Posts tagged "SPHR"
The tool I’m discussing today isn’t so much a PHR online “study group,” but you’ll see in a minute why I’ve started referring to this group that way.
Back when I released the SPHR &PHR Self Study Course in November, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that it would be a valuable tool and that it would really help people who were looking for something to help them stay motivated and engaged with their studies. There really wasn’t anything on the market that compared to the course other than in-person study groups, and those aren’t always easy to come by.
I’ve had over 25 students go through the course so far. I expected a more junior group of HR pros, but it’s been an amazing cross section that represents the diversity we have in the HR field. A few examples of people who have taken the course:
- HR Administrator for a realty office in North Carolina
- HR Manager in hospitality industry from Indiana
- A secretary trying to break into HR at a Florida university
- An Organizational Development expert for a hospital in the Southwestern US
- A talent acquisition pro from Texas
And that’s just the first few names on the list. I’ve been amazed to interact with this great group of people and help them prepare for their exams, and I would love to do the same if you’re interested in taking one of the HR certification exams.
Upcoming test window
Here are the upcoming test registration windows and testing dates for the PHR/SPHR exams from the HRCI website.
- Test Dates: May 1-June 30
- Registration Dates: Jan. 22 – Mar. 22
While the registration dates are from January 22 to March 22, the study course runs for 12 weeks, so you’d need to sign up by the end of January to ensure adequate time to complete the course before your actual exam date. If you sign up late, you can still get the lessons (see below).
I’ve set up the course to be delivered over a 12 week period to allow participants to soak up the information and adequately prepare. However, I had a few people sign up and say they wanted to get the lessons sooner (maybe they signed up late, they changed their test date, etc.). I do have the ability to send all of the lessons at once; however, I wouldn’t encourage everyone to do that unless there’s a specific reason for deviating from the schedule.
What people are saying
I’m always pleasantly surprised when someone lets me know their thoughts. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that most people don’t share their own thoughts and ideas, so the comments have been welcome:
- Thank you! You definitely hit the nail on the head with this, as I’ve been really dragging my feet studying for this. Thanks again for creating this! Debbie
- I attempted the PHR in June and came up short by 20 points. Heartbreaker. I was reluctantly planning my study strategy when I received the info on your study guide. It has been most helpful. Kelly
- I want to thank you so much for going out of your way in helping me prepare for my PHR. It is so very much appreciated. Sherrie
A special bonus
Anyone who signs up for the upcoming test window will receive a special video I’m working on where I answer the top 7 questions that I receive most often about the HR certification exams. This ranges from “how can I study without breaking the bank” to “how long should I study” and even “what should I do on exam day?” It’s a collection of the most common things people ask, and I’ll be sending that video out as a special bonus to those who join the course.
Questions? Let me know and I’m happy to help!
Using a PHR study group (or PHR online study group)
The other day I talked about how “hard” the PHR exam is. I discussed motivation as a key component for test preparation, and I think it’s often overlooked when developing a testing strategy. If you think back to Psychology 101, there are two basic forms of motivation-internal and external. Internal motivation is all about setting goals, prioritizing them, and getting satisfaction from your accomplishments. It also requires quite a bit of mental energy, which is often in short supply with the abundance of responsibilities on your plate (work, spouse, kids, church, friends, volunteer activities, etc.). External motivators, however, can be extremely effective when you’re looking for ways to boost your internal motivation. Enter the PHR study group.
How a PHR study group works
The PHR study group can be online or in person, but the key here is having a support system of people to encourage you and help you stay on track with your studies.
Is the PHR exam difficult? Just how hard is the PHR exam?
Because of my history of talking about the HR certification exams, I get a lot of questions about the difficulty level of the PHR and SPHR exams. At first glance, it’s easy to see why people ask those questions. According to the HRCI statistics, nearly half of those who take the exams fail them, which can cause anxiety for those who aren’t good test takers.
What makes the PHR exam difficult?
Maybe it’s the “timed test” factor. Maybe it’s test anxiety. Maybe it’s the difficulty level of the questions. Maybe it’s the nearly-famous ambiguity of the questions. Or maybe it’s something else.
I honestly don’t know which part of the exam presents the biggest hurdle, but based on the failure rate statistics I mentioned above, it’s obvious that there is a barrier to HR professionals successfully completing the test.
The value of a PHR or SPHR certification is often discussed heatedly. Some believe it’s worth the time and money invested, but others think it’s just a waste. PayScale.com has sifted through their salary data and come up with some solid answers for everyone.
Interested in taking the exam? Check out what HR certification materials I would recommend. If you’re already certified, have you seen the HR Recertification guide for how to get free recert credits?
