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PHR/SPHR: Professional in Human Resources Certification Study Guide

PHR/SPHR: Professional in Human Resources Certification Study Guide

– Newly updated to reflect recent changes to the PHR and SPHR exams, Sandra M. Reed and Anne M. Bogardus’ best selling study guide is now available –


If you are preparing to take the Professional in Human Resources (PHR), or the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) examination from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), you most likely already know that they are the most widely recognized professional HR designations the world over.  But, if you are new to PHR and SPHR, you might want to do your career a favor and get to know a little more about them.


Why HR certification?

As you browse through HR job postings, you see these certifications mentioned more and more, as either a preference for a candidate, or as an outright requirement.  To some, certification means that you have taken the initiative to test yourself on your own body of knowledge in the HR profession.  To see if you measure up.  To see if your knowledge is current.  Also, to see where you might need improvement and further learning.


New “Body of Knowledge” content

Because HR is the type of profession that is in constant flux, every five years the HRCI painstakingly goes through a process of updating their HR “Body of Knowledge”, all the information on which the exams are based.


To do this update, 1000 HR professionals are extensively surveyed on all aspects of their daily jobs.  The data is then collected, processed, and then used to remove areas from the “Body of Knowledge” that is no longer relevant to today’s HR professional, and to include new information that has become necessary for the job.


As of May 2012, all examinations for PHR and SPHR are based on this new content.



The guide

To help you in your preparation for the exam, the PHR / SPHR: Professional in Human Resources Certification Study Guide has been newly updated to reflect the recent changes to this “Body of Knowledge.”




Covered are the 6 key functional areas of HR:

  1. Business Management & Strategy (changed from Strategic Management)
  2. Workforce Planning and Employment
  3. Human Resource Development
  4. Compensation and Benefits (changed from Total Rewards)
  5. Employee and Labor Relations
  6. Risk Management

Chapter review questions and case studies are included for each functional area.


Some new areas of information include:

  • Business plan development & execution
  • Electronic media policies
  • Executive coaching
  • Cost/benefit analysis of HR projects


Bonus study tools

As a bonus, you get access to 200 online sample questions, two practice exams (one for PHR, one for SPHR), electronic flashcards, and additional helpful PDF documents.


The verdict

As a concise, useable resource to help you prepare for the updated examinations, this study guide is highly recommended.


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  1. Ms. George says:

    I am very excited about the new PHR/SPHR study guide and look forward to reviewing it. I can’t afford the study materials offered by SHRM or the classes offered by participating schools. Will the study guide be enough to prepare for the PHR exam?

    • Lisa Evanyshyn says:

      I guess that would be up to you to decide! If by reading this guide you learn something new about a topic or get a better grasp of an HR concept, then that knowledge should serve you far beyond the exam… 🙂 Happy studying!

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