Continuing Your Education after PHR/SPHR Certification

By Sandra M. Reed

The expectation of the newly certified HR professional is that you continue to engage in professional development activities; therefore, both the PHR and SPHR certificates are valid for three years. That means that you must recertify your credentials in one of two ways: retake the exam or earn credits. Not surprisingly, many choose to earn the 60 recertification credits over the three-year active window rather than sit for the exam again.

Recertification credits aren’t difficult to obtain, but you need to be on the lookout for opportunities. Approved activities may fall into any of the following categories:

  • Continuing education: Part of the HRCI code of ethics is that HR professionals commit to professional development. Taking classes, attending seminars, and participating in webinars are all activities that can go toward recertifying your credential.

  • Instruction: Teaching an HR class or a topic of which you’re an expert is a great way to reinforce your learning while mentoring others. Perhaps you can guest speak at your local university or present at an HR networking luncheon.

  • On-the-job training (OJT): The classic OJT works for recertification credits. They typically need to be for tasks or responsibilities that are new to your role.

  • Research/publications: With the abundance of online publishing, blogs, and e-newsletters, plenty of opportunities are out there for you to write on an HR topic that may be trendy or of interest to other professionals. Conducting field, boots-on-the-ground research and sharing your findings is another creative and job-related way to get recertified.

  • Leadership: Leading teams or projects are not only bonus worthy, but they also will earn you recertification credits with proper documentation.

  • Professional membership: Log any professional memberships you have such as SHRM or ATD for additional credits.

There is also no need to only look for approved programs. After you’re certified, you’ll be able to go into your HRCI profile and log work activities or educational activities to submit along with your recertification application.