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The Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) designation, formally known as the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP), is a widely recognized credential within the field of Human Resources (HR) in Canada.
Accepted by nine provinces and three territories, including CPHR Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador, the CPHR designation is a standard of quality for HR professionals. Having this designation communicates to others that you possess the experiences and expertise necessary to lead organizations through the different challenges of the present-day workforce. CPHRs focus on continuous professional development, constantly advance their skills, abilities and knowledge in the key human resources areas, and are able to utilize the most up-to-date HR tools and practices in any given workplace.
To obtain the CPHR designation, individuals must meet the minimum requirements for education, knowledge of HR competencies, professional conduct and work experience, as well as obtain a membership with their provincial HR association. There are seven different pathways to CPHR designation. Most pathways require candidates to have several years of professional work experience and include an educational component that can be demonstrated through a Degree (Bachelor or Master’s) and/or through passing the National Knowledge Exam (NKE). Individuals can also be exempt from writing an NKE if they have an accredited Diploma or Degree in Human Resources.
The CPHR pathways are designed to ensure that HR professionals can show competency in nine key human resources areas:
In Canada, the CPHR designation is guided by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources Canada (CPHR Canada), formerly known as the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA). CCHRA changed their name in October 2016, unifying HR professionals under one professional body and one professional designation recognized across Canada (apart from the province of Ontario).
According to Amr Shokry, a global Human Resources leader with over 20 years of experience and instructor for Ashton College’s Human Resource Management Diploma program, this is a positive change in the HR field. “New professional HR body includes seven different ways of getting a CPHR designation,” shares Amr. “In the past, there was only one way: to pass an exam and then to gain three years of experience in a Canadian company. Now, there are many different ways that include a combination of education, a combination of experience, professional history abroad, among other things. I believe that it provides more options for HR professionals, which is reflective of our diverse demographics in Canada, and here in BC.”
CPHR Canada currently represents 27,000 members. They are, according to their website, “the national voice on the enhancement and promotion of the HR Profession”. CPHR’s goal is to help employers and employees in Canada realize their potential for success by encouraging leadership and advancements within the field of Human Resources.
In June 2014, Ontario’s HR association, the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), chose to leave CCHRA after achieving self-regulated status. Stating that they were moving in a different direction than CCHRA at the time, HRPA began operating independently. On October 29, 2014, the HRPA introduced a tiered certification framework and the three new designations:
These levels are designed to operate as a ladder from one designation to the next, as well as by entry directly at any level. The HRPA Competency Framework defines 213 functional competencies and 15 enabling competencies at each of the three levels of HR practice: Entry, Professional and Executive.
According to Amr, there is still a bit of confusion with the HR designation across Canada. “It is unfortunate that we now have two systems working together: we have Ontario’s HR certifications, and now we also have CPHR designation with their provincial member associations. It is likely that they had differences in their needs and direction, so they went separate ways,” states Amr. “I believe it is a disadvantage that the country is split into two systems existing at the same time, and I am hoping that in the nearest future both organizations will get together to find a compromise and fully unify the designation.”
At the same time, Amr believes in the advantages of the CPHR designation, unified across most Canadian provinces and territories.
“All-in-all, the new CPHR designation is more inclusive, more diverse and more flexible. However, it still keeps the standards high: having the designation really shows that you have the right competencies and the right experience to be an HR professional.”
The value of a CPHR designation for HR professionals is evident: it is a nationally recognized level of achievement that represents professionalism and dedication.
CPHRs earn more and are promoted faster than non-designated HR professionals. CPHRs are more prevalent at large companies and at higher levels of management. There is also a growing demand for CPHR designations. If you are striving for growth within the Human Resources industry, you should definitely find out which of the CPHR pathways would work best for you.
We offer the Diploma in Human Resources Management (DHRM) program to prepare you for your future career advancement in the Human Resources field. Accredited with the CPHR BC & YK, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador, Ashton’s DHRM program can help you qualify for the CPHR. You can enroll in our online human resources course from anywhere in Canada. When you’re registering for the program via our online form or talking to our admissions officer over the phone, mention that you’re, for instance, interested in pursuing the human resources certifications in Alberta, or from any province of your choice.