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In Career Last updated: July 7, 2023
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Show your competency as a certified HR professional with PHR certification.

Professional in Human Resources or PHR is an endorsement within the HR profession. It makes you a worthy competitor during the job hunt as organizations will find you a more attractive candidate. Besides offering you a better employment opportunity, this certification will positively impact your salary and promotion.

Read on to know everything on PHR accreditation, along with some helpful resources for exam preparation.

What Is PHR Certification?  

If you are a professional working in Human Resources, the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) is a suitable certification for you. HR Certification Institute (HRCI) is the organization that offers this certification to professionals with experience in HR practices, human resources organizational structure, and program implementation. 

What Is PHR Certification  

The exam tests your knowledge of fundamental human resources concepts and topics, including compensation and benefits. While PHR accreditation is for the people working in the United States, it also has some variants:

  • PHRca: Specifically for professionals working in California.
  • PHRi: PHR International certification for internationally based businesses.
  • GPHR: Global PHR accreditation for global professionals.

What Does the PHR Certification Certify?

The PHR test certifies the superior qualifications of a human resources professional. Whenever an organization hires someone with a PHR accreditation, they can rest assured of the high standards of that person.

Apart from the qualifying work experience, it certifies an individual’s significant knowledge of standard HR practices. Moreover, these certificate holders are also updated on the recent changes in the HR field.

The PHR Certification also certifies the competencies of an HR professional in the following domains of knowledge:

Workforce and Employment

A PHR-certified professional understands employment and workforce management, including salary negotiation, recruitment, onboarding, orientation, employee retention, and exit.

Employee and Labor Relations

Employee and Labor Relations

PHR accreditation holders can create and implement working conditions and employee relations strategies. They can also evaluate the organizational environment, settle employee complaints, and manage termination processes.

Compensation and Benefits

Individuals with PHR certification can also develop, enforce, and evaluate their organizations’ benefits programs. They can also create compensation and benefits strategies for a company, adhering to laws and regulations.

HR Development

The certificate holders can design and evaluate employee training and performance management programs. They know global issues and federal laws connected with HR development.

Business Management and Strategy

PHR accreditation also ensures that professionals have sufficient business strategy and management knowledge to support their organization’s vision.

Risk Management

The certification signifies understanding workplace safety risks, risk management, disaster recovery plans, and investigation policies by the certified professional for promoting a safe working environment.

What Is the Certification Validity Period?

What Is the Certification Validity Period

Once you get a PHR accreditation, it will be valid for three years. After that, you need to retake the exam. However, you can maintain the certification if you earn 60 recertification credits over the three years. 

To earn the recertification credits, a certified HR professional can participate in different professional activities, like online courses or seminars. Implementing a new HR program at work is another way of earning credits.

The Eligibility for PHR Certification 

To be able to sit for the exam of PHR accreditation, one must meet any of the following criteria for education and experience.

  • If you have a high school diploma, you should have at least four years of experience in a professional HR position.
  • As a Bachelor’s degree holder, you need to have a minimum of two years of work experience in a professional Human Resources position.
  • If you are a Master’s degree holder, having experience in a professional Human Resources position for one year is sufficient.

An Overview of the PHR Examination 

PHR Certification Fee

You need to pay an exam fee of $395 and an application fee of $100 to schedule a certification test. If you want to reschedule or cancel the test at any PearsonVUE test center or online, you need to pay $150.  

Testing Centers

An Overview of the PHR Examination 

HRCI conducts the PHR certification exam through its exam partner Pearson VUE. Pearson Vue has many test centers in the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK, and other supported countries.

You can find the test center near you by visiting the Find a test center portal and searching against your address. Alternatively, you can take the test through OnVUE online proctoring in a few countries.

Exam Duration

You will get two hours to attempt all the questions in the PHR accreditation exam. However, there will be an additional 30 minutes for test center administration. 

Test Questions

The certification process is computer-based if you appear at a test center or via the OnVUE tool. The test consists of 25 pre-test questions and 90 scored questions.  

Passing Criteria

PHR Examination Test Centers Passing Criteria

HRCI does not disclose right and wrong questions. It only shows the passing mark, 500, if you manage to secure that. 

Number of Attempts

Unsuccessful candidates can retake the test after a cooling period of 90 days. You can only retake three times within a 365 days period. Also, for the re-examination, there is a fee that you need to pay. 

Career Prospects of PHR Certified Professionals

Being PHR certified means, you have a higher chance of getting shortlisted and hired. With this certification in your resume, getting attention from the recruiters becomes earlier. 

According to Salary-com’s study, HR professionals with a PHR accreditation get a 3% increase in salary compared to the ones without the certification.

As of June 2022, the average salary range of a PHR certification holder in the USA is between $56,550 and $118,962.

Now that you have gone through the PHR accreditation basics, discover below a few high-quality learning resources to pass the exam: 

Prep to Pass the PHR Exam: Udemy

If you want to invest in your HR career by earning the Professional in Human Resources accreditation, look at this Udemy course. The online study resource will provide you with complete preparation for the online PHR exam. Furthermore, it presents an elaborated overview of all the five HR professional competencies on which you will be evaluated.  

Prep to Pass the PHR Exam Udemy

These are business management, learning and development, talent planning and acquisition, total rewards of staff, managing employee relations, and managing skilled/unskilled laborers. Also, the course will walk you through the exam preparation step-by-step for easy memorization and confidence building.

The course consists of 9 sections and 25 lectures spanning 8 and 20 minutes. At the end of each academic section, there are quizzes for self-assessments. In the end, you also get a moc final exam that helps you prepare for the actual Pearson Vue test.   

