What is a Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR)?

The Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) is a specialized human resources certification that prepares HR leaders for success in managing cross-border HR activities. Currently, fewer than 3000 professionals hold this certification. As companies become more global, the value of this certification will continue to grow. Many GPHR certification holders also hold another HR certification such as the PHR or SPHR.

Why is a Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) Important?

Professionals with a GPHR certification enjoy significant benefits, some of which are outlined below.

  • Salary boost. Those with a GPHR certification earn about 16 percent more on average than those without and are among the highest-paid HR professionals according to one PayScale study.
  • Global recognition. The GPHR is recognized and valued by business leaders across the globe.
  • Career growth. This highly desirable certification contributes to more marketability in the labor force.
  • Competency-based. GPHR certificate holders are better prepared to manage cross-border HR activities through the competency-based focus of the exam.

Tips for Preparing for the Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) Exam

Like most other HR certification exams, the GPHR is best mastered by consistent study and application over a period of time rather than heavy memorization right before the test. Following are some suggestions for successful preparation.

Create a Study Plan

Obtain the GPHR content outline and create a study plan focusing on the functional areas covered in the exam. Plan to spend five to ten hours per week for four to six months to thoroughly review and synthesize the information you’ll need to know. Each person’s unique experience and abilities will determine how much time they need, but many people spend 100 hours or more preparing for this exam.

Seek Experiential Learning Opportunities in Global HRs Management

If you can participate in global business projects, work with mentors or shadow experienced global HR professionals, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the skills and knowledge you need for the test. Ask other GPHR-certified professionals to help you identify meaningful opportunities if you are struggling to find them on your own.

Take a Class or Join a Study Group

Many professionals find it helpful to take a class and interact with others who are also preparing for the exam. A competent instructor will guide students through learning activities to help them prepare successfully. HRCI maintains a list of vetted certification preparation providers. A study group can also be helpful for those who wish to learn from and teach each other.

Take as Many Practice Exams as You Can

HRCI and other online test preparation providers offer practice exams. Take as many of these practice exams as you can starting early so you’ll know where to focus your study time.

Prepare Yourself for the Test

If you are taking the test at a testing center, know in advance where to go. If you’re taking the test at home, have your equipment ready to help eliminate stress on the day of the exam. Sleep well the night before and make sure you are appropriately nourished and hydrated to be on top of your game physically and mentally. For other test preparation suggestions, review the information on the HRCI website.

Take a Long-Term View

Some people have test anxiety while others need more time to grasp the test mindset. If you don’t pass the test the first time, give yourself permission to try again. The GPHR exam is challenging but has a fairly high pass rate. Those who wish to retake the exam may do so as soon as 90 days after the date of the first exam. Don’t give up!

Who Qualifies as a Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) Candidate?

In order to take the GPHR certification exam, candidates must meet certain qualifications as described below.

Job Requirements

GPHR candidates must work in a professional-level HR position. Entry-level HR practitioners are not eligible. “Professional level” is defined as a position wherein the person exercises discretion and independent judgment with some decision-making authority. See the HRCI definition of professional-level experience for more details.

Education and Experience Requirements

GPHR candidates must also have a combination of education and professional-level work experience. These are the criteria:

  • A master’s degree or higher plus two years of professional-level HR work experience,
  • A bachelor’s degree plus three years of professional-level HR work experience, OR
  • Four years of professional-level HR work experience.

Other Prerequisites

From 2011 to 2020, candidates for the GPHR exam were required to have at least two years of global/cross-border HR experience before taking the exam. This requirement has now been removed to allow more HR practitioners to benefit by participating in the activities required for certification.


Once someone passes the GPHR exam, they must maintain their certifications through a series of demonstrated professional and learning activities totaling 60 credits every three years. Of the 60 credits, 15 must be approved global credits. If an individual fails to submit evidence of these professional development activities, they will need to retest after 3 years. Some folks actually prefer to retest rather than track the professional development requirements, but either option is acceptable as long as deadlines are met.