About the Exam

The aPHRi™ certification exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions drawn from six functional areas. The number of questions from each area is determined by the percentage weight assigned to it. The functional areas have the following weights:

HR Operations 33%
Recruitment and Selection 22%
Compensation and Benefits 15%
Human Resource Development and Retention 10%
Employee Relations, Health, and Safety 20%


Below is an Exam Content Outline provided by HRCI® for the aPHRi™ exam.


Understanding the tactical and operational tasks related to workforce management and the HR function. Complying with the regulations and policies that affect the organization.


  1. Organizational strategy and its connection to mission, vision, values, business goals, and objectives

  2. Organizational culture (for example: traditions, unwritten procedures)

  3. Legal and regulatory environment

  4. Confidentiality and privacy rules that apply to employee records, company data, and individual data

  5. Business functions (for example: accounting, finance, operations, sales, marketing)

  6. HR administration, policies, and procedures (for example: personnel management, progressive discipline)

  7. HR Metrics (for example: cost per hire, time to recruit, turnover rate)

  8. Tools to compile data (for example: spreadsheets, statistical software)

  9. Methods to collect data (for example: surveys, interviews, observation)

  10. Reporting and presentation techniques (for example: histogram, bar chart)

  11. Impact of technology on HR (for example: social media, monitoring software, biometrics)

  12. Employee records management (for example: electronic/paper, retention, disposal)

  13. Reporting requirements about the workforce (for example: new hires, involuntary/voluntary termination)

  14. Purpose and function of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS)

  15. Job classifications (for example: exempt, non-exempt, contractor)

  16. Job descriptions

  17. Reporting structure (for example: matrix, flat, organizational charts)

  18. Types of external providers of HR services (for example: recruitment firms, benefits brokers, staffing agencies, consultants)

  19. Communication techniques (for example: written, oral, email, intercultural awareness)


Understanding the hiring process including regulatory requirements, sourcing of applicants, formal interview and selection process, and on-boarding of a new hire.


  1. Applicable laws and regulations related to recruitment and selection (for example: work authorization, job requisition, job postings)

  2. Applicant databases

  3. Recruitment sources (for example: employee referral, social networking/social media, company website)

  4. Recruitment methods (for example: advertising, job fairs, university)

  5. Alternative staffing practices (for example: recruitment process outsourcing, job sharing, remote workers)

  6. Interviewing techniques (for example: structured, non-structured, behavioral, situational, panel)

  7. Pre- and post-offer activities (for example: background checks, medical exams)

  8. Orientation and on-boarding (for example: logistics, introducing culture, facilitating/training)


Understanding concepts related to total rewards such as pay and benefit programs. Responding to employee questions and handling claims in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and company policies.


  1. 01 Applicable laws and regulations related to compensation and benefits, such as monetary and non-monetary entitlement, wage and hour, and privacy (for example: tax treatment)

  2. 02 Pay structures and programs (for example: variable, merit, bonus, incentives, non-cash compensation, pay scales/grades)

  3. Total rewards

  4. Benefit programs (for example: health care plans, flexible benefits, pension scheme, health and fitness programs)

  5. Payroll terminology (for example: pay schedule, vacation, leave, paid time off [PTO])

  6. Data collection for salary and benefits surveys

  7. Insurance claims, filing, or processing requirements (for example: workers’ compensation, disability benefits)

  8. Work-life balance practices (for example: flexibility of hours, telecommuting, sabbatical


Understanding the techniques and methods for delivering training programs and developing individual employees.


  1. Applicable laws and regulations related to training and development activities (for example: acquiring and maintaining relevant credentials, qualified providers)

  2. Training delivery format (for example: virtual, classroom, on-the-job)

  3. Techniques to evaluate training programs (for example: participant surveys, pre-and post-testing, action plan)

  4. Career development practices (for example: succession planning, dual career ladders)

  5. Performance appraisal systems (for example: timelines, ranking, rating scales)

  6. Performance management practices (for example: setting goals, feedback, mentoring)


Understanding the methods organizations use to monitor and address morale, performance, and retention. Balancing the operational needs of the organization with the well-being of the individual employee.


  1. Applicable laws affecting employment environments, labor relations, and privacy

  2. Employee and employer rights and responsibilities (for example: privacy, substance abuse)

  3. Methods and processes for collecting employee feedback (for example: employee attitude surveys, focus groups, exit interviews)

  4. Workplace behavior issues (for example: absenteeism, aggressive behavior, employee conflict, workplace harassment)

  5. Methods for investigating complaints or grievances (for example: employee and employee, employee and manager, employee and company)

  6. Progressive discipline (for example: verbal or written warnings, escalating corrective actions, termination)

  7. Off-boarding or termination activities (for example: exit interviews, hand over process, end of service benefits, non-compete or non-solicitation)

  8. Employee relations programs (for example: recognition, special events, diversity programs)

  9. Workforce reduction and restructuring terminology (for example: downsizing, mergers, relocation, assignments, transfers)

  10. Applicable laws and regulations related to workplace health, safety, security, and privacy (for example: health and safety training, security compliance)

  11. Risk management in the workplace (for example: emergency evacuation procedures, health and safety, employee violence, emergencies)

  12. Security risks in the workplace (for example: data, materials, or equipment theft; equipment damage or destruction; cyber crimes; password usage)


Since the aPHR™ is a knowledge-based exam, candidates are responsible for the six knowledge areas described above. What follows is a list of tasks an individual would likely be expected to perform at the early HR career level.

  1. Access, collect, and provide information and data to support HR-related decisions (for example: recruiting, employee relations, training, safety, budgeting, needs analysis, off-boarding, termination)

  2. Comply with all applicable laws and regulations

  3. Coordinate and communicate with external providers of HR services (for example: recruiters, employee recognition services)

  4. Maintain employee data in HRIS or system of record

  5. Maintain, file, and process HR forms (for example: notices, announcements, new hire forms, salary forms, performance, termination paperwork)

  6. Prepare HR-related documents (for example: reports, presentations, organizational charts)

  7. Provide internal customer service by answering or referring HR-related questions from employees as the first level of support

  8. Communicate information about HR policies and procedures

  9. Communicate the organization’s core values, vision, mission, culture, and ethical behaviors

  10. Identify risk in the workplace

  11. Minimize risk by conducting audits (for example: workers’ compensation, employee records)

  12. Document and update essential job functions with the support of managers

  13. Post job listings (for example: company website, social media, job boards)

  14. Manage applicant databases (for example: enter data, access records, update records)

  15. Screen applicants for managers to interview

  16. Answer questions from job applicants

  17. Coordinate interview logistics

  18. Interview job candidates

  19. Arrange for tests and assessments of applicants

  20. Coordinate the employment offer (for example: start date, salary, benefits)

  21. Administer post-offer employment activities (for example: execute employment agreements, work authorization, coordinate relocation, immigration)

  22. Communicate compensation and benefits programs and systems

  23. Coordinate activities to support employee benefits programs (for example: health and fitness, pension schemes)

  24. Coordinate payroll-related information (for example: new hires, adjustments, paid time off, terminations)

  25. Process claims from employees (for example: workers’ compensation, insurance benefits)

  26. Resolve routine employee compensation and benefits issues

  27. Conduct orientation and on-boarding for new hires, rehires, and transfers

  28. Coordinate training sessions (for example: logistics, materials, tracking, registration, evaluation)

  29. Conduct employee training programs (for example: safety regulations, emergency preparedness, basic presentation skills, time-management skills)

  30. Coordinate the logistics for employee relations programs (for example: recognition, special events, diversity programs)

  31. Monitor completion of performance reviews and development plans