Understanding Professional Level Experience

What is the definition of "Professional-Level" experience*?

Eligible* candidates are those who have acquired:

  • The minimum years of a professional-level HR work experience; AND
  • The required education level for the specific HRCI certification they wish to earn. Those with a college degree are not required to have a degree in HR.

HRCI defines a "professional-level" HR position as one that includes:

  • The ability to use independent judgment and discretion in performing work duties.
  • A level of specialized knowledge in the HR field with some authority for decision-making.
  • In-depth work requirements, such as data gathering, analysis and interpretation.
  • Interaction with a broad range of individuals, including key personnel.
  • Individual accountability for results.

Our exams measure HR experience and knowledge gained on-the-job and through formal education. Individuals* who are not likely to be considered eligible include:

  • people managers whose main job is in a function other than HR 
  • entry-level HR practitioners (i.e. HR clerks or HR assistants) or 
  • those interested in transitioning into the HR profession.

Eligibility is not a guarantee of success on an HRCI exam. Candidates must demonstrate in-depth knowledge and application of HR practices in order to earn certification.


*This definition/requirement does NOT apply for aPHR or aPHRi candidates

How is "Global HR experience" defined?

Global HR experience is defined as having direct cross-border HR responsibilities for two or more countries or regions.

Still have questions?

Please visit our common questions section for FAQ on HR certification, eligibility requirements, and the exam application process.