will spend time and money to register for the PHR exam. Read the certification handbook, change your work experience, provide personal information, get an identification number, and reveal offense convictions. Severe felony convictions for illegal professional activities could prevent you from getting PHR certification.

The application fee for the PHR exam costs $100, and the exam fee amounts to $395. The total cost to get the PHR exam is $495. Exam-takers can also obtain second-chance insurance, which enables them to prepare for a second time if they do not pass the first exam.

PHR Exam Scoring

Each exam is scored using a scaling method in which the weight of each exam question is rated, the overall complexity of each version of the exam is weighted to derive a balanced score from the number of correct answers. Since all parts are counted when scoring the exam, there is no deduction penalty.

Scaled scores may range from 100-700. A scaled score of 500 is expected to pass the PHR exam. Because scaled scores are used to define the pass/fail status of each candidate, not to allow ranking, only candidates who do not pass the PHR exam are presented with their original scaled score so that it can be used for medicinal purposes.

Those who pass the exam are, however, equipped with a measure of performance relative to the passing score lower, slightly lower, similar, or higher for each content area so that they may direct their continuing professional development on those areas that have the most significant room for improvement.

Why Is PHR Certification Important?

You can surely enter the human resources field without a PHR certification, but having one makes you stand out. According to a study, 34.2% of all HR professionals hold at least one accreditation. While having a PHR certification does not excel experience, when you are in the job market, it can provide potential employer confidence in the fact that you are a qualified candidate who is validated as having subject matter expertise.

If you take a look at most mid and senior-level HR job postings, they either require that you hold a PHR certification or state that it would be a plus. Not only will PHR certification distinguish you from other candidates, but it also shows that you are the right candidate who has put in the hard work and work to achieve an essential professional milestone. Getting certified is worthy of investment because it gives a pretty substantial ROI.

Bottom Line

The Human Resources Certification Institute Professional of Human Resources (PHR) certification is the business-standard. If you are concerned about PHR certification and the exam process, ProcessExam’s Online PHR Practice test is the place to begin.

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