Professional in Human Resources Certificate Program


The Professional in Human Resources Certificate Program is a rigorous program designed primarily for experienced HR professionals seeking certification as a Professional in Human Resources® (PHR®) or Senior Professional in Human Resources® (SPHR®) from the HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®). For those just beginning a career in human resources, DePaul’s Foundations in Human Resources Certificate Program will introduce you to the functions of an early HR career and prepare you for HRCI’s Associate Professional in Human Resources™ (aPHR™) certification exam.
For 18 years, DePaul University has helped thousands of Human Resources (HR) professionals successfully prepare for the PHR® and SPHR® certification exam. The program teaches the knowledge required of todays’ HR professionals as outlined in HRCI’s PHR and SPHR Body of Knowledge. While DePaul cannot guarantee a passing score on the exam(s), the pass rate of professionals who have taken our program is typically better than the national average.
This strategic course supports career advancement by building confidence for managing HR challenges. You will benefit from learning from instructors who are experienced certified practitioners and networking with other HR professionals. After successfully completing the program, you'll receive a certificate from DePaul University as well as up to 3.6 continuing education units (CEUs).
Please note the following changes: Exam content for the HRCI PHR and SPHR certification exams will change August 1, 2018. The materials taught in the DePaul CPE classes starting in March and April will cover the content that will be covered on the exams for anyone taking the HRCI certification exam prior to August 1, 2018. DePaul will begin teaching the new PHR and SPHR exam content in classes starting late Spring or Summer 2018. Please email if you have any questions.
DePaul offers three options for completing this program:
  • 13-week, in-class course- Classes meet once a week for three hours and participants take one to two weeks to cover each of the six areas of HR. This class is offered at all of DePaul’s campuses, or can be held on site at your organization.
  • Intensive course-This fast-paced Saturday course covers a great deal of information in eight weeks, so it is not recommended for the novice HR professional. The course is designed for HR professionals who do not have the time for a conventional 13-week program.
  • Online, instructor-led course- This online program is designed to provide maximum flexibility. The 13-week online, interactive class has no preset times for participation; students typically spend at least three to six hours a week on the class, and there are deadlines for completing tests and assignments.

For More Information, Contact:

Janie Rollinson
  • Email:
  • Phone: (312) 362-5792
  • FAX: (312) 362-8764

Information Sessions

To learn more about DePaul’s Human Resources Certificate Programs, please attend one of our free information sessions.

Student Testimonials

“I took the PHR exam yesterday and PASSED!!  This was my fourth attempt and I credit DePaul’s prep course in helping me understand and prepare for this beast of an exam…….THANK YOU!!!!"

—Professional in HR Student, Winter 2017

Who Should Attend

  • HR professionals planning to take the PHR® or SPHR® certification exams
  • PHR® professionals seeking to "upgrade" their certification to SPHR®
  • HR practitioners seeking professional development to advance their careers


  • Develop the knowledge and skills to improve your on-the-job effectiveness
  • Prepare for the PHR®/SPHR® certification exam
  • Recognize your areas of strength to build upon
  • Identify gaps in your knowledge and experience for further concentrated study
  • Increase your marketability


The program provides an in-depth study of key areas in human resource management. Course materials include six extensive modules that correspond to the six functional areas, responsibilities and associated knowledge defined by the HRCI:
Strategic Business Management
  • Role of HR in organizations
  • HR strategy
  • Evaluating the internal/external environment
  • HR and the legislative and regulatory environment
Workforce Planning and Employment
  • Employee rights, privacy and consumer protection legislation
  • Organizational staffing requirements
  • Recruitment, selection and retention
Human Resource Development
  • Organizational Development
  • Training and development
  • Talent management
  • Performance management
Total Rewards
  • Compensation structure and systems
  • Benefit programs
  • Compensation and benefits legislation
  • Administering and evaluating compensation and benefits programs
Employee and Labor Relations
  • Labor relations legislation
  • Union organizing and collective bargaining
  • Unfair labor practices
  • Employee involvement and engagement
Risk Management
  • Organizational risk
  • Workplace safety, health, security and privacy
  • Risk management legislation

