SPHR Certification

An SPHR certification will solidify your credibility as an HR leader. It is a test which helps provide a highly valuable credential to HR reps looking to boost their desirability to new companies. There are many aspects of the SPHR to understand including cost, difficulty, and maintaining your certification. Knowing what to expect will help you better prepare for the process moving forward.

Is this Certification Right for Me?

The SPHR certification can demonstrate mastery of strategic, policymaking aspects of HR management as it is practiced in the U.S. This credential is designed for big-picture thinkers who are responsible for planning instead of implementing HR policy. Organizations regularly seek out SPHR professionals because they are used to having accountability for the goals of the HR department, they understand business issues beyond just their HR function, and for a depth and breadth of knowledge in each HR discipline.

Eligibility for the SPHR requires:

  • Four years of experience in an HR position at the professional level and a master’s degree or the global equivalent
  • Five years working in a professional HR position with a bachelor’s degree.
  • Seven years’ experience in a professional-level HR position if you have no degree
  • Proof you completed high school (a diploma).

The SPHR exam is considered Computer-based Testing (CBT) at Prometric testing centers. The test will take about three hours, contain 150 multiple-choice questions, and have 25 pretest questions. There will be an exam fee of $495 and an application fee of $100. Once your exam application has been approved, no refunds will be issued whether a candidate withdraws or simply does not wish to take the exam. This is because an applicant’s access code to the HRBoK cannot be rescinded or de-activated.

The SPHR test can be accessed year-round, subject to availability at your preferred Prometric testing. Your SPHR certification remains valid for three years following a completed test.

In order to keep your SPHR credential current, you will need to earn 60 recertification credits within three years. Out of all 60 recertification credits needed, 15 of them must be in Business Management & Strategy.


Eligibility for aPHR™, requires a high school diploma or a global equivalent. aPHR™ is the ideal program for a recent college graduate, armed services man and woman trying to make a transition to civilian life, or any other professional seeking a transition to the HR field.


Taking the PHR® requires a minimum of one year’s experience in a professional-level HR position and a master's degree or higher. If you don’t have these factors, you’ll need at least two years’ experience position and a bachelor's degree, or four years’ experience if you have no degree.


SPHR certification requires at least four years’ experience in a professional-level HR position and a master’s degree or better. You can also apply with five years’ experience and a bachelor’s degree, or have at least seven years’ experience and no degree.


Eligibility for PHRi™ will require at least a year of professional experience in an HR position and a master's degree or global equivalent. Failing that, two years of experience and a bachelor's degree (or a global equivalent) will do. Without any degree, you must have at least four years of experience will be needed.


For SPHRi™, you will need at least four years of professional-level experience in an HR position as well as a master's degree or the global equivalent. Without that, you could have five years of experience in HR and a bachelor's degree, or just seven years of applicable experience if you have no degree.

SPHR Preparation Overview

Preparing for life-altering exams can feel overwhelming, especially when you don't know where to start. You may be afraid to even take the first step toward applying.

Remember that there’s no perfect method of preparation that will meet everyone’s needs. We feel you should use a wide range of resources and tools to increase your understanding of HR principles and exam content. By studying all available options, you will be able to determine the optimal course of action to achieve your goals.

If you need help with SPHR certification, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.