2023 Edition

The PHR Test Guide

The PHR Test Summary
What: This exam grants certification for professionals in the field of Human Resources.
Who: Candidates must have one to four years experience in Human Resources.
Where: The test is offered at Pearson Vue testing centers worldwide
When: Year round.
How: The exam is multiple choice.
Type: The exam is computer-based.
Why: he exam is required for Human Resources professionals to become certified.
Time: Exam sessions last three hours.
Language: English
Preparation: Many test guides and preparation materials are available online and at bookstores.
Cost: There is a fee to take the exam.

The HRCI or Human Resources Certification Institute is an organization which prides itself in bettering Human Resource professionals by challenging them to prove their skills and become certified. With more than 100,000 HR professionals who have taken the exam, it is obvious that becoming certified is a growing trend.

The HRCI offers different degrees of certification, including:

  • Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR)
  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
  • Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR)

The type of work an individual performs and the level of experience they have helps to determine which test to take. The PHR is geared towards professionals who do not have a lot of Human Resources experience (typically 1-4 years), who answer to someone higher in the organization, and who focus on the HR department rather than the entire organization.

The eligibility requirements for the PHR depend on a number of factors including years of experience and whether the candidate has a masters or bachelors degree.

The PHR exam consists of 175 computer-based multiple choice questions. Of these questions 150 are scored, and the other 25 are non-scored pretest questions that are randomly placed throughout the exam and are used for future exams. Three hours is given to complete the exam.

The PHR exam focuses mainly on technical and operational types of questions and covers five areas of content including:

  • Employee and Labor Relations
  • Business Management
  • Talent Planning and Acquisition
  • Total Rewards
  • Learning and Development

The exam is administered by Pearson Vue.

To find test preparation materials, see our PHR Test Directory.