Many of us have seen these designations after human resource professionals’ names, but do all of us really know exactly what they stand for? These acronyms are certifications that HR professionals receive through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). The HRCI actually offers four different certifications, including the PHR, SPHR, GPHR, and PHR-CA and SPHR-CA. According to the HRCI’s website:
Certification is a voluntary action by a professional group to establish a system to grant recognition to professionals who have met a stated level of training and work experience. Certified individuals are usually issued a certificate attesting that they have met the standards of the credentialing organization and are entitled to make the public aware of their credentialed status, usually through the use of initials (i.e., PHR or SPHR) after their names.
So what do they stand for?
PHR stands for “Professional in Human Resources”. SPHR stands for “Senior Professional in Human Resources”. GPHR stands for “Global Professional in Human Resources”. The PHR-CA and SPHR-CA certifications are state certifications for the state of California.
What type of people have/should have these certifications?
The HRCI requires professionals to have a minimum of two years of professional HR experience and at least 51% of their daily activities to be held within the HR function. They define a typical PHR candidate as having two-to-four years of experience at the generalist level and typically implements programs rather than creates them. A typical SPHR candidate will have four-to-eight years of progressive experience, and has experience creating programs. A GPHR candidate develops and implements global HR strategies.
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