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WGU Human Resource Management HRCI PHR Certification

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What Is HRCI?

Five business people sit shoulder to shoulder, each reading something in their hands.

The Human Resources Certification Institute— (HRCI®)—is the premier credentialing organization that has set the global standard for HR expertise for more than 45 years. They offer learning opportunities, professional development and HR certifications for anyone from HR managers to administrators. A candidate must qualify and take a test for one of the eight global certifications to become certified and receive a digital badge.

If you’re pursuing a career path as a human resource professional, it’s important to set yourself up for success when the time comes for you to get certified. Choosing a school that prepares you for the HRCI PHR® certification can make all the difference when it comes time to do your job search. To really make an impact on hiring professionals, the HRCI PHR® certification is the way to go.

What are HCRI Certifications?

The eight global certifications offered by HRCI are:

  1. Associate Professional in Human Resources® (aPHR®): This certification was created for HR professionals who are new to the field, making a career change or are non-HR managers.
  2. Associate Professional in Human Resources–International™ (aPHRi™): This certification is for new HR professionals practicing in an international setting.
  3. Professional in Human Resources® (PHR®): This certification is for individuals who practice operational HR and want to advance their career by showing their depth of knowledge and expertise.
  4. Professional in Human Resources–California® (PHRca®): This certification is for HR professionals in California can showcase their understanding of state mandated practices, regulations and laws.
  5. Professional in Human Resources–International™ (PHRi™): This certification is for individuals who practice operational HR and want to advance their career by showing their depth of knowledge and expertise in an international setting.
  6. Senior Professional in Human Resources® (SPHR®): This certification is for seasoned HR professionals in leadership roles utilizing strategic decisions. The SPHR certification is frequently obtained as a level upgrade.
  7. Senior Professional in Human Resources–International Professional™ (SPHRi™): This certification is for seasoned HR professionals in leadership roles utilizing strategic decisions. The SPHR certification is frequently obtained as a level upgrade in an international setting.
  8. Global Professional in Human Resources® (GPHR®): This certification is geared for multinational HR professionals, who focus on strategic global human resources and global talent management.

HRCI PHR®

The HRCI Professional in Human Resources® (PHR®) is a certification that prepares HR professionals to advance their careers. Not only does it highlight your understanding of the technical and operational aspects of management, it also certifies your knowledge of U.S. regulations and laws. For HR professionals who already have a logistical or tactical orientation and experience in program implementation, this certification can be a great way to signal to managers that you’re ready to step into a leadership role. This certification is best suited to HR professionals who are focused on HR department responsibilities, as opposed to the overall company.

HR manager leading presentation
Business professionals shake hands at the beginning of a bright new business relationship.

PHR® Cost

To obtain your PHR® certification, you’ll need to pay a $100 application fee, followed by an exam fee of $395. Once you apply and qualify, you must submit payment. For additional details on HRCI certification policies and procedures, please visit the HRCI Certification Handbook.

PHR® Exam Details

The PHR® exam is a two hour exam, with 90 scored questions—most of which are multiple choice—and 25 pretest questions. The test can be taken via computer at a Pearson VUE testing center or at your home/office with OnVUE.

The PHR® exam will test you on:

  • Employee and Labor relations
  • Business Management
  • Talent planning and acquisition
  • Total Rewards
  • Learning and Development

Study Tips:

As you’re prepping for the PHR® exam, consider these study tips for test day:

  • Make sure you schedule time to study—and keep your study dates
  • Study according to your learning style
  • Try group study if you usually study alone, and vice versa, to escalate your learning
  • Use the Exam Content Outlines[FE1]  to help you focus your study time on the subjects that matter most
  • Buy a practice test (optional) to determine your weak spots
  • Consider a prep class to deepen your understanding of PHR subject matter

PHR® and WGU

Before you apply to take the PHR®, you’ll need to ensure you’re eligible by meeting one of these requirements:

  • Minimum one year of experience in a professional HR role and a master's degree (or higher)
  • Minimum two years of experience in a professional HR role and a bachelor's degree
  • Four years of experience in a professional HR role

By earning your HR degree at WGU, you’re setting yourself up for PHR® success. WGU has aligned its curriculum to the body of knowledge created by the HRCI and prepares you for the PHR® exam.

“I received extremely high marks on both certification exams and have felt my WGU experience really helped prepare me for success.” —Brittney Vincent
B.S. Human Resource Management

Frequently Asked Questions

Before you get started and take the PHR® exam, you’ll need to pay an application fee of $100. If your application is approved, you’ll then pay an exam fee of $395. Any additional study guides or sample tests that you use to prepare for the exam may cost you extra.

HRCI stands for Human Resources Certification Institute, which is known as the premier credentialing and learning organization dedicated to the advancement and support of human resources professionals.

PHR® stands for Professional in Human Resources, which is a credential that shows off your deep knowledge of the technical and operational aspects of human resources management. This also includes your knowledge and understanding of U.S. regulations and laws.

Yes! PHR® certification is a great way to show off your knowledge of human resources management from both a technical and operational standpoint, which will impress your potential employers. Not only does this certification grab the attention of hiring managers, the certification can also result in 3% higher pay compared to HR professionals without certification.

The PHR® exam is two hours long. You’ll want to factor in additional travel time just in case you are traveling to an in-person testing center.

Interested in learning more about the PHR exam?

Watch a webinar

Benefits of PHR Exam

Job Opportunity

In an increasingly crowded employment field, anything you can do to make yourself stand out from other candidates is worth it—and certifications tend to grab the attention of hiring managers.

Meets Hiring Requirements

A competitive employment field also means that many companies require professional certifications before they even consider a candidate for a role.

Salary

Studies have shown that HR employees with a PHR® certification can see a 3% increase in salary compared to HR professionals without certification. While 3% may not seem like a lot, it can add up, especially as you advance your career, and your salary increases.