Professionals In Human Resources Association

PHR/SPHR Exam Preparation Program

In today’s highly competitive working environment, professional development is a necessity to stay current in your field. Many HR professionals have found that national certification gives them an edge. Certification provides recognition of professional achievement, aids in your career advancement, serves as a visual reminder of your professional status, demonstrates a mastery of HR knowledge on a national level and a commitment to keeping abreast of new developments in the field, and provides you with evidence of broad-based knowledge, experience and competence in your field.

Offered in partnership with the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), this course helps prepare individuals for the bi-annual Professional in Human Resources (PHR®) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®) certification exams by providing a comprehensive review of the HR body of knowledge by a carefully chosen SPHR® instructor using the official SHRM Learning System®. You are provided with materials for all modules and 40 hours of instruction in a class with other HR professionals. It is the clear choice to best prepare for the HRCI examination. See a listing of Brandman Campuses offering this course below.

Professional in Human Resources (PHR®)
Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®)

Most HR professionals know that getting a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) or Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification is worth the time and effort. But, do you realize just how much it can benefit a Human Resources career? See the following information from PayScale about quicker promotions, higher pay, greater job availability and more for those who have a PHR or SPHR versus those who do not.

The Value of the PHR and SPHR. Worth It?

Program Options

In Partnership with Brandman University (Irvine)

Online in Partnership with NCHRA

Who Should Attend

The course is designed for managers and staff in general management or human resource management positions:

  • HR professionals planning to take the PHR® or SPHR®; certification exam
  • PHR® professionals seeking to "upgrade" their certification to SPHR®
  • Certified HR professionals needing credits for PHR®/SPHR® recertification
  • HR practitioners seeking professional development to advance their careers
  • Experienced managers who are new to the HR field
  • Other mid-level managers pursuing a career change or promotion
  • Individuals needing recertification credits.

Program Benefits

  • Career advancement - This course is strategic in nature, preparing HR professionals for career advancement opportunities. It features open interactive forums and "real-world" case studies to effectively reinforce the key concepts of each session.
  • Cost-effective learning - Attending through a local educational institution minimizes travel expenses for professional development.
  • Practitioner-focused and competency-based - The curriculum is designed by subject matter experts and includes application exercises designed to develop specific competencies and decision-making skills.
  • Tuition reimbursement - Many HR professionals will be eligible to apply for employer tuition reimbursement.
  • Action-oriented curriculum - Designed to provide opportunities for HR professionals to network, participants share "real-world" experiences and apply what they learn to the workplace.
  • Recertification credits - Certified HR professionals can earn credit toward PHR/SPHR recertification.
  • Convenient hours - Since the course is offered after work hours, on the weekends, or Web-based, it is attractive for busy professionals.

PHR vs. Senior PHR Candidate Characteristics

The Human Resources Certification Institute has defined characteristics of the ideal candidate for the two certification levels. Use these as a guideline to determine which level is most appropriate for your aspirations.
Characteristics of Ideal PHR® Candidate

  • Solid foundation in functional areas of HR, may lack breadth and depth of knowledge of senior HR professional.
  • Two to four years of generalist exempt-level experience.
  • Focuses on program implementation rather than creation.
  • Respect based on level of knowledge
  • Uses established policies and guidelines in decision-making.
  • Typical positions may include:
    • Managers
    • Specialists
    • Consultants
    • Generalists

Characteristics of Ideal SPHR® Candidate

  • Extensive knowledge of all aspects of HR, and ultimate accountability in HR department.
  • Six to eight years of progressive exempt-level experience.
  • Broad development and planning responsibilities
  • Strong understanding of organization's business and industry, in addition to HR.
  • Senior-level influence on organization's goals and future.
  • Respect due to level of experience and breadth of knowledge.
  • Typical positions may include:
    • Vice Presidents
    • Directors

Minimum testing requirements

Please review the new-for-2011-and-beyond HRCI minimum eligibility requirements for testing. Your success on the examination will depend on the quality and quantity of your experiences, your level of comfort with timed multiple-choice tests, and the amount of effort you are willing to expend in preparation. Brandman University does not screen candidates into this program, as some other schools do, but depends on you to determine your own readiness for this challenge.

About the SHRM Learning System®

  • The SHRM Learning System® offers a variety of study features that reinforce concepts and help students prepare for the certification exam:
  • Periodic online updates cover significant changes in legislation and HR policies
  • Comprehensive bank of test questions - more than 1,600 in all
  • Practice tests that are formatted to mimic the current HRCI exam experience
  • An interactive case study featuring real-life scenarios to text students’ ability to apply concepts learned throughout the course
  • SPHR® Preparation Book to help students take a more strategic approach, applying information across functional areas
  • Access to the SHRM Learning System®; Resource Center, featuring HR updates, Webcasts, test-taking tips, related links, and eFlashcards that can be printed or downloaded to a PDA.

The SHRM Learning System® course provides an in-depth study of key areas in human resource management. Course materials include six extensive print modules that correspond to the six functional areas, responsibilities, and associated knowledge defined by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI):

  • Strategic Management Includes the role of HR in organizations, the strategic planning process, assessing the internal environment, scanning the external environment, evaluating HR’s strategic contributions, ethical issues affecting organizations, and HR and the legislative and regulatory environment.
  • Workforce Planning and Employment Covers key legislation affecting employee rights, privacy and consumer protection, EEO/Affirmative Action, gender discrimination and harassment, organizational staffing requirements, job analysis and documentation, recruitment, flexible staffing, selection and retention, organizational exit, and employee records management.
  • Human Resource Development Examines key legislation, HRD and the organization, organizational development initiatives, adult learning and motivation, training and development, talent management, developing leaders, and performance management.
  • Total Rewards Includes key compensation legislation, total rewards and the strategic focus of the organization, compensation structure, compensation systems, introduction to benefit programs and key benefits legislation, government-mandated benefits, deferred compensation plans, health-care benefits, other non-statutory benefits, compensation and benefits for international employees, and evaluating the total rewards system and communicating it to employees.
  • Employee and Labor Relations Covers laws affecting employee and labor relations, employee relations and organizational culture, employee involvement strategies, measuring employee attitudes, policies, procedures, and work rules, discipline and complaint resolution, labor relations legislation and union organizing, unfair labor practices, collective bargaining, and strikes and secondary boycotts.
  • Risk Management Examines organizational risk, key legislation, safety, health, security, and privacy.

Course participants will also receive an SPHR® Preparation Book for specialized SPHR training.

For more information about the SHRM Learning System materials, and a free demo, visit Participants successfully completing the course will receive certificates of completion from both Brandman University and the Society of Human Resource Management, as well as 4.0 Continuing Educational Units (CEU’s).

The Required Small Print

Course content reflects the general body of knowledge tested by the Human Resource Certification Institute. This course of study will in no way guarantee or ensure success on the HRCI exam. Students should use the most recent edition of the SHRM Learning System® materials for this course. It is also recommended that the student, prior to or concurrent with taking this review class, obtain a good HR Management college text and read it cover-to-cover as a supplement to the SHRM materials.
Extended Education, 16355 Laguna Canyon Road, Irvine, CA 92618

Examination Information

Testing fees are not part of the Brandman Exam Prep Course tuition costs. Testing is conducted exclusively by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) and requires a separate registration. An application form for the exam will be included in your provided materials. For full information on testing applications and schedules fees, see the HRCI exam info page.

Important Links

SHRM Website
HR Certification Institute
HRCI Certification
New minimum testing requirements
Testing schedules and fees
Thompson Prometric Testing Centers


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