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HRCI Recertification

HRCI Recertification

Like many other HR professionals, you’ve worked hard to earn your online human resources certificate from HR Certification Institute (HRCI). Plus, only one in four HR managers holds a professional designation, which means more opportunities for you to stand out and develop effective, agile strategies for long-term company success. The letters after your name don’t just show your employer you’ve completed a human resource certificate program—they’ve likely helped you carve the career path you’ve envisioned for yourself. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an HR certification can help broaden your job opportunities. Many employers prefer job candidates who are certified, while others require it at their companies. But now that you’ve earned an HR credential, it’s time to work toward keeping it active. HRCI certification is not a one-and-done deal. You have to get HRCI recertified every three years to hold your designation. But instead of putting in the time and effort to retake the test, you can simply earn recertification credits little by little. Credit hours are collected by volunteering, attending conferences, and other qualified activities. While some continuing education for HR professionals can be expensive, it’s pretty easy to earn free HRCI credits—even without leaving your office. Along with award-winning HR software, BambooHR puts industry-leading insights and resources at your fingertips. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of HRCI recertification, where you can find free credits, and why the effort is well worth it.

How Many Credits Do You Need for HRCI Recertification?

To maintain your hard-earned HRCI credential, you need to complete either 45 or 60 credit hours every three years. This includes receiving at least one ethics credit, which ensures you’re up to date on the latest workplace best practices. The total number of credits for HRCI recertification depends on your credential.

HR professionals with the following must earn 45 credit hours:

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

For HR professionals with the credentials below, 60 credit hours are required:

  • 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 number of credits required to satisfy HRCI’s recertification requirement may be less. Additionally, HR professionals with select designations must include either 15 California, 15 Business, or 15 Global credits in their total.

Once you’ve completed an activity, it must be submitted for review and approval via the HRCI recertification application.

How to Calculate HRCI Credits

As you complete activities, keeping track of your credit hours and knowing what does and does not qualify is essential. Calculating HRCI recertification credits is simple: one recertification credit hour is equal to one hour of learning time, and each calculation is made to the nearest quarter hour.

However, many qualifying continuing education sessions include non-educational portions. While these are necessary for the activity to run smoothly and keep everyone comfortable, they don’t count toward credit hours:

  • Registration
  • Meal times
  • Breaks

When counting HRCI recertification credits, the time spent on non-educational activities must be excluded from your total. For instance, if you attend a workshop that includes 3.5 hours of learning plus a 30-minute lunch break, you’ll receive 3.5 credit hours for the learning time alone.

Do Extra HRCI Credits Count?

Earning credit hours can come quite easily on the job and in other places, so it may be no surprise that you’ve naturally accumulated a few extras. If you’ve earned more than enough hours for recertification, you can carry over up to 15 credits. To qualify, you must be actively certified and have earned surplus credits during the last 12 months of your three-year recertification cycle.

But don’t feel like you have to overachieve to keep your designation. Earning more than the minimum number of HRCI credits is entirely up to you, as is submitting your surplus credits. As long as you meet the minimum, you’ll fulfill the requirements to keep your credential active.

What If My HRCI Certification Expires?

Just like with regular HR certificate programs, it’s your responsibility to stay on top of the current recertification requirements and submit activities for approval on time. HRCI will send email reminders when your credential is nearing expiration. Once past date, it’ll be suspended for up to 12 months. If you don’t recertify during the suspension period, your credential will expire.

At this point, you’ll need to apply for and pass the most current human resource certificate program exam offered by HRCI.

However, this is a preventable route. It’s fairly simple to log credit hours for activities you’re interested in doing or tasked with at work. That way, you won’t have to spend money on the full PHR® certification cost or study for your GPHR® certification all over again.


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