You’re ready to advance your Human Resources career, so you’re planning to pursue the PHR — Professional in Human Resources designation — or SPHR — Senior Professional in Human Resources — designation. On the surface, these two credentials seem pretty similar, so you’re not sure which test to take.
The last thing you want is to spend time and money preparing for the PHR or SPHR and realize after the fact that you took the wrong test. Here’s an overview of the exams, so you can decide which one is right for you.
PHR Exam vs. the SPHR Exam
Not just anyone can become PHR certified. To be qualify you must have at least one year of experience in a professional-level HR position and at least a master’s degree, at least two years of experience in a professional-level HR role and a bachelor’s degree, or at least four years of experience in a professional-level HR job and a high school diploma. Additionally, you’ll need to remain in your current HR profession and become recertified every three years.
To be eligible for the SPHR, you’ll need at least four years of experience in a professional-level HR role and at least a master’s degree, at least two years of experience in a professional-level HR position and a bachelor’s degree, or at least seven years of experience in a professional-level HR job and a high school diploma.
The PHR exam costs $395 for the test itself, along with an application fee of $100. Slightly more expensive, the SPHR exam fee is $495, plus an application fee of $100.
For both tests, no refunds will be granted — even if you withdraw from the exam — so don’t sign up unless you’re completely sure you’ll take it within 120 days of your application approval.
Subject to your local test center availability, both the PHR and SPHR can be taken year-round. This is great, as it allows you the flexibility to take the exam when it best fits your schedule.
Both the PHR and the SPHR exams have a pass rate around 60% — 59% and 57%, respectively. Instead of allowing this to intimidate you, use it as motivation to succeed. Try to choose a time to take the test when you’re not too busy with other commitments, so you can dedicate as much time as possible to studying.
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