CHRP recertification: Points popular, exam not

Majority recertify through professional development

When it comes to recertification for the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation, it’s not even a contest. An overwhelming majority of HR professionals with the CHRP designation are opting to recertify every three years by accumulating professional development points rather than writing the exam, according to figures from various provincial HR associations.

Since the first National Professional Practice Assessment (NPPA) in May 2004, CHRP holders across the country have had the option to either recertify by accumulating 100 professional development points or by writing the NPPA.

In Nova Scotia, about 7.0 per cent have chosen the NPPA option for recertification. The number is even lower in Alberta (2.5 per cent) and Ontario (2.0 per cent) and not a single CHRP holder in Manitoba has recertified by writing the NPPA since 2005. In New Brunswick, nobody has recertified by writing the exam in 2007, the only year for which numbers are available.

Despite the low number of professionals choosing to write the exam, the option is a good fallback for people who might not have enough time to attend a lot of conferences and events, said Lynn Palmer, chief executive officer of the Ottawa-based Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations.

“Some people aren’t as actively involved with the provincial associations as others,” she said. “By writing the NPPA, it is a testament to the fact that the person has kept up with the profession.”

However, with so many professional development events and exercises open to recertification points, even those who choose to write the exam probably have some points saved up, said Claude Balthazard, director of HR excellence at the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario (HRPAO).

Accumulating professional development points has been easy for Sanjiv Pandya, employee relations consultant for paper and plastic goods manufacturer Atlantic Packaging Products in Mississauga, Ont. He’s due to recertify next April and already has 140 points.

“One hundred points for three years is very easy to collect,” said Pandya. “The only thing we have to do is keep a log of everything and, if you do that, there’s no need to do an exam.”

However, Pandya is luckier than some in that his company provides financial support for professional development.

Rose Bertino, senior HR ¬administration manager at Pioneer Hi-Bred, a supplier of genetically modified plant seeds in Chatham, Ont., has been working in HR for 25 years.

Because of her many years of experience, she decided to recertify by writing the NPPA so she could allocate her department’s professional development funds to her staff, many of whom take university courses.

“The budget money that I had, I wanted to focus on developing my people,” she said. “Because business is changing and we have so many things that the business needs, sometimes we have to make a choice as to where we’re going to focus our attention.”

However, many of the professional development activities that count towards recertification can be done free of charge, said Balthazard.

“It’s actually possible to recertify without tremendous costs,” he said.

Options such as mentoring, teaching a class or writing an article are free, but require effort and time, which can come at a premium.

Rick Sawchuck, an assistant manager of human resources at ATCO Electric, a utility company in Edmonton, wrote the NPPA this year to recertify because he didn’t have to write it when he initially qualified for his CHRP and he wanted to test his knowledge.

“I figured, well, if I passed the exam, I guess I must be certified,” said Sawchuck.

As for three years from now, he’ll probably write the exam again because work and family can get in the way of professional development.

The exam is comprehensive and an HR generalist who has worked in the profession for a number of years shouldn’t have any trouble passing it, said Shirley Bishop, the HR manager at Women’s Community House, a shelter for women and children in London, Ont.

But unlike Bertino and Sawchuck, she didn’t choose the exam — it chose her.

“It was the only option left. I didn’t pay attention to the recertification process and what I should be doing and I didn’t keep track until it was too late,” she said.

However, she found the cost of the exam, at $535, too prohibitive to do again and she has started to accumulate points for her next recertification date in 2010. She’s well on her way, with the shelter paying for her attendance at the annual HRPAO conference in February and her mentoring work with a recent graduate.

The ability to grow her career in HR while also recertifying her CHRP was the reason Linda Stevens, manager of staffing and global services at oil and gas company Nexen in Calgary, has twice chosen to recertify by accumulating points.

As part of her recertification she has volunteered on various committees and boards, attended conferences and completed courses.

“I liked this approach versus studying for an exam because this is a way where you have to demonstrate in your career that you’re actually taking advantage of developmental opportunities,” said Stevens.

Recertification log

Different activities help professionals gather 100 points

In order for a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation holder to recertify, she must collect 100 points in professional development activities every three years. A log of all the activities and how many points each is worth is available from the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations and provincial HR associations. Below is a look at some of the activities and the associated points.

University, college and institute courses1.5 points per hour of instruction
Seminars/workshops/ conferences/roundtables1.5 points per hour to a maximum of10 points per day
Mentoring1.5 points per hour of mentor contact
Being mentored1.5 points per hour of mentor contact
Active committee membership in an HR association10 points per year, per committee
Active volunteer or board member in a non-profit organization10 points per three-year recertification period
Teaching a university, college or institute course30 points per new course taught
Guest lecturer5 points per new lecture
Writing a journal, case study article or editorial10 points per project

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