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HRCI Recertification

HRCI Recertification

Like many HR professionals, you’ve dedicated significant effort to earning your online human resources certification from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). Given that only one in four HR managers has a professional designation, this achievement positions you to stand out and craft effective, agile strategies for your organization’s long-term success.

The certification initials after your name indicate more than just completion of a program—they reflect your commitment to shaping your career. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), having an HR certification can expand your job prospects. Many employers prefer certified candidates, and some even mandate it. Now that you have your HR credential, maintaining it is the next step.

HRCI certification requires renewal every three years. Instead of retaking the test, you can accumulate recertification credits gradually through various activities such as volunteering, attending conferences, and other qualifying events. While some continuing education opportunities for HR professionals can be costly, there are numerous ways to earn free HRCI credits, often without leaving your office.

This article will cover the essentials of HRCI recertification, how to find free credits, and why maintaining your certification is beneficial.

How Many Credits Do You Need for HRCI Recertification?

To retain your HRCI credential, you must accumulate either 45 or 60 credit hours every three years, including at least one ethics credit to stay current with the latest workplace standards. The exact number of credits required depends on your specific credential.

HR professionals with the following credentials need 45 credit hours:

  • Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR®)
  • Associate Professional in Human Resources – International (aPHRi™)

For those with these credentials, 60 credit hours are necessary:

  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR®)
  • Professional in Human Resources – International (PHRi™)
  • Professional in Human Resources – California (PHRca®)
  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®)
  • Senior Professional in Human Resources – International (SPHRi™)
  • Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR®)

If you hold multiple designations, the total number of required credits for recertification might be reduced. Moreover, professionals with certain designations must also include either 15 California, 15 Business, or 15 Global credits in their total.


After completing an activity, it must be submitted for review and approval through the HRCI recertification application process.

How to Calculate HRCI Credits

When engaging in activities, it’s important to monitor your credit hours and understand what counts toward them. Calculating HRCI recertification credits is straightforward: one recertification credit hour corresponds to one hour of learning time, rounded to the nearest quarter hour.

However, note that not all parts of continuing education sessions qualify as educational. Essential but non-educational components like registration, meal times, and breaks are necessary for the smooth running of the event and attendee comfort, but they do not count toward credit hours.


When calculating HRCI recertification credits, you must exclude the time spent on these non-educational activities. For example, if a workshop consists of 3.5 hours of learning and a 30-minute lunch break, you should only count the 3.5 hours of educational time.

Do Extra HRCI Credits Count?

Accumulating credit hours through work and other activities
can be quite straightforward, so you may find you’ve gathered more than needed.
If you have earned extra hours beyond what’s required for recertification, you
can carry over up to 15 credits. To be eligible, you must be actively certified
and have earned these surplus credits within the last 12 months of your three-year
recertification cycle.

However, don’t feel pressured to exceed the minimum
requirements for maintaining your designation. It’s your choice whether to earn
more than the necessary HRCI credits and to submit any extra. Meeting the
minimum requirement is sufficient to keep your credential active.

What If My HRCI Certification Expires?

Similar to standard HR certification programs, it’s essential to keep up with the latest recertification requirements and timely submit activities for approval. HRCI will send email reminders as your credential’s expiration date approaches. If you miss the deadline, your credential will be suspended for up to 12 months. Failure to recertify within this suspension period will result in the expiration of your credential.

If your credential expires, you will need to reapply and pass the current HR certification exam offered by HRCI.

To avoid this, you can easily log credit hours for relevant activities you enjoy or are assigned at work. This proactive approach will save you the cost of retaking the PHR® certification exam or studying again for the GPHR® certification.