One of the major questions that faces HR pros considering certification: Should you take the PHR or SPHR exam? For some people, it’s fairly clear cut if you only qualify for the PHR, but if you have the experience to attempt the SPHR, which should you pursue?
Want a $20 discount on PHR/SPHR study materials? Get it here
Here’s some guidance from HRCI on their “candidate profiles.”
The Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification is designed for HR professionals whose primary responsibilities focus on HR program implementation, are tactical and operational in nature, and function primarily within the HR department. A PHR candidate is one who:
- Focuses on program implementation.
- Has tactical/logistical orientation.
- Has accountability to another HR professional within the organization.
- Has two to four years of exempt-level generalist HR work experience, but lacks the breadth and depth of a more senior-level generalist.
- Has not had progressive HR work experience.
- Holds a job that focuses on HR department responsibilities rather than on the whole organization.
- Commands respect through gaining knowledge and using policies and guidelines to make decisions.
The Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification is designed for the HR professional who designs and plans rather than implements HR policies. An SPHR candidate is also one who:
- Designs and plans rather than implements.
- Focuses on the “big picture.”
- Has ultimate accountability in the HR department.
- Typically has six to eight years of progressive and increasingly complicated HR experience.
- Has extensive HR generalist knowledge.
- Uses judgment obtained with time and application of knowledge.
- Has generalist role within organization.
- Uses judgment obtained with time and application of knowledge..
- Understands the business beyond the HR function and has influence within overall organization.
- Commands credibility within organization, community and field by experience.
From the people I’ve talked to, it is hard to know if there’s a large difference in the difficulty level of the exams. It seems that SPHR focuses much more on strategy and the “big picture” when it comes to the actual question content.
Have you taken either (or both) exams? What did you think? Be sure to check out the PHR study guide and other materials while you’re here!
With a background of working for numerous small companies, I am a strong supporter of those people and organizations that take a step of risk and try to fill a need in the marketplace, no matter who the competition may be. That’s how I found HRCP a few years ago, and I’ve been a big fan of theirs ever since.
I sometimes talk about the PHR and SPHR exams (I wrote the book on it, hehehe). With a pass rate hovering around 50%, it’s not an exam to take lightly. With the numbers of people who are unemployed or are on the verge of it, it just doesn’t make sense for many of them to take the risk involved with attempting the exam. The great folks over at HRCP are doing something revolutionary in the HR certification space to help minimize that risk and instill confidence in PHR/SPHR test takers everywhere.
Not only does HRCP offer a great study product, they have recently started offering a money back guarantee with their learning system. If you purchase their study tools, take the practice exams they offer, and still don’t pass the exam, they will give you your money back. Wow!
For the HR pro searching for a cost effective way to pass the exam for less than half the price of the SHRM product, this is what you’ve been looking for. (Be sure to use the UPSTART13 discount code to get a $20 discount on the HRCP study tools!)
I love helping people with their questions. Recently I received one about the SPHR that I wanted to share, because I thought some of the responses might help the larger audience out there.
Which countries is the SPHR valid for?
The SPHR designation is granted by a US-based organization (HRCI), but it’s recognized in many countries. I’ve had people from Bermuda, Egypt, and Brazil email me before telling me about how they were attempting to pass the SPHR exam. It’s going to be country-specific as to how much people value the certification, and the GPHR might be a better option if you’re doing global work, but hopefully you already know whether or not the people around you will appreciate (and compensate!) you for your certification. The HRCI website says that there are over 100,000 professionals certified in over 70 countries.
When does it expire?
The SPHR is good for three years. During that time, most people take classes, go to seminars, and use work-related experience to gather credits for recertification. You can also retake the exam to recertify, but most people prefer not to.
Is there any annual fee afterwards and if yes, how much is it?
The recertification fee is $100 every three years, but the big investment is the ongoing training. I’ve spent more than $100 on local seminars and events this year alone. However, there are great free events to help you get credits, too.
What are the benefits of SPHR compared to Master’s Degree in Management and development of HR?
The biggest benefit is that it’s cheaper and faster than a Master’s degree. Here’s a post I wrote on the SPHR vs the MBA.
How many people are certified under SPHR so far?
As of August 2010, there are just over 46,000 SPHR certified individuals across the globe.
When has this certification begun?
HRCI has been certifying people for 33 years now.
Do you need to finish PHR first to have the right to go to SPHR, or they are independent?
They are independent, so you can go straight for the one that fits your needs.
Of course, this is all my random knowledge, so feel free to check out the HRCI site to see if they have additional information. Oh, and don’t forget that HRCI is changing their requirements in 2011!
By the way, if you’re looking for a PHR study guide, feel free to check this one out. :-)