The title of Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) is granted to people who meet the requirements set by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Earning certification from the SHRM can greatly improve a person's career opportunities, as the title is highly valued by most business executives around the world. An individual who wants to become an SPHR generally needs to earn at least a bachelor's degree and gain several years of practical experience in the human resource field. With the appropriate education and training, a person can take the official certification exam.
A person who is interested in a human resources (HR) career can prepare by enrolling in an accredited four-year university. Many schools offer bachelor's degrees in HR, but if a specific program is unavailable a student can choose to major in business administration or accounting. HR coursework covers a wide range of important topics, including labor relations, bookkeeping, and business planning. Many undergraduates apply for HR clerk positions while going to school to gain practical work experience. Near the completion of a bachelor's degree program, an individual needs to decide if he or she wants to enter the workforce full-time or pursue a master's degree in the specialty.
A bachelor's degree is sufficient for most entry-level HR management jobs, but an advanced degree can significantly improve a person's chances of finding a high-paying position. Most master's degree programs take about two years to complete, during which time a student attends lectures and participates in group projects related to labor management. Many schools help students find internship opportunities to get them started in professional careers.
Bachelor's degree holders need at least two years of work experience to qualify for the SPHR exam, while people with master's degrees can apply for the test with one year of experience. Eligibility requirements can change, so it is worthwhile to visit the SPHR website to confirm current standards. The extensive SHRM requirements are in place to ensure workers are fully prepared for the comprehensive exam. An HR manager who wants to take the SPHR test can apply online, over the phone, or in person at an approved testing center.
The SPHR test is often considered a very difficult test to pass, even for seasoned HR managers. It covers a wide range of subjects, including sections on employee benefits, policy planning, business development, and risk management. An individual can prepare for the exam by enrolling in official test-prep workshops and buying SHRM-approved study guides and practice tests. Most employers are familiar with the difficulty of the test, and a person who is able to become an SPHR is often rewarded with a pay raise and advancement opportunities.