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The first Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) test was administered in 2004 by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). Four years later, more than 1,000 HR professionals have passed the GPHR exam and been certified.
According to HRCI Executive Director Mary Power, a certification program is deemed successful after it has reached 1,000 certified persons in five to seven years, making HRCI’s accomplishment a benchmark for the certification industry and a milestone for the program.
The most recent GPHR exam session was administered on April 3, 2008, in Boston, where 36 HR professionals passed the test, taking the certification count above the 1,000 mark.
“HRCI is very proud of the success of the GPHR program,” said Power. “We feel strongly that in the next few years, the program will expand significantly as business and the role of the HR professional increasingly take on a much greater global emphasis.”
With more HR professionals working in a worldwide marketplace and engaging in international relations, an understanding of global HR issues is more critical than ever, according to HRCI.
GPHR certification recognizes the holder’s mastery of global HR policies and strategies. The exam tests a person’s grasp of the international HR body of knowledge and is useful for HR professionals who regularly exercise global HR strategies, engage in international HR operations and assignment management.
“Obtaining the certification is a valuable way for HR professionals to prepare themselves and be ready for the challenges that come when a company transitions to the global market,” said Power. Ideal GPHR candidates have a working knowledge of international assignment strategies and policies, as well as international HR operations, and are able to create and institute global HR strategies at a mastery level.
After several years of identifying and updating the HR body of knowledge into six core functional areas, including global staffing, international employee relations and regulations, and global compensation and benefits, HRCI said the test can provide peace of mind for employers.
“As the world moves toward a more globally focused economy, employing GPHR-certified HR professionals becomes more desired,” said Power. “It is difficult to prove knowledge, but achievement of the GPHR credential is an indication of experience-based knowledge and commitment to continue professional education and development in the area of global HR.”
The GPHR exam consists of 165 multiple-choice questions—150 scored questions and 15 pre-test questions—all designed to test the individual’s HR body of knowledge as it relates to recently published HR material. Test takers are given three hours to complete the exam.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) developed the SHRM Global Learning System to help candidates prepare for the certification exam through a computer-based workbook developed around HRCI exam specifications. Test-takers who attend GPHR preparation classes tend to pass the exam at a higher rate than those who do not, according to HRCI.
Interested candidates can also acquire a GPHR Certification Guide from the SHRM bookstore, or other book vendors, which comes with a practice exam, test-taking tips and suggested resources.
Candidates do not have to be SHRM members to take the test. A $75 application fee to take the exam is required. Exam fees vary depending on SHRM membership with non-members paying $350 vs. $300 for members. Students and recent graduates are charged a total of $120 to apply and take the exam.
The last GPHR exam of the year can be taken between Dec.1 and Dec. 31, 2008. Interested applicants must register by Oct. 10, or they can register by Nov. 14 and pay late fees. GPHR and PHR or GPHR and SPHR can be earned simultaneously.
Susan Lackey is an intern in the SHRM Editorial Department.
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