PHR Study Group-Your Secret Weapon

Using a PHR study group (or PHR online study group)

online phr study groupThe 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. Continue reading

Is the PHR Exam Difficult?

Is the PHR exam difficult? Just how hard is the PHR exam?

how hard is the phr examBecause 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. Continue reading

How Much Money Can You Make with an HR Certification?

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.

By the way, if you want to see your own potential salary we have created an HR certification salary calculator.

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?

Worth It? The Value of the PHR and SPHR

PHR vs SPHR-Which is right for you?

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.”

PHR Candidate:

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.

SPHR Candidate:

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 study courses we offer while you’re here!

HRCP-Guaranteed to Pass or your Money Back

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.

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 discount code to get a $20 discount on the HRCP study tools! Plus, read on for information on the money back guarantee!

UPSTART17P is for the Complete HRCP Program: Print Edition
UPSTART17E is for the Complete HRCP Program: Print AND Online Edition!)

I sometimes talk about the PHR and SPHR exams, because I think it’s a powerful way for people to show commitment to the HR profession. 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!

This is a good time to note that the HRCP tools would be a great fit for the self study course that has helped dozens of HR pros pass the exam.

Continue reading

SPHR Questions

Exam Brain ExplosionI 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. :-)

PHR-SPHR Deadline and Free Practice Exam

Update 11/14: Eric has won the free PHR practice exam for giving the best comment. Good luck to everyone who commented!

Just a quick reminder to everyone out there contemplating the PHR or SPHR exam—the test window is closing on November 13th. If you miss the deadline, you will have to wait until mid-2010 to take the exam. I can tell the final registration date is closing in, because I\’ve received more than a dozen emails from people looking for support, encouragement, direction, or resources.

Everyone knows that the best PHR study guide was developed right here, but everyone might not know about the free bonus exam that goes along with it (thanks to April for helping!).

I\’ve decided to give away a free copy of the 50 question PHR practice exam.

I want to hear from people who have taken or who plan to take the exam. Why in the world did you study your tail off just to have the opportunity to add a few letters after your name? Was it for a promotion? Did you want a new job? I\’d like to know the motivations behind your attempt at the PHR or SPHR exam. There\’s a free 50 question practice exam in it for the best answer I get by November 13th! And remember, the deadline from HRCI is November 13th, so sign up if you plan to take the test.

Get the HRCP discount

If you’d like to get a $20 discount on the HRCP program, click here to get the discount code.