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What Is the SPHRI Certification and How to Get Certified

If you work in the Human Resources (HR) industry and you want to advance in your career and gain more recognition then a professional certification is a must-have. 

Professional Certification acts as a form of validation for the skills and expertise you have in the HR industry and its activities.

And due to the high level of knowledge you gain about new practices and trends when undergoing a certification program, your organization can easily entrust you with certain tasks or positions that they can’t give to your colleagues who don’t boast of the level of knowledge to effectively handle them. 

The most highly recognized certification in the HR industry currently is the Senior Professional in Human Resources International (SPHRi) certification so if you want to get a professional certification that will give you a boost in your career, this is the one you should go for. 

The SPHRI certification which is issued by the renowned HR Certification Institute (HRCI), improves your efficiency and also opens your door to more advanced career prospects, networking opportunities, events, and higher roles, and salaries. 

However, with the numerous benefits of this certification comes a process that can be tiring and rigorous, and you will need a high level of preparation, discipline, and resilience to be able to scale through it. 

In this article, I will be explaining the step-by-step process you need to follow to get an SPHRi certification, the eligibility criteria, how to properly prepare for it, and lots more. 

Let’s get right into it.

Understanding The SPHRi Certification

What Is The SPHRi Certification?

The SPHRi Certification is the certification that serves as a confirmation of the expertise you have in HR management practices, strategies, principles, and policies on the international level.

If you have this certification, organizations can be assured of your credibility and ability to implement HR management practices and help them achieve their goals in an international setting. 

However, the SPHRi Certification best suits HR professionals who have advanced experience and knowledge in the field, or HR management consultants/advisors who have worked at a multinational or international level.

To enroll for this certification, you must have prior knowledge of the management of HR operations, development, and implementation of HR policies and strategies in a multinational or international organization. 

Now, let’s look at the key differences between the SPHRi and PHRi certifications.


SPHRi vs. PHRi: Key Differences

Here are the major differences between  SPHRI and PHRi certifications:

1. Focus Areas

The major difference between the SPHRi certification and the PHRi certification is the area they focus on. 

SPHRI certification focuses on the strategic aspect of the HR field and is for professionals who operate in that area while PHRi certification focuses on the tactical or operational areas of the HR industry and is meant for people who operate in these areas. 

Below is a table showing some of the key functional areas that both of these certifications focus on: 



Business Leadership HR Administration and Shared Services
Talent Development, and Management Compensation, Benefits and Work Experience 
HR Service DeliveryHR Information Management
Measurement and AnalysisTalent Acquisition 

2. Level Of Expertise Required

Another significant difference between these certifications is the level of expertise that is required for you to obtain them. 

SPHRi certification is meant for HR professionals who are experienced in the field and are seeking to advance their careers to advanced leadership positions, while PHRi certification is for HR professionals who are just in the field for a few years and are looking to establish a foundation of their knowledge in the HR industry.

Below is a table that best explains the level of expertise/educational qualification that you are required to have before being qualified to apply for any of these certifications.


SPHRi CertificationPHRi Certification
You must have a minimum of 4 years of professional-level experience in an HR role with either a Master’s degree or an international certificate that is equivalent to it.You must have at least 1 year of experience working in a professional-level HR role with either a Master’s degree or an international certificate that is equivalent to it. 
You must have a minimum of 5 years of professional-level experience in an HR position with a Bachelor’s degree or an international certificate that is equivalent to it.You must have at least 2 years of experience working in a professional-level HR role with either a bachelor’s degree or an international certificate that is equivalent to it. 
You must have a minimum of 7 years of professional-level experience in an HR role. You must have at least 4 years of experience working in a professional-level HR role.


Note: If you want to obtain an SPHRi certification then you must show that you have knowledge about local employment laws by presenting documented proof.

Benefits Of Obtaining The SPHRi Certification

1. Enhanced Career Prospects

Possession of the SPHRi Certification serves as proof that you have adequate knowledge, understanding, and experience in the HR industry and this can give you an edge when you apply for jobs and also help you get promoted to senior roles in the organization you work in.

This is because when candidates are being considered for either jobs or promotions, having this certification puts you ahead of others. 

Obtaining this certification can also give you higher chances of high-paying HR jobs from HRCi’s HR Job listings.

2. Recognition in The HR industry

Another benefit you will enjoy when you are SPHRi-certified is that you will be highly recognized in the HR Industry and held in high regard, no matter the location you are in the world.

With this certification, any organization in the HR industry will regard you as a senior-level HR professional who possesses the skills and expertise to provide them with strategies that can aid their growth. 

