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How Do I Become a CPHR in Canada?

By: Kailash Srinivasan

Published On: August 8, 2019

The Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) Designation

The Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) is the only human resources designation recognized across nine provinces and three territories. Presently, 27,000 CPHR-represented human resources professionals are practicing HR in Canada.

A nationally recognized level of achievement and capability within the field of human resources, CPHR designation signifies that the holder has all the required knowledge and skills relevant to the human resource profession. It emphasizes the strategic role of HR management in business and highlights HR's position as an equal business partner.

The gold standard of HR professionals, a CPHR designation can enhance your career opportunities and earning potential. Having a CPHR designation is becoming a norm for HR professionals globally, especially when it comes to senior HR positions. The designation that is recognized across North America assures employers, clients and other HR professionals that you have committed to abide by the CPHR Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct (the CPHR Code).

You can transfer your designation if you decide to move provinces, territory or states.

Get Your CPHR Designation

There are a total of five requirements (consistent across Canada) to obtain the CPHR certification. These include membership (in good standing with the respective HR association), knowledge (knowledge of all the CPHR competencies), education (a minimum of a bachelor’s degree), experience (usually a minimum of three years of work experience in the field), and professional conduct (adhere to the Code of Ethics & Rules of Professional Conduct).

Note that since CPHR is granted at a provincial level, you will need to contact your member association to learn about any specific requirements to achieve the CPHR in your province.

Why Should You Get An HR Designation?

• Enhanced career opportunities – If you have a CPHR designation, you’re considered an HR expert across Canada; as someone who has mastered all aspects of human resources.
• Improved credibility and trust – With a CPHR in front of your name, you prove that you adhere to the CPHR Code of Ethics and are committed to the highest standards of professional practice in HR.
• Expanded network – As a CPHR, you become one of the 27,000 HR experts spread across Canada. You can connect and network with them through any of the many events, conferences, publications, websites and other mediums. Form invaluable connections and continue to build on ideas and solutions.
• Continued Learning – Getting the CPHR designation is only part of the process. You will also be expected to maintain your designation by continually updating your knowledge and expertise in HR. As a CPHR, you are required to complete a minimum ten qualifying, CPHR accredited Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours and sixty qualifying CPD hours on an ongoing three-year rolling basis. You are expected to report these hours to your provincial member association.

Changes To The National Knowledge Exam

Starting in January 2021, CPHR Canada will be adding a new condition that will apply to anyone writing the National Knowledge Exam (NKE). You will have to prove that you meet the educational requirements, which include completing all nine foundational courses offered by CPHR Canada in partnership with Captus Press Inc. These nine foundational courses, namely Accounting & Financial Management, Human Resources Management, Industrial Relations, Organizational Behaviour, Occupational Health and Safety, Recruitment and Selection, Strategic Compensation, Strategic Human Resources Planning, and Training and Development meet the CPHR Competency Framework.

The requirement primarily applies to individuals who haven’t graduated from a CPHR Canada member association’s Post-Secondary Institution Accreditation Program or have not covered the courses above in an equivalent program.

Until January 2021 (dates: Fall, 2019, Spring, 2020, Fall, 2020), you will still be able to write the NKE without taking any courses.


The information contained in this post is considered to be true and accurate as of the date of publication. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog.


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  1. Robert says:


    Just wanted to say this article is a bit inaccurate. It states that a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required to obtain CPHR. In BC and Yukon, there are a number of paths that do not require a bachelor: https://cphrbc.ca/cphr/become-a-cphr/the-cphr-path/ . The non-degree and accredited paths have options that do not necessarily require a bachelor’s degree.

    • Maria Bychkova says:

      Hi Robert,
      Thank you for this correction. We describe here the most common CPHR path taken by students who study Diploma in Human Resources Management program at Ashton College. However, as you have rightly mentioned, a non-degree path also exists and can be taken by those who want to pursue the CPHR designation.
      Thank you!

  2. Rahul says:


    I’m a post graduate in Human Resource Management. I’m currently working as a HR Officer in a company in Dubai, UAE. I have 4.5 years of HR experience.

    I would like to know more details about how to enroll for CPHR.

    Rahul Reghu

    • Maria Bychkova says:

      Hi Rahul,
      If you would like to become a CPHR, please refer to the official CPHR Canada website or contact your member association in your province or territory: https://cphr.ca/your-career/become-a-cphr/
      At Ashton College, we offer a Diploma in Human Resources Management program that can help you learn about the specifics of HR in Canada and attain CPHR designation without taking the NKE exam. If you’d like to learn more please submit your enquire thorough this form and our admissions team will be in touch with you shortly: https://www.ashtoncollege.ca/contact/
      Thank you!

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