HRCI – PHR/SPHR Certification Program: Udemy

Are you a fresh graduate who desires to become a highly competent human resource manager? Are you willing to secure higher positions in global companies with lucrative compensation packages? Then, you must check out this Udemy course for guidance on beginning to senior level PHR.

The author has created the coursework in such a way that it matches all the requirements from HRCI. You do not need to jump through hoops for different resources because this one course is valid for aPHR, PHR, and SPHR certification tests.

HRCI - PHR SPHR Certification Program Udemy

Furthermore, the author has also aligned the study sections with A Guide to the Human Resource Body of Knowledge. It is the primary reference that all the candidates follow when preparing for exams by HRCI.

This 31 hours 33, minutes course covers 21 human resource management studies sections and 522 lectures. All the course materials are self-paced so that working professionals, too can sign up for this course.      

Certification Prep PHR: LinkedIn Learning

This LinkedIn Learning course has been designed to prepare candidates to approach their exam day with the assurance of passing, provided they went through the materials diligently. 

The renowned instructor Joanne Simon-Walters delivers an overview of the PHR certification examination content. She also goes over key HR competency topics in each of the five areas: talent planning, business management, talent acquisition, learning and development, labor and employee relations, and total rewards. 

Certification Prep PHR LinkedIn Learning

You can access the course content on tablets, laptops, and mobile phones upon signing up. The coursework comes with two project files, five chapter-end quizzes, continuing education credits, and a digital certificate.

In the end, you also learn exclusive tips and tricks from a highly experienced MBA, SPHR, and SHRM-SCP professional.  

HR Certification Prep Tool: BenchPrep HR

BenchPrep HR is yet another comprehensive online resource for those who need to prepare for the aPHR, PHR, and SPHR tests in an intelligent way. If you sign up for the course and complete all the modules diligently, you get the knowledge, confidence, and skills to pass all three certification exams from HRCI. 

HR Certification Prep Tool BenchPrep HR

The coolest part of this resource is an intelligent exam preparation dashboard that tracks your study and updates the metrics automatically. The dashboard shows you a count down to test day, study plan progress level, and daily knowledge goal.

Furthermore, the online tool also shows your percentile rank based on mock tests, average practice scores, and average test scores. Additionally, there are intuitive study materials like flashcards, gamified content, discussions, etc.  

HR Certification Prep Course Options: HRCP

HRCP has been a dedicated platform for human resource management certification preparation for many years. It offers dedicated coursework for different HR certifications like aPHR, SPHR, PHR, PHRca, PHRi, and many more.

HR Certification Prep Course Options HRCP

Some notable features of this preparation resource for the upcoming PHR certification are:

  • HR Body of Knowledge-linked study materials
  • Coursework matches with the HRCI’s test manual
  • Content available in flashcards, mock tests, printed copies, and digital copies

Furthermore, when everyone is offering you online courses, if you are someone who prefers the old way of learning by attending classroom sessions, HRCP should be the first choice. Apart from a self-paced online course, it also offers you an instructor-led course delivered online and face-to-face instructor-led coaching in a classroom near you. 

PHR Exam Prep Books   

#1 PHR Study Guide 2022-2023: Amazon

The Newstone Test Prep authored this PHR Study Guide for busy working professionals and fresh graduates. You get all the preparation papers, mock tests, and answers in one paperback copy. Also, the answers are not just one or two-word texts. You get a full explanation of how to come to the resolution.

The guide consists of 525 questions and three full-length mock exams. The question bank covers both practical and theoretical topics. Thus, you develop a complete knowledge of the PHR certification competencies. Moreover, the mock tests are beneficial since you get the exact question format and number of questions that HRCI follows.      

#2 PHR Study Guide 2022-2023: Amazon

Yet another paperback resource for PHR exam preparation and practice questions on Amazon is PHR Study Guide 2022-2023. Joshua Rueda, a renowned author of professional courses prep materials, has composed this physical learning content.

The book covers all the PHR competencies like Learning and Development, Business Management, Employee and Labor Relations, Talent Planning and Acquisition, and Total Rewards. All the fundamentals have their section for efficient content organization.

Besides the fundamentals, the resource also delivers test-taking strategies, a complete guide on the test itself, practice questions, explanatory answers, and mosque test papers.   

#3 PHR Study Guide 2022-2023: Amazon

Want a complete resource to study and pass the upcoming PHR certification exam? You must visit the Amazon marketplace page for PHR Study Guide Test Prep Secrets Book. 

The study guide is a paperback copy and includes the followings: 

  • All the fundamental studies and HR competencies for the PHR exam
  • Lots of mock and practice test questions with descriptive answers
  • Strategies, tips, and tricks to deliver your best at the test center 

Since the HRCI test is challenging and hard to crack, you must practice the right questions and exam tips. Mometrix and Matthew Bowling authored prep material makes that possible. 


A PHR certification can be the turning point in the life of an HR professional. This advanced certification indicates your skill in technical and operational aspects of Human Resources. 

Now that you know the top resources for this verification exam, you can make the smart move to uplift your career by taking PHR certification. After all, this certification is a long-term investment in time and money to improve your position among your colleagues. 

Besides, you might be interested in other HR certifications, such as SHRM.

  • Tamal Das
    Tamal is a freelance writer at Geekflare. After completing his MS in Science, he joined reputed IT consultancy companies to acquire hands-on knowledge of IT technologies and business management. Now, he’s a professional freelance content… read more
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