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for the DePaul University Continuing and Professional Education departmental student policies.
What qualifications do I need to take this program?
It is recommended that participants have experience in the field of human resources to get the most from the program.
Will I need to purchase course materials?
Included with the class tuition is access to BenchPrep which includes online access to the PHR/SPHR Professional in Human Resources Certification Exam Guide by Dory Willer and Willliam H. Truesdell published by McGraw Hill Education. This online access will provide you with practice questions, flashcards and other resources.  DePaul only provides online access to the book. If you would like to purchase the book, you should buy the PHR/SPHR Professional in Human Resources Certification Exam Guide by Dory Willer and Willliam H. Truesdell, McGraw Hill Education, ISBN 978-0-07-182520-7 or ISBN 978-1-26-001189-0. These are two of the most recent versions.
What course materials are used for this program?
The Professional in HR Certificate Program uses BenchPrep HR Learning System materials.
Will I be certified when I finish the program?
No, you will need to take the Human Resource Certification Institute’s PHR®/SPHR® examination. For more information, visit the HRCI web site at
Is the application fee for the PHR®/SPHR® examination covered in the course fee?
No. The application fee for the PHR®/SPHR® examination is not covered in the course fee. You may obtain information on applying and qualifications for the PHR®/SPHR® examination from the Human Resource Certification Institute at (866) 898-4724 or from their web site at
When is the PHR®/SPHR® examination?
There are two exams windows: May – July and November – January. For more information on deadlines, visit
What qualifications are required to take the PHR®/SPHR® exams offered by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI)?
PHR Eligibility
  • One year of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher
  • Two years of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Bachelor’s degree
  • Four years of demonstrated professional HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree
SPHR Eligibility
  • Four year of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher
  • Five years of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Bachelor’s degree
  • Seven years of demonstrated professional HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree
For more specific information, contact the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) at (866) 898-4724 or visit its web site at
What is the difference between the PHR® and SPHR® exams?
There is a difference in exam fees as well as exam design. The PHR® certification exam is designed for HR professionals with more of a tactical or logistical orientation. The SPHR® certification exam is designed for HR professionals who design and plan, rather than implement, HR policies.
Generally, pass rates across the country tend to be higher on the PHR® exam.
Do I need to take the PHR® exam before the SPHR® exam?
No. You decide which certification level best matches your depth of knowledge and experience and register for that exam category.
Is there a different class for PHR® candidates and SPHR® candidates?
No. The body of knowledge as defined by the HRCI is the same for both exams. The percentage of topic categories differs by exam as does the structure of the questions, but the content to be learned is the same for both.
Do I have to take the certification exam at the end of the course?
No. Many course participants take the course solely for personal or professional development. It is a broad overview of the entire field of HR. Some participants are specialists and seek more knowledge about areas they don’t work in on a daily basis; others want an update on legislative issues.
Do I receive college credit for this class?
The Professional in Human Resources Certificate Program is a non-credit program. While college credit is not available, participants can receive continuing education units.
My company requires a grade for tuition reimbursement purposes. Will I get a grade?
Yes. Multiple-choice tests are given upon completion of each module covered in class. These tests are for you to assess your own level of learning and to provide opportunities to "practice" test-taking skills before the certification exam. This is a non-credit class, so no university credit is given, but you will receive a grade and CEUs from DePaul CPE and a transcript will be available via the DePaul CPE web site 2-3 weeks after the end of class.
Does this program qualify for financial assistance through the  Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)?
In order to find out if you qualify for financial assistance, you must first contact Workforce Development. As a certified program under the ILLINOIS workNet initiative, this program has been approved for workforce training grants for those who are eligible. Funding may be available for those receiving unemployment benefits. Please contact us or Workforce Development for more information.
If I qualify for a WIA grant, will my voucher cover the cost of the PHR/SPHR certification exam offered through HRCI?
In 2015, DePaul University CPE students that receive a WIA voucher for the Professional in HR Certificate Program will also be able to obtain a voucher from WIA for the HR Certification Institute PHR/SPHR certification exam fee. Receipt of the voucher does not make a person automatically eligible for the PHR/SPHR certification exam. For information on eligibility, visit their website at


Online registration is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Add the course you are interested in to your shopping cart and proceed to checkout. Registration is also available via phone, fax or mail. An Adobe Acrobat PDF of the registration form is provided for your convenience.

Course Availability

Required Fees Price
Registration - This program is NOT FREE. Students must pay for each component course.$0.00