In addition, you will gain more respect and credibility from your colleagues, clients, and other HR professionals in the industry.


3. Access To A Global Professional Network

When you get the SPHRi certification through Clarion College you gain access  to The HR Board Memebrship, HRCI gives you access to its thought leadership community, volunteering opportunities, and learning events, where you can connect and collaborate with other certified HR professionals from all over the world and also learn from them. 

As an SPHRi-certified professional, HRCI also provides you with other exclusive resources and opportunities to network with SPHRi-certified professionals, such as webinars, conferences, and access to online communities, to help you learn more and further enhance your career prospects. 

Let’s now look at the requirements you need to meet to be eligible to obtain an SPHRi certification.

Eligibility Criteria for SPHRI Certification

Here are the work experience/educational background requirements that you need to meet before being eligible to obtain an SPHRi Certification: 

1. Educational Background Requirements

• Bachelor’s Degree Holders

One of the ways of being eligible for the SPHRi certification is having a bachelor’s degree in HR or a field that is related to it from an accredited institution. 

However, having a bachelor’s degree alone doesn’t make you eligible, you must have a minimum of 5 years of professional-level experience in an HR position under the belt. 

• Master’s Degree Holders

If you are a master’s degree holder then the work experience required is less. 

As compared to the 5 years of professional-level experience that is required from Bachelor’s Degree holders, having a master’s degree requires you to have 4 years of professional-level experience in an HR role instead to be eligible for the certification. 

2. Work Experience Requirements

If you only have experience with no educational degree to add to it then you must have a minimum of 7 years of professional-level experience in an HR role to be eligible for the certification. 


Let’s now move on and look at tips that you can use to meet the eligibility requirements.


Meeting The Eligibility Criteria: Tips And Best Practices

Now that you have known the eligibility requirements for the SPHRi certification, ensure your educational and experience level is up to that standard before applying for the certification. 

If your experience and educational levels meet the requirements then you can begin the application process but if they don’t then you shouldn’t bother applying. 

It would be unwise to go through the stress of applying for the certification if you don’t meet the requirements. 

What you should do if you don’t meet the requirements is to plan out how you can meet the necessary conditions. 

You can take up volunteering jobs in an HR to gain the needed experience level or enroll in an HR degree program in an accredited institution to gain the educational requirement.


SPHRi Exam Overview

A. Exam Format And Structure

1. Number Of Questions

The SPHRi certification exam has 115 scored questions and 25 pretest questions, which makes it 140 questions in total. 

2. Duration

This examination lasts for 2 hours and 45 minutes, with an additional 30 minutes of administration time, making it 3 hours and 15 minutes. 

3. Type of Questions

The questions on the SPHRi certification examination are mostly multi-choice questions but there are also Fill in the Blank,  Drag and Drop, and scenario questions.

To learn more about the format and structure of the SPHRi certification exam, click here.


B. Exam Content Outline

Functional Area 1: Business Leadership

The Business Leadership functional area constitutes 31% of the exam questions. 

It covers topics regarding:

  • Leadership of the HR operations in the organization
  • Provision and implementation of business and overall strategies
  • HR consultation
  • Evaluation of companies that could be acquired or merged with
  • Partnership with other areas in the organization
  • Understanding of global HR issues.

Functional Area 2: Talent Development and Management

Talent Development and Management constitute 27% of the exam content. 

This functional area covers:

  • Talent acquisition and management
  • Assessment of workforce planning, and development 
  • Recruitment strategies
  • Management of employee engagement, development, and relations
  • Implementation of programs to help employees improve and comply with labor laws and regulations
  • Performance evaluation and management
  • Employee Retention.

Functional Area 3: HR Service Delivery 

24% of the exam’s content comes from the HR Service Delivery area.

This functional area covers topics related to: 

  • Sustaining an organization’s growth using HR service delivery models
  • Implementation and management of benefits and compensation programs for employees
  • Management of HR tools, and technology
  • Employee onboarding
  • Implementation of programs that ensure flexible work practices
  • HR Industry trends
  • Provision of answers to employees on HR questions
  • Management of employee arrivals and departures
  • Ensuring compliance with HR laws and regulations.

Functional Area 4: Measurement and Analysis 

The Measurement and Analysis area makes up 18% of the exam, making it the functional area with the lowest contribution of content in the SPHRi certification exam.

It covers topics such as: 

  • Data Analysis
  • Development and usage of data on how the employees and the organization as a whole are performing.
  • Conduction of HR research and program evaluation
  • Interpretation of data to improve the performance of employees and boost the value of the organization.
  • Reporting HR analysis to an organization’s stakeholders.

