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Professional in Human Resources

business degree program, management degree program, certification, PHR, human resource development, human resource management, HR, graduate programs, MBA, MS, Nazareth College Rochester NY

For more information, please contact:

Albert Cabral
Program Director
585-389-2395 or

(SHRM) Professional in Human Resources - Certification Programming

There are two ways to reach your goal for being recognized as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR):

  1. Prepare for and successfully complete the SHRM exam
  2. Include preparation for the exam as part of the program as you earn your M.S. in Human Resource Management from Nazareth College

Profile of a Candidate

An honest assessment of skills, knowledge, and responsibilities within the HR function is critical when deciding whether to seek certification at the PHR level. The following profile of a typical PHR candidate may help you determine if this exam is appropriate for you.

The Ideal PHR Candidate:

  • Focuses on program implementation.
  • Has tactical/logistical orientation.
  • Has accountability to another HR professional within the organization.
  • Commands respect through the credibility of knowledge and the use of policies and guidelines to make decisions.


  • Has 1-year of demonstrated exempt-level HR experience with a Master's degree or higher; or
  • Has 2-years of demonstrated exempt-level HR experience with a Bachelor's degree; or
  • Has 4-years of demonstrated exempt-level HR experience with less than a Bachelor's degree.

If you are interested in becoming certified or want more information about our preparation course, read further and find information about the certification process, the exam, and the SHRM- approved Nazareth College certification preparation course – HRM 523, provided as an elective in our graduate MS in Human Resource Management program.

  • If you do not wish to obtain graduate credit, you may audit the course. You receive all of the same benefits of the course but at a significant cost savings over matriculation.
  • If you are a matriculated student in the MS.HRM program, add this course to your program plan as one of three electives as part of our 33-credit Masters degree program.
  • Computer-Based-Testing: HRCI delivers all PHR and SPHR exams by computer at test centers across the country.

PHR Information


Human Resource Certification is the symbol of professional achievement. Beyond experience and education, the Professional in Human Resource Certification (PHR) and the Senior Professional in Human Resource Certification (SPHR) designation signifies that Human Resource (HR) professionals have mastered the HR body of knowledge. The Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) awards this designation to HR professionals after they have successfully passed a comprehensive examination, certifying that they have achieved mastery of the codified body of knowledge. It is the most significant and recognized non-degree credential for HR professionals.

The HRCI maintains the nationally recognized standards set by individuals working in the profession. HRCI is the HR credentialing body founded to promote the establishment of standards for the profession.

Eligibility for the Certification Exam

The exams are generalist and assess knowledge of the entire HR field. If you have never been an HR generalist nor plan to become one, please evaluate whether these exams are right for you. You may want to take the online assessment exam ( to help you decide.

PHR and SPHR certification is intended for professionals who have at least two years of exempt-level (professional) HR work experience. To be eligible to take either exam, candidates must demonstrate that:

  • At least 51 percent of their daily activities are within the human resource function; and
  • Those activities are at the exempt (professional) level (described below); or
  • An individual has direct supervision of those who deliver HR services.

The exams reflect today's HR practices. Although two years of exempt-level (professional) HR work experience need not be current or sequential, more recent experience is more likely to coincide with the exam's content.

Eligibility is determined by the information found in the work experience section of the application and, if necessary, on the completed supporting documentation form and any accompanying documentation. If a candidate is found ineligible, there is no appeal process. It is in a candidate's best interest to ensure that supporting documentation clearly demonstrates two years of exempt-level (professional) HR work experience.

HRCI also offers a special student/recent graduate category. For more information about taking the exam as a student/recent graduate, please see "Student/Recent Graduate Eligibility Requirements" in this handbook.

Choosing the Appropriate Exam Level

Candidates should choose the exam level that best represents their mastery of the HR body of knowledge. HRCI has found that appropriate exempt-level HR work experience and educational background contribute significantly to success on the exams. With this in mind, HRCI strongly recommends that PHR candidates have two-to-four years of exempt-level (professional) HR work experience and SPHR candidates have six-to-eight years of exempt-level (professional) HR work experience.

Choosing an Exam Level PHR SPHR
Required exempt-level (professional) HR experience 1 Years 4 Years
Recommended exempt-level (professional) HR experience 2-4 Years 5-7 Years


The Exam: How and Where it is Administered

The exams are administered at 250 Prometric test centers across the United States and Canada. In Rochester, NY, the closest center is on Monroe Avenue in Pittsford, NY.

  • Two annual testing windows: May 1-June 30 and December 1-January 31.
  • Exams will no longer be offered at SHRM conferences.
  • Immediate (preliminary) pass/fail score results. Candidates will know immediately if they passed or failed the exam before they leave the testing center.
  • There are 225 questions on the exam.
  • Candidates have four (4) hours to complete the exam.
  • Detailed score reports will still be mailed to candidates.

Are you Ready to be Certified?

If you'd like to assess your readiness for the certification exam, HRCI offers an online assessment. Candidates can use this exam to help assess their knowledge level before taking the actual exam. For more information, visit the HRCI web site at:


Re-certification is required every three years either by examination or by participating in sixty contact hours of updating HR knowledge. These contact hours may be obtained through additional HR-related coursework, seminars, or workshops. As an extension of this course, non-credit classes and workshops to assist HR professionals with re-certification requirements and preparation will be offered.

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