Associate Professional in Human Resources™ Practice Exam

Associate Professional in Human Resources


About Associate Professional in Human Resources

HRCI Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR) certification helps candidates to fast-track their career growth and provides confidence to launch into the HR profession. The aPHR is the HR certification designed for professionals who are just beginning their HR career journey and proves your knowledge of foundational Human Resources.


Who should take the exam?

Candidates applying for the aPHR exam must have a high school diploma or global equivalent. No HR experience is required since this is a knowledge-based credential. 


Course structure

The Associate Professional in Human Resources™ Exam covers the updated course outline - 

Domain 1 - Understanding Talent Acquisition (19%)

1.1 Learn about the methods to identify staffing needs and guide talent acquisition efforts

  • Forecasting
  • Job analysis
  • Creation and structure of job descriptions
  • Alternative staffing approaches)


1.2 Learn about talent sourcing tools and techniques for identifying and engaging prospective candidates

  • Employer branding
  • Social media
  • Candidate pipelines
  • Resume mining
  • Job postings
  • Job fairs
  • Employee referrals


1.3 Learn about the recruiting process and strategies for screening and selecting qualified applicants

  • Recruitment firms/staffing agencies
  • Skills  assessments
  • Interview techniques
  • Best practices, and biases


1.4 Learn about lifecycle of hiring and onboarding a selected applicant

  • Reference and background checks
  • Offer letters and counteroffers
  • Employment contracts
  • Distribution and collection of company-mandated documents like employee handbook and policy acknowledgments
  • Nondisclosure or other agreements
  • Benefits paperwork


1.5 Learn about the use of technology for collecting, storing, reviewing, and analyzing candidate/applicant information and recruiting data

  • Applicant tracking systems
  • Human resource information systems (HRIS)
  • Return on investment (ROI)
  • Cost-per-hire
  • Time-to-fill)


Domain 2 - Understanding Learning & Development (15%)

2.1 Learn about the overall purpose and desired outcomes of employee orientation for new hires and/or internal hires

  • Setting expectations
  • Building relationships and acclimation


2.2 Learn about instructional design and components of commonly used models and methods for developing an organizational learning strategy

  • Knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs)
  • ADDIE model
  • Needs analysis
  • Goals/objectives
  • Available training resources and intended audience


Domain 3 - Learn about Elements and applications for various training formats and delivery techniques

  • Blended
  • Virtual
  • Self-paced
  • Instructor-led
  • On-the-job
  • Role play
  • Facilitation
  • In-house vs. external training services


2.4 Learn about concept, purpose, and key/desired outcomes of a change management process

  • Assessing readiness
  • Communication plans
  • Identifying needs
  • Providing resources and training


2.5 Learn about methods and tools used to track employee development and measure the effectiveness of the training

  • Learning management systems (LMS)
  • Reporting, post-training evaluation and metrics


Domain 3 - Understanding Compensation & Benefits (17%)

3.1 Learn about elements involved in developing and administering an organization’s compensation strategy Pay structures  and Pay adjustments and incentive programs

  • External service providers
  • Market analysis
  • Job evaluation/classifications
  • Merit increases
  • pay scales/grades, cost of living adjustments
  • service awards


3.2 Learn about health benefit and insurance programs

  • Eligibility requirements
  • Enrollment periods
  • High deductible plans
  • Health savings accounts
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Preferred provider organizations
  • Short or long-term disability


3.3 Learn about Supplemental wellness and fringe benefit programs by organizations

  • Employee assistance programs (EAPs)
  • Gym membership
  • Online therapy
  • Housing or relocation assistance
  • Travel/transportation stipends


3.4 Learn about employee eligibility and enrollment in retirement plans, and rules regarding contributions and withdrawals

  • 401(k), 457(b)
  • Catch-up contributions
  • Hardship withdrawals


3.5 Learn about components of wage statements and payroll processing

  • Taxation
  • Deductions
  • Differentials
  • Garnishments
  • Leave reporting and final pay
  • Total reward statements)


Domain 4 - Understanding Employee Relations (24%)

4.1 Learn about the purpose and difference between mission

  • Vision and value statements
  • Influencing an organization’s culture and employees


4.2 Learn about HR supports organizational goals and objectives through HR policies, procedures, and operations

  • Functions of human resource information systems (HRIS)
  • Organizational structures
  • Preparing HR-related documents
  • Basic communication flows & methods
  • SWOT analysis
  • Strategic planning


4.3 Learn about techniques used to engage employees, collect feedback, and improve employee satisfaction

  • Employee recognition programs
  • Stay interviews
  • Engagement surveys
  • Work/life balance initiatives and alternative work arrangements


4.4 management throughout the employee lifecycle - Performance management and employee behavior issues

  • Goal setting
  • Benchmarking
  • Performance appraisal methods & biases
  • Ranking/rating scales
  • Progressive discipline
  • Termination/separation
  • offboarding
  • Absenteeism, and turnover/retention


4.5 Learn about Policies and procedures to handle employee complaints, facilitate investigations, and support conflict resolution

  • Confidentiality
  • Escalation
  • Retaliation
  • Documentation


4.6 Learn about elements of diversity and inclusion initiatives and the impact on organizational effectiveness and productivity

  • Social responsibility initiatives
  • Cultural sensitivity and acceptance
  • Unconscious bias and stereotypes


Domain 5 - Understanding Compliance & Risk Management (25%)

5.1 Learn about Applicable laws and regulations related to talent acquisition, training, and employee/employer rights and responsibilities

  • nondiscrimination
  • accommodation
  • and work authorization (including EEOC, DOL, I-9 form completion, employment-at-will, Title VII, ADA, Immigration Reform and Control Act, Title 17 [Copyright law])


5.2 Learn about Applicable laws, regulations, and legal processes affecting employment in union environments

  • WARN Act
  • NLRA
  • Collective bargaining, and alternative dispute resolution methods


5.3 Learn about applicable laws and regulations related to compensation and benefits, like monetary and nonmonetary entitlement, wage and hour

  • ERISA
  • COBRA
  • FLSA
  • USERRA
  • PPACA, and tax treatment


5.4 Learn about applicable laws and regulations related to workplace health, safety, security, and privacy

  • OSHA
  • Drug-Free Workplace Act
  • ADA
  • HIPAA
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • WARN act and sexual harassment


5.5 Learn about Risk assessment and mitigation techniques to promote a safe, secure and compliant workplace

  • Emergency evacuation procedures
  • violence, business continuity plan, intellectual and employee data protection, and theft


5.6 Learn about organizational restructuring initiatives and their risks to business continuity

  • Mergers, acquisitions
  • Divestitures
  • Integration
  • Offshoring
  • Downsizing and furloughs


Exam Pattern 

  • Exam Name: Associate Professional in Human Resources
  • Exam Code: aPHR
  • Number of Questions: 100 Scored questions + 25 pre-test questions
  • Time Duration: 2 hour 15 minutes
  • Validity: 3 years
  • Exam Cost: $300 USD + $100 USD Application fee


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  • An in-depth and exhaustive explanation for every question
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  • Practice exam questions have been created on the basis of content outlined in the official documentation.
  • Each set in the practice exam contains unique questions built with the intent to provide real-time experience to the candidates as well as gain more confidence during exam preparation.
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