HR Certification Institute – Certification Core Leadership Area
Volunteer Leader Orientation Webinar – February 11, 2010
Q. Will we be able to get a copy of this presentation?
A. Yes, we will post on the VLRC.
Q. There are always questions on the scoring of the exam, can you please explain the scoring and
A. The exams are equated which means that we mathematically convert raw scores (number of test
questions answered correctly) to scaled scored that range from 100 to 700. A scaled score of 500
hundred is needed to pass. The statistical process of equating exams ensures that the passing score for
each exam is adjusted to compensate for minor fluctuations in exam difficulty level.
Please also refer to the section in the Certification Handbook “About Scoring and Score Reports” for
detailed information on the scoring process. The Handbook can be found on our website at www.hrci.org.
Q. How are the 25 questions selected in the scoring assessment identified in the test results/score
results sent to those who have taken the test?
A. For the PHR/SPHR exam there are 25 pre-test questions which are included on the exam for
statistical purposes. The pre-test questions are not scored and are pre-determined when they are placed
on the exam. These questions do not have any statistics associated with the question, thus “pre-test”.
Based on how the question performs determines whether the question will be included on a future exam
as a question that will be scored.
Q. How often do you re-write the tests and when will you be re-writing the exams to include all of the
A. We continually write new test questions to ensure we are keeping the test as current and fresh as
possible. During each exam period we use several different test forms.
Q. Will you discuss specifics that apply to students taking the exam, current and new regs?
A. Through the remainder of 2010 students/recent graduates will be able to take the PHR or GPHR
exam within one year prior to their graduation date and up to one year after their graduation date. They
will then have 5 years during which to gain their 2 years of exempt-level HR experience. Once the
experience requirement has been obtained and approved the student/recent graduate will be able to use
Beginning in 2011, students/recent graduates will no longer be able to take the PHR or SPHR exam until
they have met the new exam eligibility requirements. Students will be able to take an “assurance of
learning” assessment that SHRM is developing to take the place of the PHR exam.
Q. I passed BOTH the PHR and SPHR this year but I am only supposed to show the SPHR
designation. Would you please expand on that?
A. Yes, the SPHR supersedes the PHR. Since the PHR and SPHR credentials have a common body
of knowledge at different levels it is assumed that if you pass the SPHR exam you have also mastered
the knowledge level being tested at the PHR level.
Q. Is the 1 year limit after graduation for the student eligibility requirement based on the date of
graduation or month of graduation?
A. Based on the month of graduation.
Q. For students, does recert in 3 yrs not apply? You mentioned they have 5 years to gain work exp for
A. Since students are not certified until they meet their 2 years of exempt-level experience they would
not be subject to recertification requirements until they are actually fully certified.
Q. Can you take the PHR and SPHR exam during the same testing window?
A. Yes, you can take the PHR and SPHR during the same testing window.
Q. Does the period of certification start over if you achieve the SPHR while currently holding PHR?
A. Yes, if you take the SPHR while holding the PHR you will have a new 3-year certification period
from the time that you achieve your SPHR.
Q. What is the cost for the assessment test?
A. The PHR or SPHR assessment exam costs $45. If you purchase a bundle of 2 exams it is $70 and
the GPHR is $35.
Q. We don't always know when chapter members pass their exam in order to track numbers and/or to
celebrate their achievement. What tools are there to get members to let us know?
A. Approximately a month after the end of each exam period we update the newly certified
professionals in our database. We encourage certified HR professionals to notify their chapters as part of
the information they receive with their score report and congratulatory letter. At the time that our database
has been updated certificants then have access to request that we send a notice to their chapter that they
have passed the exam. We send that information out to each chapter on a monthly basis, assuming that
we have had a request from a certificant.
Q. Can you also discuss how you communicate with newly certified about recertifying and announcing
to their chapters?
A. We regularly communicated with newly certified HR professionals. We email certificants several
times each year during their certification cycle with different messages depending on where they are in
their 3 year certification cycle. This includes recertification tips, information about what counts towards
recertification credit, where they can go find pre-approved programs, etc.
Q. Is there an average score available for the PHR and SPHR exams?
A. There isn't an average score. The passing score is a scaled score of 500. Please refer to the
detailed section in the Certification Handbook “About Scoring and Score Reports” which can be found on
our website at www.hrci.org.
Q. Must you still pass all 6 sections of the test?
A. You must pass the overall exam not necessarily each of the 6 domains.
Q. Is it new that you must pass the overall test and not each of the 6 areas? I seem to remember it the
A. No, it has always been that way.
Q. Is it possible to have profiles updated more quickly on the HRCI website? It would mean a lot to
newly certified individuals to see this information right away?
A. We have been working on updating newly certified records more quickly than at the end of the
testing window. I’m pleased to say that with the May/June 2010 testing window we anticipate being able
to update certificant records approximately every 2-3 weeks during the testing window. This has been
quite a complex process to automate, but we are finally there. Thanks you for your patience.
Q. When will the list of newly certified professionals in the last testing window be updated?
A. We should be posting the list of newly certified professionals by the beginning of March.
Q. If you are SPHR and GPHR, recertification credits have to be earned independently or can they be
A. If you hold multiple designations your certification requirements are still 60 credit hours. The only
thing that will be different is that you will have to meet the specified hour requirement for the designations
that you hold. In the exam above you will have to obtain 15 strategic management and 30 international
credit hours of the 60 total hours required. Your total specified hours will be pro-rated depending on
when you obtain the second designation.
Q. Can an educational program be used during the recertification process --- even if the program had
not been pre-certified by the HRCI?
A. Yes, educational programs do not have to be pre-approved in order to qualify for recertification
credit. The main requirement is that the program must be HR-related in order to qualify for recertification
Q. Is a score of 500 a percentage correct?
A. No, it is, however, based on a raw score (actual number of questions answered correctly) and
mathematically converted to a scaled score. Please refer to our website at www.hrci.org. In the
Certification Handbook a section entitled “About Scoring and Score Reports” provides more detailed
information about how the exams are scored.
Q. How can we get a list of newly certified folks in our area to market for our Chapter?
A. After each testing window we provide SHRM with an upload of all newly certified professionals who
have given us permission to share their information with SHRM. I’m unclear as to the restrictions that
SHRM has with regard to providing lists, but if they provide you with these types of lists for other purposes
you would probably be able to get them for this purpose.The HR Certification Institute is not able to
provide such a list due to privacy issues as they relate to certification.
Q. How can I find out what members of our chapter are certified? I want to reach out to them for
A. We recommend that you send out a notice to your chapter members after each testing window (as
do we) and encourage them to go to their certification record and click on a link that requests the HR
Certification Institute to send a notice to the chapter indicating that the person is certified. On a monthly
basis we send that information to the chapter contact.
Q. Where do I go to register on SHRM Connect?
A. www.shrm.org > communities > shrm connect
Chapter Certification Directors can also contact their state council certification directors for assistance.
Joanne Schnider, NYSSHRM Certification Director