Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR)

HRCI’s Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR) is the perfect certification to help fast-track your career growth. The aPHR is the first-ever HR certification designed for two distinct types of individuals: human resources professionals who are just beginning their HR career journey and non-HR professionals.

The first-ever HR certification designed for professionals who are just beginning their HR career journey, as well as for non-HR managers who manage people.

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aPHR Preparation

Preparing for exams can be overwhelming, especially when you don’t know where to start. Fortunately, there are several options available that can assist you in the preparation of your aPHR exam.

While HRCI does not endorse a particular resource or method of study, we encourage candidates to explore the preparation resources that are available for the aPHR certification exam.

There is no single preparation method that can meet every candidate’s needs and we urge you to use a variety of tools and resources to enhance your understanding of general HR principles and HR exam content.

Am I Eligible?

No HR experience is required since this is a knowledge-based credential.

HRCI aPHR Exam Summary:

Exam Name HRCI Associate Professional in Human Resources
Exam Code  aPHR
Exam Fee USD $300
Application Fee  USD $100 
Exam Duration  105 Minutes plus 30 minutes administration time
Number of Questions  90
Passing Score  74%
Format  Multiple Choice Questions
Books /Training  Training
Sample Questions  HRCI HR Associate Professional Exam Sample Questions and Answers
Practice Exam  HRCI Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR) Practice Test 

HRCI HR Associate Professional Syllabus Topics:

Topics Details Weights
Talent Acquisition

– Fundamental understanding of all aspects related to the talent acquisition process; including planning, sourcing, recruiting, screening, selection, hiring, and onboarding of a new hire.

Knowledge of:

  • Methods to identify staffing needs and guide talent acquisition efforts (for example, forecasting, job analysis, the creation and structure of job descriptions, and alternative staffing approaches)
  • Talent sourcing tools and techniques to identify and engage prospective candidates (for example, employer branding, social media, candidate pipelines, resume mining, job postings, job fairs, and employee referrals)
  • Recruiting procedures and strategies for screening and selecting qualified applicants (for example, recruitment firms/staffing agencies, skills assessments, interview techniques and best practices, and biases)
  • The lifecycle of hiring and onboarding a selected applicant (for example, reference and background checks, offer letters and counteroffers, employment contracts, and the distribution and collection of company-mandated documents; such as employee handbook and policy acknowledgments, nondisclosure or other agreements, and benefits paperwork)
  • The use of technology for collecting, storing, reviewing and analyzing candidate/applicant information and recruiting data (for example, applicant tracking systems, human resource information systems (HRIS), return on investment (ROI), cost-per-hire, and time-to-fill)
Learning & Development

– Assessing the needs of the organization and understanding the techniques and methods for delivering training programs in order to provide employees with the tools, skills, and knowledge to align with current and future organizational goals.

Knowledge of:

  • The overall purpose and desired outcomes of employee orientation for new hires and/or internal hires (for example, setting expectations, building relationships and acclimation)
  • The concept of instructional design and components of commonly used models and methods for developing an organizational learning strategy (for example, knowledge, skills and, abilities (KSAs), ADDIE model, needs analysis, goals/objectives, available training resources and intended audience)
  • Elements and suitable applications for various training formats and delivery techniques (for example, blended, virtual, self-paced, instructor-led, on-the-job, role play, facilitation, and in-house vs. external training services)
  • The concept, purpose, and key/desired outcomes of a change management process (for example, assessing readiness, communication plans, identifying needs, and providing resources and training)
  • Methods and tools used to track employee development and measure the effectiveness of the training (for example, learning management systems (LMS), reporting, post-training evaluation and metrics)
Compensation & Benefits

– Understanding elements of the total rewards package including compensation, benefits programs, retirement planning and how they support organizational competitiveness.

Knowledge of:

  • The elements involved in developing and administering an organization’s compensation strategy; such as pay structures, pay adjustments and incentive programs (for example, external service providers, market analysis, job evaluation/classifications, merit increases, pay scales/grades, cost of living adjustments, and service awards)
  • Health benefit and insurance programs including, eligibility requirements, enrollment periods and various designs (for example, high deductible plans, health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, preferred provider organizations, and short or long-term disability)
  • Supplemental wellness and fringe benefit programs commonly offered by organizations (for example, employee assistance programs (EAPs), gym membership, online therapy, housing or relocation assistance, and travel/transportation stipends)
  • Employee eligibility for, and enrollment in retirement plans, and rules regarding contributions and withdrawals (for example, 401(k), 457(b), catch-up contributions, and hardship withdrawals)
  • Components of wage statements and payroll processing (for example, taxation, deductions, differentials, garnishments, leave reporting and final pay, and total reward statements)
Employee Relations

– Understanding the methods organizations use to monitor and address morale, performance, and retention. Balancing the operational needs of the organization with the well-being of the individual employee.

Knowledge of:

  • The purpose and difference between mission, vision and value statements, and how they influence an organization’s culture and employees
  • How HR supports organizational goals and objectives through HR policies, procedures, and operations (for example, functions of human resource information systems (HRIS), organizational structures, preparing HR-related documents, basic communication flows & methods, SWOT analysis, and strategic planning)
  • Techniques used to engage employees, collect feedback, and improve employee satisfaction (for example, employee recognition programs, stay interviews, engagement surveys, work/life balance initiatives and alternative work arrangements)
  • Workforce management throughout the employee lifecycle, including performance management and employee behavior issues (for example, goal setting, benchmarking, performance appraisal methods & biases, ranking/rating scales, progressive discipline, termination/separation, offboarding, absenteeism, and turnover/retention)
  • Policies and procedures to handle employee complaints, facilitate investigations, and support conflict resolution (for example, confidentiality, escalation, retaliation, and documentation)
  • The elements of diversity and inclusion initiatives and the impact on organizational effectiveness and productivity (for example, social responsibility initiatives, cultural sensitivity and acceptance, unconscious bias and stereotypes)
Compliance & Risk Management

– Complying with laws, regulations and policies, and educating stakeholders in order to identify, mitigate, and respond to organizational risk. Awareness of records management, storage, and retention regulations and reporting requirements.

Knowledge of:

  • Applicable laws and regulations related to talent acquisition, training, and employee/employer rights and responsibilities; such as nondiscrimination, accommodation, and work authorization (for example: EEOC, DOL, I-9 form completion, employment-at-will, Title VII, ADA, Immigration Reform and Control Act, Title 17 [Copyright law])
  • Applicable laws, regulations, and legal processes affecting employment in union environments (for example, WARN Act, NLRA, collective bargaining, and alternative dispute resolution methods)
  • Applicable laws and regulations related to compensation and benefits, such as monetary and nonmonetary entitlement, wage and hour (for example: ERISA, COBRA, FLSA, USERRA, PPACA, and tax treatment)
  • Applicable laws and regulations related to workplace health, safety, security, and privacy (for example: OSHA, Drug-Free Workplace Act, ADA, HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, WARN act, and sexual harassment)
  • Risk assessment and mitigation techniques to promote a safe, secure and compliant workplace (for example, emergency evacuation procedures, violence, business continuity plan, intellectual and employee data protection, and theft)
  • Organizational restructuring initiatives and their risks to business continuity (mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, integration, offshoring, downsizing and furloughs)