HR Leads Business

Jul 14, 2017 | Amine Issa Jr., PHR, Senior Director, Client Relations and Services, HRCI

Clarifying International Certifications: the PHRi and SPHRi From HRCI

HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®) continues to field questions about its recent announcement of earning National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accreditation for its two international certifications: the Professional in Human Resources – International™ (PHRi™) and the Senior Professional in Human Resources – International™ (SPHRi™).

Additionally, some HR professionals who earned these international certifications in the past continue to use and refer to the old credential letters, HRBP and HRMP. HRBP and HRMP were rebranded as PHRi and SPHRi, respectively, on February 1, 2016. The credentials were renamed to align more closely with the HRCI suite of seven fully accredited certifications.

So, let’s recap what has changed with the two internationally focused programs and how to make the most of your PHRi and SPHRi certifications:

Proudly use and display your PHRi or SPHRi designations:

  • The PHRi (formerly the Human Resources Business Professional or HRBP) is for internationally based practitioners and validates professional-level competency, knowledge and skills to help propel your HR career forward. With the PHRi, you demonstrate expertise of generally accepted technical and operational HR principles in a single international setting.
  • The SPHRi (formerly the Human Resources Management Professional or HRMP) is for internationally based HR leaders and validates senior-level HR competency and expertise of generally accepted HR principles in strategy, policy development and service delivery in a single international setting.
  • If you earned and continue to maintain either of the international HRCI credentials, use as: Your Name, PHRi or Your Name, SPHRi.

PHRi and SPHRi: now NCCA accredited

In June 2017, HRCI announced that NCCA has determined that the PHRi and SPHRi meet the NCCA’s stringent accreditation standards. In fact, all seven HRCI credentialing programs have earned accreditation from NCCA, the recognized top authority on certification excellence.

Accreditation provides HR professionals with third-party validation of the rigor required to earn an HRCI certification, and that HR practitioners and employers can trust the credentials to demonstrate competency, knowledge and skill in the HR field.

HRCI is proud of its continued commitment to the highest certification program standards. Earning NCCA accreditation requires HRCI to go through a complex evaluation process that includes extensive exam review and organizational review of processed, governing body, bylaws, ethics, financial stability, policy and procedures, confidentiality, security and much more.

Additional HR credentials from HRCI

Here are the other accredited certifications available from HRCI:

  • The aPHR™, for those who can demonstrate foundational HR knowledge.
  • The PHR® and SPHR®, for HR professionals who want to demonstrate U.S.-based competence, skill and knowledge.
  • The PHRca®, for California-based practitioners.
  • The GPHR, for multinational HR professionals based in various countries, U.S. and abroad.

Learn more about the seven accredited HRCI credential options. Whether you are an HR expert or just starting out, there is an HRCI certification that’s just right for you.

How to claim your Digital Badge

If you’ve already earned an HRCI certification, you’ll want to claim your digital badge — an instant way to easily communicate and verify your hard-earned HR expertise and commitment to continuous learning. Add your digital badge to your email signature and your social media profiles to visibly showcase your credentials.

As a bonus, when you claim your digital badge you also get immediate access to labor market insights from Acclaim. By associating your digital badge with your skills, you can search for jobs and look up corresponding salary ranges.

Learn more about HRCI Digital Badges.

Prepare for Exam Changes in 2018

If someone you know, or if you want to earn an additional HRCI certification, please regularly check out what is going on at HRCI. As an example, effective 2018, the PHRi and SPHRi will embrace a new mix of competencies that coincide with changes in international HR practices. The updated competencies require international HR professionals to be more proficient in areas such as measurement, analytical thinking and greater alignment with business outcomes.

The SPHRi changes are reflected in the 2018 SPHR Exam Content Outline, published by HRCI in advance of exam content changes and updates. Likewise, HRCI will soon announce and publish exam content outline changes for the PHRi.

Still Have Questions?

Don’t hesitate to contact HRCI at or visit us as