New PHR / SPHR Requirements
Under the new recertification requirements, SPHR certified professionals are required to earn 15 of the 60 recertification credit hours over a three-year period specifically in the strategic management functional area.
(Effective 2006)

New recertification requirements took effect for all newly certified professionals in 2003 and for existing certificants whose certification expires in 2006 or later.

PHR and SPHR certificants whose certifications expire between 2003 and 2005 can recertify under either the old requirements or the new requirements. Certificants may not use a combination of the different requirements.

The requirement changes that were made recognize the rapidly changing workplace practices and policies, benchmarking with similar certification programs, and feedback from certified and noncertified professionals.


Functional Area

Current Requirements

PHR/SPHR* (Expire 2003-2005)
(Expire 2006 and beyond)

Continuing Education

All 60 hours can be achieved in this category

All 60 hours can be achieved in this category


20-hour maximum

20-hour maximum


20-hour maximum

20-hour maximum


10-hour maximum

20-hour maximum


10-hour maximum

10-hour maximum

Professional Membership

Must be SHRM national member to receive credit for a kindred national or international organization

No prerequisite of being a SHRM national member to receive credit for a kindred national or international organization.

*15 hours strategic management required for SPHR certified professionals whose certifications expire between 2003-2005 and who opt to recertify under the new requirements.


Needs Assessment
All newly certified professionals are encouraged–though not required–to conduct a needs assessment at the start of each recertification cycle to chart their professional development needs for recertification. To assist newly certified professionals with this, HRCI provides passing candidates with a breakdown of their scores by functional area.

Because needs assessments can take many different forms, from a formal written analysis to constructive feedback from a supervisor or mentor, HRCI does not require any particular needs assessment tool. Documentation of having conducted a needs assessment is not necessary when recertifying.


Increased On-the-Job Credit Hours
Because of the rapidly evolving nature of the HR profession and the changing needs of today’s workforce, many HR professionals find themselves acquiring new knowledge and skills on the job faster than ever before. In recognition of this, the maximum number of recertification credit hours that can be earned in the on-the-job category was increased. Consistent with existing practice, PHR and SPHR certificants are asked to list each on-the-job experience, the dates of the experience, and the number of hours. Also consistent with existing practice, certified professionals should list only those work activities that can be clearly demonstrated, in case of an audit, to be a first-time learning activity, the duration of that activity, and the knowledge acquired as a result of that activity. Under the new recertification requirements, a maximum of 20 credit hours can be earned during the three-year recertification cycle.


Specified Credit Hours
Under the new recertification requirements, SPHR certified professionals will be required to earn 15 of the 60 recertification credit hours over a three-year period specifically in the strategic management functional area. These recertification credit hours can be acquired through the continuing education, instruction, on-the-job or research/publishing categories.

The HRCI test specifications define strategic management as “the processes and activities used to formulate HR objectives, practices and policies to meet the short- and long-range organizational needs and opportunities, to guide and lead the change process, and to evaluate HR’s contribution to organizational effectiveness.” This definition will be used as the basis of the new strategic management requirements for SPHR-certified professionals.

A review of the “responsibilities” area under the strategic management functional area of the HRCI test specifications shows that the types of continuing education experiences which count toward the specified credit hours in strategic management actually give certificants the opportunity to explore areas beyond the conventional “HR-related” seminars and workshops.

For your guidance, the responsibility areas and examples of what would fulfill the strategic management requirement appear below.

1. Interpret information related to the organization’s operations from internal sources, including financial/accounting, marketing, operations, information technology and individual employees, in order to participate in strategic planning and policy-making.

This responsibility area recognizes that to be effective strategic partners, HR professionals must know the “business of business” and how it relates to the HR function and the organization’s strategic goals. Types of continuing education experiences that may count toward the strategic management requirement might include upper-level business writing courses, marketing workshops, finance for nonfinancial managers and seminars that discuss trends in the workplace (for example, the aging population, the labor shortage, ethical recruitment, etc.).

Programs specific to the certificant’s industry (i.e., health care) may also earn strategic management recertification credit hours. Certificants should be prepared to demonstrate why an industry-specific program (for example, “Challenges in the Health Care Industry”) added to their strategic management skills and the human resource management function.

2. Interpret information related to the general business environment, industry practices and developments, and technological developments from external sources (for example, publications, government documents, media and trade organizations), in order to participate in strategic planning and policy-making.

This responsibility area recognizes that HR professionals should be able to take work-related information from various resources, synthesize it and apply it to their own work settings. An example of an applicable “recertification” experience that would count under the strategic management area would be the research and development of an environmental scan for presentation during an organization’s strategic planning meeting. Another example might be the establishment of a formal process whereby the HR function regularly informs executives of industry trends and discusses how they may affect their own organization. Another example may be attending a seminar or workshop on how to make forecasts. Key in all of these examples is the ability of the certificant to produce documentation in case of audit.

3. Participate as a partner in the organization’s strategic planning process.

Certificants would receive credit for first-time participation in a strategic planning process within their organizations.

4. Establish strategic relationships with individuals in the organization, to influence organizational decision-making.

Examples of strategic management recertification credits awarded include learning about organizational culture and its affect on HR policies and practices.

5. Establish relationships/alliances with key individuals in the community and in professional capacities to assist in meeting the organization’s strategic needs.

Certificants would receive strategic management credits for HR-related work that includes an organizational social responsibility component such as a welfare-to-work or school-to-work program, philanthropic activities or alliances with community-based organizations.

Recertification credit would not be awarded for merely participating in company-sponsored activities. Certificants must be prepared to demonstrate their involvement in the program and how their HR expertise helped develop or further them.

6. Evaluate HR’s contribution to organizational effectiveness, including assessment, design, implementation and evaluation of activities with respect to strategic and organizational measurement in HR objectives (refers to participation in change management).

This responsibility area acknowledges that it is not enough to introduce new programs and initiatives within an organization, but to also constantly evaluate its return on investment. SPHR certificants would earn recertification credit in strategic management for designing and implementing such programs or for participating in workshops to learn how to measure HR’s contribution to organizational effectiveness.

7. Provide direction and guidance during changes in organizational processes, operations, planning, intervention, leadership training and culture that balances the expectations and needs of the organization, its employees and other stakeholders (including customers).

Demonstrated on-the-job leadership in change management would qualify for strategic management recertification credits. Strategic management credits would also be awarded for learning more about one’s industry, organizational operations, projected needs based on one’s industry, and how to best serve your organization’s customers.

8. Develop and shape organizational policy related to the organization’s management of its human resources.

Demonstrated first-time on-the-job experience in developing organizational policy based on your organization’s specific needs, such as instituting a telecommuting policy.

9. Cultivate leadership and ethical values in self and others through modeling and teaching.

Examples of strategic management recertification credits awarded include participation in leadership training, and development of an organization code of ethics.

10. Provide information for the organizational budgeting process, including budget development and review.

This responsibility area recognizes that to be leaders, HR professionals must have knowledge of budget development and review. HR professionals who may need additional training in this area would earn strategic management recertification credits for continuing education in finance for nonfinancial managers, budget development and forecasting.

11. Monitor legislative environment for proposed changes in law and take appropriate action to support, modify or stop the proposed action (for example, write to a Member of Congress, provide expert testimony at a public hearing, lobby legislators).

Strategic management recertification credits would be awarded when participating at the state or federal level to influence the outcome of workplace legislation or legislation that would affect your industry. This would include providing testimony and writing or meeting with legislators. HRCI awards one recertification credit hour for testifying to Congress or a state legislative body under the leadership category.