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HR Professionals: Better choice: SPHR vs. PHR certification?




I have 22 years marked with various roles in the Army and I am interested in either SPHR or PHR certification as it is a preferred certification in most HR Generalist job postings that I see.

1. Would SPHR be a better fit?
2. I am reaching out for advice and mentorship as I transition into the industry of HR.

Below is my experience.
Master in Business Administration, 2019
1 year as a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program (SHARP) Program Manager, 2016-2017
1 year as an instructor, 2015-2016
4 years as a part-time SHARP Victim Advocate, 2012-2016
3 years of Recruiting, 2009-2012

Thank you for your time and guidance,


22 November 2020 4 replies Mentoring



Jeff Martin Ashburn, VA

They are both good and helpful, I don’t think there is a wrong choice. I’d also suggest that you network at your target company or industry. Use LinkedIn to find people already working there and reach out to them. Ask them the process they used to get hired and ask them to help you navigate the hiring process and if they are willing, ask them to submit you as a referral. These activities require much more time on your part but in my opinion would greatly increase your chances for success. Good luck!


Jerry Welsh Middleville, MI

First conduct a couple of Informational Interviews, get to know the HR professionals, learn what drew then into the career and then ask them. I would also look through Indeed or other sites with job postings and look for which positions seek which credential. Key thing else to learn the career from the inside out commercially. You should have a lot in common with recruiters, but find out the differences between military recruiting and commercial. The goal is to pick up the certificate that fits what role you want, learn about the career. If someone is passionate about a career it shows in the person and the papers!




Thank you for your guidance. Is there a downside to pursuing the SPHR directly instead of starting with the PHR? It seems that my experience meets the requirements.


Dennis Haynes Chicago, IL

Hello John and Thank You for Your Service,

Based on your background and career goal, I would recommend you complete the PHR course initially. However, compliment with another certification in a HR practice you feel your experience could best be leverage. I found the actual cost and overall investment was well worth it. The SPHR is well respected, once you have relevant experience under your belt.

The additional certification, I am feeling either the training domain or employee relations based on your background. I have a PHR and its payback does makes you slightly competitive, but many professionals do have one. However, having a HR practice certification in training, compensation, benefits, ect, is the best way to differentiate yourself transitions.

Hope this helps

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