10 Ways to Get Free HRCI Recertification Credits

HRCI recertification doesn’t need to be expensive or
difficult—you can earn HRCI credits for free in various ways. By diversifying
your options, you can stay informed about the latest industry developments in
ways that suit your personal and professional needs. HRCI offers several
methods to obtain free or low-cost credits:

Pre-Approved Programs Credits: No maximum
Requirements: HRCI-approved provider Participate in programs conducted by
HRCI-approved providers. These include conferences that provide a pre-approved
program ID, which can be used to report general HR credits. However, specific
credits like Business, Global, California, or Ethics need to be self-reported
under a separate category.

Self-Reported Programs Credits: 30-credit maximum
Requirements: Approval by an HRCI reviewer In-house training can count toward
HRCI recertification even if it wasn’t pre-approved. The activity must align
with the HRCI Exam Content Outline and contribute to your HR knowledge.
Personal development activities like time management or stress reduction are
not eligible. You’ll need to explain the relevance to your Exam Content Outline
and provide documentation for review.

HRCI Resources Credits: 40-credit maximum
Requirements: Approval by an HRCI reviewer Utilize HRCI resources to earn free
credits, including webinars, videos, and books. These resources offer a range
of topics, and many are available for free or at a low cost. Examples include:

  • The
    Rise of HR: Wisdom from 73 Thought Leaders
    by Dave Ulrich et al. (free
  • Victory
    Through Organization
    by Dave Ulrich et al.
  • Fulfillment!
    Beyond Engagement
    by William A. Schiemann

On-the-Job Experience Credits: 40-credit maximum
Requirements: Approval by an HRCI reviewer Work-related projects, such as
rewriting an employee handbook, can earn credits. Provide a sample of your work
and a letter from your supervisor detailing your contribution. Repeated
activities must include new or updated elements to qualify.

Leadership Credits: 40-credit maximum Requirements:
Approval by an HRCI reviewer Earn credits by volunteering in an HR-related
organization or serving on an HR board. Include documentation of your role and
dates, and provide a summary of your contributions.

Instruction Credits: 40-credit maximum Requirements:
Approval by an HRCI reviewer Teaching a class, leading a workshop, or hosting a
webinar on an HR topic can earn credits. Submit proof of your efforts, such as
a syllabus or email.

HR Research and Publishing Credits: 40-credit maximum
Requirements: 700-word minimum; must be available for review Conducting
research and publishing content, such as articles, books, or blogs, can earn
credits. The amount depends on factors like your role, the type of content, and
its length.

HR Membership Credits: 12-credit maximum per cycle
Requirements: Must be a member for at least 6 months Submit proof of membership
in HR organizations to earn credits. This is an easy way to gain credits if
you’re already a member of an HR association.

Free HR Webinars (Approved by HRCI) Free webinars are
a convenient way to earn credits. Some sources for these webinars include:

  • BizLibrary
    HRCI Webinars
    : Offers both live and on-demand webinars, but verify
    they are HRCI-approved.
  • Human
    Capital Institute (HCI) HRCI Webinars
    : Sign up for a free HCI
    membership to access a variety of webcasts on topics like AI, workplace
    connections, and neurodiversity.
  • HR
    Daily Advisor HRCI Webinars
    : Links to various online events. Ensure
    the events are HRCI-approved for credit.
    HRCI Webinars
    : Offers webinars that can be filtered by the type of
    HRCI credit needed, such as General, Global, Business, or California

    HRCI Learning Center HRCI® Learning provides courses that help HR professionals
    earn recertification credits to maintain their certifications. These courses
    enhance HR expertise with proven practices, ensuring professionals stay current
    and advance their skills to drive business results.

    Recertification Provider Recertification Providers have met HRCI’s standards in offering learning for HRCI certified professionals. 

    Next Steps: Reap the Benefits of HR Recertification
    Earning HRCI recertification credits helps you stay current in the HR field,
    enhance your resume, and make valuable professional connections. This process
    supports your professional growth, continued learning, and ability to
    positively impact your organization. By keeping track of eligible activities
    and spreading them out over three years, HRCI recertification can be a
    manageable and enriching experience.


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