C. Scoring And Passing Criteria

The minimum score of the SPHRi certification is 100, while its maximum score is 700, and its passing score is 500. 

Once you are done with the exam, you will receive your exam score immediately, and in case you do not pass the exam, you will be able to retake it after a waiting period of 90 days.

Having discussed how the SPHRi exam is fashioned, let’s discuss how to properly prepare for it.

Preparing for the SPHRi Exam

Two of the best ways of properly preparing for the SPHRi Exam are by studying the relevant resources and attending a training program.  

A. Self-study Resources

1. HR Certification Institute(HRCI) Official Study Materials

Here are some official HRCI study materials you can study as you prepare for your certification exam: 

2. Recommended Books and Publications

HRCI does not recommend any study material for the certification preparation. Certification preparation providers use materials that they access to be helpful for training programs. At Clarion College, Our team of certified professional Lecturers have developed training manuals in line with HRCI SPHRi course outline which has given our students achieve 100% success rate in their examination.

B. Training Courses And Workshops

1. Online Training Providers

These are training providers that can equip you with the right knowledge that you can use to ace your SPHRi certification exams without you having to go to a visit location. 

The courses and resources provided by these providers are usually self-paced and you can access them from any location in the world with just your mobile device and internet connection. 

We offer an online SPHRi course that can provide you with the required knowledge to help you to prepare properly for the certification exam. 

To access the course, click here.


2. Classroom Training Options

If you do not want to apply for an online SPHRi training course then you can opt for a classroom training option. 

This training system requires your physical presence in the learning center and as opposed to the online training system, this training is usually not self-paced. 

There are stipulated periods that you must follow while you learn.

If you are in Nigeria, and Ghana, we have classroom training programs that can properly prepare you for your SPHRi exam. 

We have experienced instructors who will cover all the functional areas of the SPHRi exam content outline and ensure you get a hold of it before you sit for your certification exam.

Click here to enroll for this physical training if you are in any of these areas.


C. Tips For Effective Exam Preparation

Here are some tips you can follow to properly prepare for the SPHRi certification examination: 

• Understand How The Exam Is Structured

The first tip to passing your SPHRi certification is learning how it is structured, its format, and also its content outlines. 

Knowledge of these will help you know how to prepare, the areas to focus on, and what to expect on the examination day. 

So, endeavor you visit the SPHRi certification section on the official Clarion College website and study these areas.  

Another way to learn how the SPHRi certification examination is structured is by taking practice exams on Uleala Skills Assessment. You can gain practice access for free by training at Clarion College. 

• Create A Study Plan And Stick To It 

Next, you must create a studying schedule and try your best to stick to it. 

Make sure your study plan is set up in a way that will fit your schedule and also your preferred learning style. 

You should also set it up in a way that you can break down the study materials you have into small sections and different days for proper comprehension.

• Study Different Learning Materials 

Another key tip you should bear in mind while preparing for the SPHRi certification examination is that you need to have different study materials from various sources to have a broader and clearer understanding of the functional areas which the exam will be set from. 

After studying the study resources you have gathered, ensure you take practice examinations frequently to assess how far you have gone, and the areas you need to work on. 

It can also help you build your confidence towards the exam, and how to relieve the anxiety that comes with the exam. Clarion College has assembled the best resources to help you pass in one sitting.

• Join Study Groups  

Forming or joining already-existing study groups is another great way to prepare for this certification exam

In these groups, you can connect with other candidates who can help you remain accountable in maintaining your studying schedule, and answer the questions that you have concerning the exam.

Applying For The SPHRI Certification Exam

A. Application Process

You can apply for the SPHRi certification exam on HR Certification Institute (HRCI) official website. The downside of this is that you will not enjoy the discount fee that studying with an approved HRCI certification preparation provider can give. You can enjoy as much as $150 discount through Clarion College.

First, you will need to create an account on the website and then submit an application.

After that, you will need to provide information about your education, work experience, and professional references.

B. Exam Fees And Payment Methods

The current exam fee for the SPHRi certification is $495, with an additional $100 application fee to sum it up to $595. 

The payment of the exam fee can be made through check, credit card, or money order.

Once you have paid the exam fee and your exam application is approved, you would be able to get a refund even if you withdraw from the exam or do not want to take the exam again.

C. Scheduling Your Exam

1. Choosing A Testing Center Or Remote Proctoring Option

After paying for your SPHRi certification exam fee, and having your application approved, you will need to schedule your exam.  

And the first step in scheduling your exam is choosing how and where you want to take the exam. 

You can choose to take it in a Pearson VUE testing center or through remote proctoring. 

