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Get your Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) Designation
If you are a human resources (HR) professional in Canada, getting your Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation will help you progress further in your career and gain recognition in the HR and business community.
What is the CHRP designation?
It's the only designation in Canada that recognizes HR professionals and certifies that someone has proven expertise in human resources. The CHRP designation is regulated by the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA), which also represents the provincial HR associations across the country. These associations provide resources, networking opportunities, and training for CHRP members, in addition to hosting conferences and workshops.
Why do I want to be a CHRP?
The CHRP states that 21,000 people in Canada hold the CHRP designation. I, personally, am a CHRP and have been one since July 2010. I decided to become a CHRP for the following reasons:
- I wanted to be recognized as an HR professional
- It improves my credibility with my clients and establishes trust and rapport much quicker. By knowing that I'm a CHRP, they understand that I have certain level of HR knowledge
- Although it's not required by my employer, many employers require that HR professionals either have the CHRP designation or are working to obtain one
- Although this is completely silly.....I like having a designation and initials after my name...! It makes me feel important... =)
How do I become a CHRP? And how hard are the exams?
To become a CHRP, you must have a Bachelor's degree from a recognized post-secondary institution. Once you have that, you will need to write two exams:
- First exam: National Knowledge Exam (NKE)
- Second exam: National Professional Practice Exam (NPPA)
The passing grade for both exams is 70%. If you studied HR or HR-related courses in school, you will likely pass the NKE. The NPPA, as it should be, is more difficult to pass. The CCHRA usually suggests having at least a few years experience before writing this second exam, as a good chunk of it is based on experience and "what would you do if...". To prepare for the NPPA, I took an official online course offered through the association. It provided two practice exams and about 30 extra situational questions for students to practice. In addition, it had a forum where the teacher answered questions that people posted. I thought it was really helpful, but if you do not have many years of experience or if you're lacking in some major areas of HR, you will need to study hard! There are also books you can buy that give you practice questions. You can get these used online, but I have not used them before, so unfortunately I cannot comment. Others have told me that study groups and classroom courses also help.
After passing both of these exams, you are now officially a CHRP! You are required to re-certify every three years by earning 100 "points" towards your recertification. More information on how these points are allotted can be found on the CHRP website linked later on. For most people, if you already work as a human resources professional, it should be fairly easy to recertify.
What are the membership fees?
Cost is always an important consideration. To be a general member of a provincial HR association, you are required to pay a fee. If you then become a CHRP, you pay CHRP fees on top of the general member fees. If you are a student (and a poor starving one at that), I would not suggest getting your CHRP right away even if you are able to pass the exams. The moment you become a CHRP, you are hit with extra dues, so don't do it unless you can afford it, but as a student, you already get a special discounted price.
Membership fees vary between different provincial associations. The larger and more active associations charge higher fees (e.g. British Columbia and Ontario) whereas the smaller associations are generally much cheaper.
For example, as a CHRP member of the BC Human Resources Management Association, you are required to pay $380 plus taxes in annual membership fees. And for those of you who are looking for tax deductions, unfortunately, you cannot claim these fees on your tax return.
Elaine Li is a HR Professional with over 5 years experience. She loves to learn new things and can't wait to continue her HR journey!