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Are You Eligible for the PHR or SPHR Certification Exam?

Updated: Mar 12


PHR SPHR exam eligibility explained

Are you wondering if you're eligible to sit for the PHR or SPHR exam? As a long-time PHR/SPHR exam prep instructor, I get asked this question quite often. My next PHR/SPHR exam prep class starts in April, so this question has come up a lot lately.


Both the PHR and SPHR require professional-level HR experience, with the amount varying based on educational attainment. Explore the charts below for details.


PHR Exam Eligibility

The Professional in Human Resources (PHR) exam is intended for experienced HR practitioners. The minimum experience requirements are as follows:

Education Level

Professional Level Experience Requirement

Master's degree

1+ year

Bachelor's degree

 2+ years

Associate degree, some college, high school graduate (or equivalent)

 4+ years

SPHR Exam Eligibility

The Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) exam is intended for experienced HR practitioners with high-level strategic expertise. The minimum experience requirements are as follows:

Education

Professional Level Experience Requirement

Master's degree

 4+ years

Bachelor's degree

 5+ years

Associate degree, some college, high school graduate (or equivalent)

 7+ years

Is My Experience Professional Level?

The Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) is the certifying body that sets the requirements for and grants PHR and SPHR certification credentials. Please review HRCI's description of professional-level experience for details on the criteria they use to determine eligibility.


If your main duty is not HR or if you work as an HR assistant or in an entry-level, clerical, or purely administrative role, it is not likely that you will be eligible to sit for the PHR or SPHR, regardless of how many years you have worked in this type of job.


Ready to Prepare for Your PHR or SPHR?

If you're eligible for the PHR/SPHR and you're ready to get started preparing to earn your HR certification, attending an exam prep class is a great way to do just that.



If you'd like to preview what to expect when you start preparing for your PHR or SPHR exam, I recommend starting with the PHR/SPHR exam secrets guide from Mometrix (affiliate link).


The aPHR Option

If you don't qualify for the PHR or SPHR, that doesn't mean that HR certification isn't possible for you. The Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR) is a great option to consider, as it doesn't have a years-of-experience or experience level requirement.


The aPHR certification credential is intended for individuals who hold administrative roles in HR, have other types of jobs that include HR (such as office managers, supervisors, small business owners, etc.), are new to HR, or are thinking about moving into the field. It is also a great option for sales professionals who represent HR products or services.


Mometrix has an aPHR Exam Secrets Study Guide (affiliate link) that provides a overview of what you can expect if you decide to prepare for this exam.


Want to be notified when our next aPHR exam certification prep class becomes available? Join our waiting list and we'll notify you as a session is added to our schedule.


Navigate HRCI Certification Exam Options

Now that you know which exam(s) you may be eligible to take, it's time to decide which one is right for you. Explore my article on making sense of HR certification options for inside insights that can help you make an informed decision.


Do you have more questions? Feel free to contact me at training@insideinsights.info.




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