Going for the remote proctoring option will allow you to take the exam with your laptop, however, you will need to install a webcam and microphone so that a live proctor can monitor you while you take the exam. In Africa, you can only take test at an approved test center.

2. Selecting An Exam Date And Time

After choosing whether you want to take your exam in a testing center or remotely, the next step is to choose the date and time at which you will write the exam.

When doing this, ensure you choose a time and time that is favorable and works best for you. 

When you are done doing this, you will receive a confirmation email containing the instructions that you need to follow on the exam day and other relevant information.

Final Thoughts and Encouragement

SPHRi certification also gives you an edge over your colleagues when the organization you work for wants to assign advanced roles and positions, so if you want to take steps forward in your career ensure you obtain it.

It also opens doors of recognition and networking opportunities for you globally. 

However, the process of getting the SPHRi certification isn’t going to be an easy one but with perseverance and resilience, you will scale through, I can assure you of that.

There are days when you will feel like giving up, but on days like that, ensure you remind yourself of the benefits of the SPHRi certification to your career, and it will help provide you with a boost to keep going. 

Lastly, endeavor to embrace the opportunities that are being presented to you by the global HR landscape. 

From the networking opportunities to the global up-to-date trends, knowledge, and skills about the HR industry that you will gain from being part of the numerous events, seminars, webinars, and webinars that are being organized, make sure you don’t miss out on any of it.


1. What Is The Value Of An SPHRi Certification?

SPHRi Certification is very valuable in the HR industry. With this certification:

  • You are verified as a top-level HR professional with adequate understanding, knowledge, and skills in handling HR roles both locally and internationally
  • You will have more advanced career prospects
  • Your professional credibility will increase 
  • You will be more recognized in the HR industry both locally and internationally 
  • You will have access to a global network of HR professionals who you can collaborate or work with.

2. What Are The Eligibility Requirements For The SPHRi Certification?

According to HRCI, here are the eligibility requirements for the SPHRi Certification: 

  • You must have a minimum of 4 years of professional-level experience in an HR role with either a Master’s degree or an international certificate that is equivalent to it.
  • You must have a minimum of 5 years of professional-level experience in an HR position with a Bachelor’s degree or an international certificate that is equivalent to it.
  • You must have a minimum of 7 years of professional-level experience in an HR position with a high school diploma or an international certificate that is equivalent to it.

3. How Much Does It Cost To Get SPHRi Certified?

The current cost of the application and exam fee for the SPHRi certification examination as stated on HRCI’s official website is $595, Studying with Clarion College gives you a great discount. You pay only $450.

However, there could also be additional costs such as study materials and training courses which you will get to help you properly prepare for the exam.

4. How Long Is The SPHRi Exam, And What Is The Passing Score?

The SPHRi Exam lasts for 2 hours and 45 minutes, with an additional 30 minutes of administration time, making it 3 hours and 15 minutes. 

The passing score for this exam is 500 marks out of the available 700 marks. 

5. What Is The Difference Between SPHRi and PHRi Certifications?

The difference between SPHRi and PHRi certifications include: 

  • The areas they focus on. 
  • The level of expertise/educational qualification that is required to apply for each of them. 
  • Their examination content outline. 
  • Their examination format and duration. 

6. Are There Any Recommended Study Materials For SPHRi Exam Preparation?

In as much as these are not recommended for any one who wants to pass at ease because you cannot trust a trainer you cannot verify his experience in helping people pass exams, Yes, there are. Here are some of them: 

7. How Long Does It Take To Prepare For The SPHRi Exam?

There is no specific duration that you can use to prepare that will guarantee you success in the SPHRi certification exam. 

Factors that can determine how long you should use to prepare for the SPHRi Exam include:

  • How far you scheduled the date and time for your certification exam
  • The amount of time you allocate to learning each day to studying your training course or study resources
  • How familiar you are with the SPHRi exam content outline
  • The number and length of the course and materials you need to learn from

8. Is It Possible To Pass The SPHRi Exam On The First Attempt?

Yes, it is, but it won’t be easy. 

To do it, you will need to:

  • Be dedicated to your certification goal
  • Allocate quality time to undergoing a course and studying as many materials as possible
  • Create a proper study plan and stick to it
  • Have a proper understanding of how the format and structure of the exam is
  • Understand the SPHRi exam content outline.

9. What Is The Success Rate For The SPHRi Exam?

According to HRCI, the success rate of the SPHRi certification exam as of 31st December 2022 is 72%, However at Clarion College, we have 99% success stories.

10. Can I Retake The SPHRi Exam If I Don’t Pass On My First Attempt?

Yes, you can. If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, you will be able to retake it after a waiting period of 90 days.

3rd October 2023
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