The Knowledge Nook

HRCI® Certification Gives Field Professionals the Edge in Job Search, Career Advancement

Posted by Tami Russell on Jul 13, 2017 3:52:32 PM


Practicing Human Resource management professionals have benefited in myriad ways by obtaining the Professional in Human Resources (PHR®) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®) designations. 

Let’s explore reasons why the PHR®/SPHR® credentials might boost your career.

Although some positions REQUIRE the certification, many others list the PHR®/SPHR® as a “preferred qualification.” This is an instant clue that obtaining the certification will make you a top job contender, whether or not the credential is “required ” or simply “preferred.”

Look at this recent job listing from, for the position of Campus HR Manager at the University of North Texas:

The preferred candidate will possess the following additional qualifications: PHR/SPHR preferred.

And this one from Aramark in D/FW, seeking a Human Resource Manager:

Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Human Resource Management, or related discipline. Certification by recognized professional bodies preferred (Human Resource Certification Institute or Professional in Human Resources) Coursework indicating advanced professional development.

It is also widely understood that obtaining an HR designation can mean increased earnings over the length of your career.  Like many industries, having a certificate or certification – one that shows a potential employer the applicant’s dedication to the field - is invaluable., in a survey shared by the HR blog, notes “as you move up the HR food chain the difference (between obtaining a credential or not) becomes much more apparent.  According to Payscale’s survey, the median pay for a certified HR professional was $63,900, which those without certification made around $45,300.”

Briefly, the PHR®  “is a great way to establish yourself in the HR field,” according to the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI)

Actual on-the-job experience plays heavily into the eligibility to take the HRCI exam and obtain this designation.  Notice that as job experience levels rise, the educational requirements fall.  Qualifications to take the exam include:

  • One year of experience in professional HR position, plus a Master’s Degree or higher
  • Two years of experience in a professional HR position, plus a Bachelor’s Degree
  • Four years of experience in a professional HR position, plus a high school diploma.

The SPHR® – “solidifies your credibility as an HR leader,” according to  They go on to say, “The SPHR demonstrates your mastery of the strategic and policy-making aspects of HR management as practiced in the U.S. The credential is designed for big-picture thinkers responsible for planning rather than implementing HR policy. Organizations seek out SPHR professionals for their proven accountability for HR department goals, for breadth and depth of knowledge in all HR disciplines, and for understanding business issues beyond the HR function.

Like anything worth having, obtaining these designations takes work and study on the part of participants.  Many professionals will say that they got the background and information they needed to pass the grueling HRCI® certification exam by participating in a high-quality HR exam review program like the one offered by the Professional Development Institute of the University of North Texas.

Get Ready for the PHR/SPHR Exams With PDI's HR Prep Program 


Topics: HR certification

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