GPHR Exam PHR Exam and SPHR Exam Overview
The exams are administered by the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) which has been certifying human resource professionals since 1976. They are part of a voluntary credentialing process that began in the 1940s and was originally instituted to create a code of ethics and a quantifiable standard of competence for the human resources profession, especially as applied within corporate settings.
By establishing measurable standards and defining the common knowledge that all HR professionals should have, it became possible to create a certification program similar to those that already existed within professions like education, law and medicine. Testing for that common human resource knowledge became the pathway to HR certification.
As the human resources field has matured, the subject matter for the testing and the available professional designations have changed and developed over the years. Since 1988, the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) have been the main certifications. In 2002, the Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) designation was added in response to the clear trend toward multinational corporations and their human resource needs.
How the GPHR Exam, the PHR Exam and the SPHR Exam Are Different?
The Professional in Human Resources (PHR) — The areas covered for the PHR exam include Strategic Management, Workforce Planning and Employment, Human Resource Development, Total Rewards (compensation and benefits), Employee and Labor Relations and Core HR Knowledge.
The Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) — This exam includes the same body of knowledge covered in the PHR exam, with additional in-depth knowledge required in each area. There is also more emphasis placed on the Strategic Management portion of the test.
The Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) — Since the reach of the GPHR designation extends around the world, it addresses knowledge of employment laws in the top six labor markets that affect corporate human resource professionals: the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union, India, and China.
The areas of emphasis in this exam are slightly difference than the PHR and SPHR exams, and include Strategic HR Management, Global Talent Acquisition and Mobility, Global Compensation and Benefits, Organizational Effectiveness and Talent Development, Workforce Relations and Risk Management. Topics that address knowledge of globalization trends, using interpreters and translators, and cross cultural management techniques are just a few examples of areas covered in the core knowledge section of the GPHR exam that are not addressed in the other exams.
Why take the GPHR Exam, the PHR Exam or the SPHR Exam?
Since certification within the human resource field is voluntary, it reflects a level of professional commitment that goes beyond mere work experience. And unlike educational ‘certificates’ that can be earned from educational institutions by anyone who completes the coursework, a PHR, SPHR or GPR certification includes and acknowledges direct work experience as a human resources professional.
More than a quarter of a million human resource professionals have become certified by the HR Certification Institute as of January 2009, which indicates the growing recognition and importance of the designation within the corporate community.
Who are eligible to take the exam?
Because the exams test on experience-based knowledge, you must have a minimum of two years of professional (exempt-level) HR experience and provide evidence that:
- At least 51% of your daily activities are within the HR function; and
- Those activities are at the professional (exempt level), as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act or its equivalent outside of the United States.
How can I apply for the exam?
Apply for your exam online in three simple steps:
- 1. Log on to www.hrci.org. Create an online profile to obtain your HRCI ID number.
- 2. Fill out the application and submit payment.
- 3. Schedule your appointment after receiving notification that you are eligible to take the exam.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE
- Your Employer: Reach out to your benefits manager to see if your employer reimburses the cost of the exam through education assistance or professional development benefits.
- SHRM Foundation: $750 scholarships are available to SHRM members pursuing professional certification. Go to www.shrm. org/foundation to learn more about this program.
- Local SHRM Chapters: Check with your local chapter for more details on its certification scholarships.