General Overview of the PHRca Certification
The Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) awards the Professional in Human Resources - California (PHRca) certification to individuals who meet eligibility criteria and pass an exam. The HRCI created this certification exam content to specifically cater to the HR laws and regulations that are particular to the state of California. In comparison with most other states, California has more human resources regulations and often pioneers changes in HR policy across the United States.
Developed in adherence with National Commission on Certifying Agencies (NCCA) standards, HRCI's PHRca credential is NCCA-accredited. The PHRca tests mastery of the four areas of human resources practice in California that differ from federal and state laws and regulations. The four areas are:
- Compensation/Wage and Hours
- Employment and Employee Relations
- Benefits and Leaves of Absence
- Health, Safety and Workers' Compensation
It's important to note that, while the PHRca certification exam must be taken in person, preparation can be completed online.
How Do I Obtain and Maintain PHRca Certification
Although it is no longer necessary to pass the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) examinations before taking the PHRca examination for certification, there are some prerequisites.
In order to qualify for the PHRca, you must meet one of the following criteria related to professional human resources experience:
- you must have a minimum of one year of relevant professional experience along with a master's degree or higher, or
- you must have a minimum of two years of relevant professional experience along with a bachelor's degree or higher, or
- you must have at least four years of relevant professional experience along with a high school diploma or higher.
Once you have earned your certification, you must prove that you are staying up to date with changing laws and regulations. Certification must be renewed every three years. You can renew your certification by retaking the exam or earning 60 credits of continuing education. You can receive recertification credits by continuing your HR education through approved programs. In addition, there are other avenues that lead to credits. Some examples are:
- up to 30-credits of self-directed learning
- on-the-job learning
- applicable human resources related activities like seminars and conferences
- implementation of new programs at work
- human resources related research
- maintenance of human resources membership
Online Professional Human Resources Programs in California
Whether choosing a self-directed approach or taking a professionally led course, there are multiple online options within the state that cover HR roles and foundational topics to help prepare you for the PHRca examination. Some of preparatory programs offered at area colleges and universities confer certificates while covering much of the content found on the PHR examinations.
Located in Irvine, BU offers an asynchronous online preparatory program for the PHR/SPHR certification exams. This 12-week program allows students to meet assignment deadlines while setting their own weekly schedule, since there are no set meeting times. Along with other topics relevant to HR, the coursework focuses on compensation, benefits, and employee and employment relations.
Loyola Marymount University
You can earn a Certificate in Human Resources Management online from LMU. The program provides foundational knowledge in human resources through a four-semester-hour curriculum. From diversity in the roles of human resources to health and safety, harassment, and state/federal laws, this program covers topics that can help prepare you for the HRCI exams.
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
CalPoly has an online program that prepares students for the entry-level aPHR certification exam. The curriculum can facilitate improved knowledge in core human resource functions. The program lasts seven weeks.
Human Resources Certification Institute
HRCI is a 40-year-old credentialing institute. Its website provides extensive information on available exams, including the PHRca. Along with exam content outlines, the HRCI website features self-directed exam prep materials as well as practice exams.
An accredited certification such as the PHRca can help distinguish you in the field of human resources. California has several online certificate and examination prep programs that can be completed in less than a month and can provide certification candidates with a knowledge of human resource fundamentals tested by the HCRI.