A Degree of Preparation Required for NPPA

You want to be a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP).

You’ve made it past Round 1: the National Knowledge Exam® (NKE), and now it’s time for Round 2: the National Professional Practice Assessment® (NPPA).

On exam day, you arrive armed with everything you need: your bright yellow number two pencils, photo ID, and your registration letter verifying that you paid your exam fees. And don’t forget – you will need a bachelor’s degree from a college or university, too.

As of January 1, 2011, CHRP Candidates – those who have passed the NKE – will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in order to register for the NPPA and qualify for the CHRP designation.

The Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA) and its member provincial HR associations are working to raise the bar of the HR profession. Through the certification process, their role is to ensure current and future members are well prepared to meet the needs of business, and those needs are continuously changing.

“The Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations is dedicated to the enhancement of the HR profession across the country,” says Debbie Bennett, Chair of the CCHRA. “The degree requirement will ensure that current and future CHRP members of the provincial HR associations will be well prepared to meet the needs of the businesses they serve.”

Today’s HR professionals are expected to play an increasingly strategic role in aligning HR practices with the overall business strategy. Employers are looking for HR professionals with demonstrated skills in strategic thinking, business insight, change management and problem resolution. A degree prepares HR professionals to meet these demands and more. This is what employers expect.

When a person works towards achieving a bachelor’s degree, they develop skills that will be valuable in the workplace. Higher education is not about increasing your knowledge. It’s about developing critical thinking skills and improving your research habits to make sure you are as prepared as you can be for whatever may come your way.

However, the degree requirement is not only about preparing HR professionals for the business world. It’s also about aligning the CHRP with certification in other professional fields.

Requiring candidates to have degrees is the standard form of entry for many other professional designations including Chartered Accountants (CA) and Certified Management Accountants (CMA). The degree requirement places the CHRP designation on equal footing with other professions that have a strategic impact on their organizations.

The CHRP designation represents a commitment to a national standard of excellence and continued professional development. It sets a benchmark for the practice of effective Human Resources and emphasizes the strategic role of HR management in business.

The CHRP continues to be the designation of choice for Canadian HR professionals. It opens doors and provides increased job opportunities, assures professional credibility, gives employers and clients confidence, and is a sign of an HR professional’s commitment to their profession. Requiring CHRPs to have degrees only enhances these qualities.

“More and more organizations are expecting the people they hire to have a bachelor’s degree,” says Bennett. “As the bar to enter the HR profession is raised, having a degree will provide greater career opportunities and greater earning power to those who hold the CHRP designation.”

The October 2010 exam session is the last session for which NPPA writers will not require a bachelor’s degree. If you are planning on writing the assessment after that date, you must fulfill the degree requirement.

A one-time exception to this requirement will be granted to any CHRP Candidate who has attempted the NPPA at least once prior to December 31, 2010. If you write but do not pass the NPPA before this date, you will be able to re-write the exam at the May 2011 session only, even if you do not have a degree.

It’s always a good idea to be prepared. When you walk into the exam room, ready to write the NPPA, make sure you have your photo ID, at least one soft-lead pencil, your registration letter, and a bachelor’s degree. You will need it if you want to be a CHRP.
To learn more about the degree requirement, please visit www.chrp.ca/degree-requirement.

Alexandra Stang is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA).

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