The Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) exam is administered by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) for those pursuing certification as a senior HR professional.
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SPHR Exam Eligibility
To be eligible for the SPHR exam, you must meet at least ONE of the following requirements:
- You must have at least a master’s degree and a minimum of four years of professional HR experience.
- You must have at least a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five years of professional HR experience.
- You must have at least seven years of professional HR experience.
SPHR Exam Outline
The SPHR exam contains 140 multiple-choice questions, 25 of which are unscored, and you will be given 2.5 hours to complete the exam.
The exam is split into five functional areas, each of which assesses you via a set of responsibilities and a set of knowledge points:
The SPHR exam contains 140 questions, 25 of which are unscored, and you will have a time limit of 2.5 hours. The 25 unscored questions, known as “pretest” questions, are used to evaluate questions for future versions of the exam.
The questions on the exam are mostly multiple-choice, but there are a few other question types that may be used:
- Multiple-select: Select two or more correct answers from four answer options.
- Fill-in-the-blank: Complete a given sentence using a word, phrase, or numeral to fill in the blank.
- Drag-and-drop: Drag specific pieces of information from their initial position to their intended position.
- Scenarios: Read through the presented HR scenario and answer the related question(s).
The exam is split into five functional areas.
1. Leadership and Strategy (33%)
- Contributing to the development of the organizational strategy and planning
- Leading HR strategies aligned to the organization’s strategic plan
- Assessing internal and external factors that impact operations and management
- Using business metrics to drive achievement of strategic goals and objectives
- Making decisions and recommendations via credible and relevant information
- Managing workplace practices aligned with the vision, mission, values, CSR, ethics, and sustainability of the organization
- Evaluating strategies and practices to promote equity, inclusion, and diversity
- Analyzing HR metrics to inform actions within the organization
- Facilitating effective change strategies
- Ensuring alignment of HR strategies across the organization
- Evaluating the applicability of federal laws to organizational strategy
2. Workforce Planning and Talent Acquisition (17%)
- Evaluating organizational needs throughout business cycles
- Developing and implementing recruitment methods and techniques
- Evaluating strategies for onboarding new employees
3. Talent Management (23%)
- Evaluating the integration of DEI in the workplace culture
- Evaluating programs/processes in order to develop the workforce
- Analyzing business needs to develop a succession plan for key roles
- Evaluating strategies for employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention
- Aligning team and individual performance goals
- Implementing strategies and processes for leadership development
- Evaluating employee career growth opportunities
- Designing policies and processes for the return of employees to the organization
- Creating and evaluate labor strategies
- Assessing offboarding strategies and processes
4. Total Rewards (17%)
- Designing a total rewards philosophy and communications strategy
- Evaluating compensation and benefit strategies that attract, reward, and retain talent
- Developing employee recognition programs
5. HR Information Management, Safety, and Security (10%)
- Aligning HR data privacy and security processes to organizational data protection strategies
- Evaluating employee safety and security strategies
- Leading, implementing, and evaluating HR digitalization initiatives
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SPHR Exam Registration
To register for the exam, you must first create an online HRCI account and submit an application. Your application will include a $100 application fee.
Once your application is approved, you will receive an email confirming your approval and instructions on how to schedule your exam date with Pearson VUE. During this registration and scheduling period, you will need to pay the $495 examination fee.
If you decide to cancel your exam and not reschedule it for another day, you will not receive a refund of your examination fee.
If you need to reschedule your exam appointment, you can do so at least 48 hours before and within your original 180-day eligibility period for a rescheduling fee of $150.
When you successfully reschedule your exam, you will receive an email notification confirming your new appointment date, time, and location (if applicable).
On exam day, you must have one piece of government-issued, valid ID with a signature and a recent photograph. Resource materials, calculators, food and drink, and cell phones are not permitted in the testing center or at your desk if testing from home.
You should arrive at the testing center at least 15 minutes before your exam is scheduled to begin. After storing all personal items (cell phone, bag, books, etc.) in a locker, your ID will be checked and take your photo and digital signature.
Before the exam begins, you will be given the option to take a quick tutorial to become familiar with the testing system.
You can take breaks throughout the exam as needed, but your time on break counts against your allotted testing time. Additionally, you must refrain from speaking to other test-takers or asking questions about the exam to the test facilitator. Deviation from the rules could result in your exam being canceled.
You should begin running the exam software 15-30 minutes early by signing in to your HRCI account, which will then sign you on to the Pearson VUE system. From this point, you will be prompted to conduct a system test, after which you will connect with your assigned online proctor. The proctor will verify your identity using your government-issued ID.
The proctor will then ask you to scan your surroundings using your webcam and to turn off any additional monitors.
Once your exam begins, you cannot leave the webcam view, take breaks, talk to yourself, or look around the room. Your focus must be on the computer monitor, and other people must be out of your testing space while you take the exam.
How the SPHR Exam is Scored
The SPHR exam is scored using the modified-Angoff method, which takes your raw score (the number of questions you answered correctly) and converts it to a scaled score on a scale of 100-700. The passing score for this exam is 500.
You will receive your preliminary score report before you leave the testing center, and your official score report will be emailed to you within 24 to 48 hours. If you took the exam through the remote proctor option, you will receive your official score report in an email within 24 to 48 hours.
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How many questions are on the SPHR exam?
There are 140 questions on the exam.
How long is the SPHR exam?
The time limit for this exam is 2.5 hours.
What does SPHR stand for?
SPHR stands for Senior Professional in Human Resources.
What is the passing score for the SPHR exam?
To pass the exam, you must achieve a scaled score of at least 500.
How much does the SPHR exam cost?
The application fee is $100, and the examination fee is $495.