Graduate Programs for
Human Resources Management
Is a graduate degree right for you?
Deciding whether and when to attend graduate
school is a personal choice that must be made based on your individual
situation and needs. Human resources professionals have a variety of backgrounds
so there is no "one right path." Most students choose either
an MBA or an MS in Human resources or Industrial Relations. Another popular
choice is to attain a law degree.
To help you make some decisions about
life after you undergraduate degree, the National SHRM provides useful
information on HR Careers, including links to graduate schools and
insight from HR professionals and academics with regard to graduate degree
What is the PHR Certification?
The PRH Certification is a professional
certification in human resources. The PHR Certification is administered
by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI), an affiliate of
the National SHRM. According to the National SHRM, "Taking the exam
demonstrates to potential employers that you are motivated and committed
to the HR profession. When you write "passed PHR exam" on your
resume, it shows that you have mastered the HR body of knowledge and are
ready to begin work in the field." The PHR can be an important signal
to employers that you have the drive to advance in your profession. While
most organizations do not consider the PHR essential to hiring HR majors,
most would consider it a "plus" and as more and more recognize
the value of a professional HR function.
What benefits do I get from taking the PHR Certification
Taking the PHR Certification test
helps you to stay informed of new developments in the HR field through
the recertification process. It can improve your career advancement opportunities.
The PHR is a signal to peers, coworkers, and supervisors that you have
demonstrated significant professional achievement. You receive a certificate
that can be displayed and, after fulfilling the work requirements for
th PHR designation, you can use the acronym after your name on business
cards and correspondence, and other communications. This sets you apart
from those who do not have the certification. Finally, the PHR represents
a personal professional goal--a way to test your knowledge and measure
it against your peers.
If I pass the PHR Certification test,
can I put PHR or SPHR after my name (i.e., am I a certified Professional
No,, passing the PHR Certification test
is only part of what it takes to claim the PHR or SPHR. Both designations
also require some professional experience.
What is on the PHR Certification test?
The PHR Certification test has 200
scored multiple-choice questions plus 25 pre-test questions (which are
not scored and used for test development purposes). You have four hours
to complete the test which is administered by computer and in English
only. Some sample questions:
Question 1: In a matrix organizational
a.) Employees have three or more supervisors
b.) Two organizational structures exist at the same level
c.) Productivity is enhanced because of strict functional accountability
d.) Line authority is strengthened
(Answer: B. With a matrix organization
structure, two organizational structures exist at the same time: conventional
functional organization and a project team organization. Employees join
a project team but retain their positions in the conventional organization.
Matrix structures are often prevalent in new product development.)
·Question 2: When a union is attempting
to organize within a company, which of the following is a permissible
a.) “If you join the union, we may have to cut your wages.”
b.) “If the union organizes here, we may have to shut down.”
c.) “If a union organizes here, you are going to have to foot the
bill by paying union dues.”
d.) “If the union gets turned down, we may all get a raise.”
(Answer: C. Management may legitimately
educate employees regarding unions as long as it does not threaten, promise,
or coerce employees. During an organizing campaign, the TIPS rule should
be kept in mind. It is an unfair labor practice for an employer to Threaten,
Interrogate, Promise, or Spy on employees.)
Question 3: Which of the following positions
is considered an HR Specialist?
a.) Industrial Relations Director
b.) Human Resource Manager
c.) Personnel Administrator
d.) Human Resource Team Leader
(Answer: A. Industrial Relations Director
is responsible for only labor relations and safety functions. The other
positions are responsible for all major HR functions.)
How do I study for the PHR Certification test?
Study materials for the PHR Exam
1) The HRCI Certification Guide
which features test specifications
based on the HR body of knowledge, exam review methods, sample test questions
and rationales, a bibliography organized by functional area, and answers
to frequently asked questions.
2) The SHRM® Learning System which
is a computer-based/workbook program based on the HRCI test specifications
and which covers the six functional areas of HR. For more information,
contact the Holmes Corporation at (800) 444-5006 option 2 or visit the
SHRM homepage at www.shrm.org.
3) Textbooks, particularly the one by
Mathis & Jackson because it mirrors the major subject areas. The battery
of multiple choice questions provides great opportunities for drill and
practice. Bob Mathis has been actively involved in developing the exam.
Who is eligible to take the PHR Certification
Students and recent graduates are eligible
to take the PHR test. You have five years from the date of passing the
test to obtain the required two years of exemp-level (professional) HR
work experience that allows you to claim the PHR designation. Professionals
can take the test whenever they choose to do so.
If you take the test as a students or
recent grade, you must take it no earlier than 12 months before your graduation
date and no later than 12 months after graduation from a bachelor's or
graduate degree program.
Students are not eligible to take the
SPHR Certification test.
Is it a good idea to take the PHR Certification
Test while I am still in school even if I can't claim the PHR designation?
Yes! The pass rate among HR students is
higher than the pass rate among the general population of HR professionals.
Taking the test now takes advantage of your test-taking skills, skills
that will be lost the longer you are out of school. In addition, while
you may not feel you have a lot of practical experience, you do have considerable
textbook knowledge and the PHR is largely a test of HR theory rather than
a test of applied knowledge. Finally, taking the test now is cheaper than
taking it when you are no longer a student. You have five years after
taking the test to fulfill the other professional requirements for the
To learn more about the PHR Certification
Test, the National SHRM provides useful information on
the PHR for students and the HRCI provides
more details regarding the PHR testing and certification procedure and
the benefits of becoming a certified HR professional.
How much does it cost to take the PHR Certification
Test and how do I find out when it is offered?
To find out the current fee structure
and schedule for test administration,
the PHR for students and the HRCI provides
How do I apply to take the PHR Certification Test?
To apply online, go to www.hrci.org:
1) Complete the application form.
2) Confirm that the information entered
3) Print the summary page.
4) Receive e-mail confirmation.
5) Mail supporting documentation if needed.
Your application will be reviewed by Professional
Examination Service (PES) for eligibility. Authorization to test or notice
of ineligibility will then be sent to you in a letter. Once you are authorized
to test, schedule your exam at www.prometric.com or call (800) 467-9582.
Alternatively, you can complete the scannable
application and mail your payment and supporting documentation to: PES,
1800 Due St., Alexandria, VA 22314. PES asks that you do NOT fold the
application materials. You will receive an e-mail confirmation as above.
**Thanks to AAmanda Apkarian, Janie
Keesler, and Debbie Sarauer for compiling much of the information on PHR
How can I find out about jobs in Human Resources
There are many ways to find out about
internships and full-time job opportunities in HR:
1. UWO SHRM sends out email announcements
to its members whenever we hear of a new job opening.
2. The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Career Services is also an excellent source for information on jobs. Visit
Career Services and:
- Click on “Students/Alumni”
on the left side of the webpage.
- Log on to Titan Gold
- Click “Job Search” on
the top of the page.
- Select the criteria and hit search
or Click on “Student/Alumni” on the left side of the web
- Click “Job Banks” in the
second column (Jobs/Internships)This provides you with links to look
for jobs around the state.
3.Visit the National
SHRM site to find useful information about HR Careers and conducting
a job search.
4.Take a look at Dr. Rau's quick tip sheet
for planning your job search strategy.