In order to be eligible to sit for this exam, you must meet education and experience
requirements. You must have a master’s degree and a minimum of four years as a
professional HR employee OR you must have a bachelor’s degree and five years’
experience as a professional HR employee OR you must have a high school diploma
and seven years’ experience as a professional HR employee.
The SPHR Exam is computer-based and consists of a total of 175 questions. Of these
questions, only 150 are scored. You will have 3 hours to complete the exam.
Special testing accommodations are available to those who require them, and have a
medical condition that is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. To
request such accommodations, this must be done in writing.
A recorder, reader, zoom text font size, wheelchair access, extended testing time, a
separate testing area, and Jaws software are some of the accommodations that
can be provided.
What functional and knowledge areas are covered on this exam?
- Functional Area 1: Leadership and Strategy – 40%
- Functional Area 2: Talent Planning and Acquisition – 16%
- Functional Area 3: Learning and Development – 12%
- Functional Area 4: Total Rewards – 12%
- Functional Area 5: Employee Relations and Engagement – 20%
Leadership and Strategy
Under the leadership and strategy functional area, some of the areas in which senior
professionals are expected to have knowledge include the strategic planning
process, corporate governance procedures, vendor selection, project management,
proper technology to support human resource activities, change management, risk
management, and budgeting.
Talent Planning and Acquisition
Under the talent planning and acquisition functional area, some of the areas in which senior
professionals are expected to have knowledge include recruitment, talent
management, interviewing, terminating, marketing, negotiation, and due
Learning and Development
Under the learning and development functional area, some of the areas in which senior
professionals are expected to have knowledge include training program
implementation, adult learning, instructional design, career development
theories, effective communication, employee retention, and promoting creativity
Under the total rewards functional area, some of the areas in which senior professionals
are expected to have knowledge include compensation strategies, job analysis
and pricing, external labor markets, non-cash compensation, benefits, and
Employee Relations and Engagement
Under the employee relations and engagement functional area, some of the areas in which senior
professionals are expected to have knowledge include encouraging positive
employee relations, performance management, human relations, professional and
ethical standards, diversity and inclusion, workplace safety, emergency
response, internal investigations, security, and privacy.
What is the most convenient way to apply for the exam?
Apply and pay online. Once approved, you will receive a 120-day testing window in which you can take the exam.
What is the cost of taking this exam?
The cost of taking this exam is $495 for the exam, and $100 for the application fee, for a total of $595.
What are the testing dates and locations?
Testing for this exam is offered on a continuous basis. There are many test centers and dates to choose from throughout the world.
What should I do the day of the exam?
Be sure to get to the testing center at least 15 minutes early. This extra time will be needed for you to go through the check-in process. Arriving late could prevent you from being able to take the exam. If you are not able to take the exam due to your tardiness, you will not receive a refund.
Bring one form of identification that includes your name, signature, and photo.
You are not allowed to bring a calculator, as one is built into the exam.
Although not an exhaustive list, other prohibited items from the testing area include cell phone, study materials, purses, and brief cases. Items brought into the testing area that are not allowed, must be stored in a locker on site.
What happens after I take the exam?
You will receive your unofficial score report before leaving the testing center. Also, in about a day or two, you will receive notification that your official score report is available online.
Upon passing the exam, you will receive a digital badge as your certificate. The option of purchasing a hard copy certificate is also available to you.
What is the minimum passing rate on this exam?
What happens if I don’t pass the exam?
You may schedule to re-take the exam, but must adhere to a 90-day waiting period before each attempt. Three attempts is the maximum in a 365-day period.
How Can I Prepare for the SPHR Test?
That’s a great question. We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.
- Do yourself a favor and study. Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try. Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping. All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance. If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
- Get a study guide or set of flashcards. Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them. We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!