Thursday, February 06, 2014

Getting My PHR

Recently I obtained my PHR certification (Professional in Human Resources).  It's sorta like getting your real estate license for human resources.  It proves that you have the body of knowledge to be both a support to staff and a strategic partner to leadership, and that you know the laws that govern what a business can and cannot do. 

There are six disciplines in HR that need to be known:
  1. Business Management and Strategy
  2. Workforce Planning and Employment
  3. Human Resource Development
  4. Compensation and Benefits
  5. Employee and Labor Relations
  6. Risk Management
The trick is that you are tested on all of these subjects in one exam.  It's not like you study for Risk Management, take an exam, then study for HR Development, take an exam...   It's just one long 4-hour final on all the topics at once.  It has a 50% pass rate, which means as many people fail as pass.

It was, perhaps, the hardest exam I've ever taken.  And studying was really challenging for me; I haven't studied for an exam in over 20 years.  And I found that my retention is not as good at 47 as it was at 27, and neither is my attention span.  I was diagnosed a few years ago with ADHD.  So for this, I basically had to not necessarily learn the information as much as I just needed to become familiar with it or at least recognize series of words.  I studied - no joke - for 3 months. 

Ultimately, it was all worth the agony.  It was either this or grad school and I didn't want to spend the money or the time, or even try to convince myself that I would be a good student again.  It took me a while to really figure out what I wanted to do with my career and this was worth the investment for me.  Now I can command a higher salary because of the credential. 

And I get to put a few letters after my name now.  So that's cool, too.