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HR Certification FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions AHRI receives about HR certification and the AHRI Practising Certification Program (APC). If you need details on the APC Program, visit the APC Program page. If you can't find an answer to your question, please contact the AHRI Certification team.

About HR Certification

What does professional certification mean for the HR profession?

Certification is the formal recognition to practitioners and their employers that HR competency in the workplace has been achieved by the demonstration of appropriate knowledge and skills. It distinguishes knowledge as representing 'what you know', and skills as being the demonstration of how you can apply that knowledge in the workplace, i.e. 'what you do'.

What does the Certified Practitioner post-nominal signify?

The Certified Practitioner post-nominal (awarded by the AHRI National Certification Council) acknowledges the successful completion of the AHRI Practising Certification Program (APC). It confirms to both employers and other HR practitioners that the HR practitioner has been assessed as meeting the high standard of knowledge and skills required to operate as a highly valued HR business partner.

What is the National Certification Council (NCC)?

The National Certification Council oversees the HR standards, administration and decision making that supports the credentialing of eligible candidates seeking HR certification. In addition to making decisions on the suitability of candidates who will carry the Certified Practitioner post-nominal, the NCC is also responsible for reviewing HR standards and hearing appeals. The NCC is made up of experts from the public service and industry, and academics from Australia and overseas. Member profiles can be viewed here.


After 2017, what will HR practitioners need to do to be recognised as 'certified' HR practitioners?

After 2017, HR practitioners who meet the minimum experience and/or education entry requirement and want to gain 'certification' will need to engage with certification via one of the three pathways.

How will this development affect existing CAHRIs?

Existing CAHRI members will retain their membership grading as long as they maintain their membership by continuing to pay the associated membership fees by the renewal due date. However, CAHRI members can achieve the new certification standard at anytime, by engaging with certification via one of the three pathways.

The APC Program

The AHRI Practising Certification Program (APC) is an industry-recognised equivalent of an AQF level 8 postgraduate program, designed to ensure the highest possible standards of HR practice and ultimately lead to the professional certification upon graduation. This work-integrated program includes an in-depth examination of the key functions of HR management competencies and their application in the business environment, the organisation and the individual. Access to a workplace is essential for participants to be able to complete their final capstone unit consisting of a work-based project in order to meet all the requirements for professional HR certification.

The APC consists of four units: three knowledge units and one capstone unit. The capstone unit is a workplace-based project focused on an HR initiative that builds and enhances organisational capability. For full details of the APC 4-unit program, assessments, costs, fees and duration, please refer to the AHRI Practising Certification Program (APC) page.

What are the entry/eligibility criteria for the course?

Participants must meet one of the following program entry requirements:

  • Experienced HR professionals with at least five (5) years’ experience working in an HR general practitioner role (without a formal qualification)
  • HR professionals with an undergraduate degree from a recognised tertiary institution and at least two (2) years’ recent experience in an HR practitioner role
  • Experienced people managers or business leaders with at least five (5) years of relevant vocational practice in management, seeking to broaden and enhance their HRM capability.

Who delivers the APC Program?

The APC Program is delivered by experienced facilitators, assessors, and academic coordinators who are experts in the field of human resources. The workshops are underpinned by adult learning principles, and provide a learning environment where open dialogue and peer learning is enabled and encouraged.

Skills recognition

How can I obtain recognition of my HR skills, knowledge and experience within the AHRI Practising Certification Program?

A Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment process will be available for individuals to demonstrate their current HR knowledge and skills against the learning outcomes of knowledge units 1, 2 and 3 of the APC.

The Unit 4 Capstone is compulsory and will not be available for credit transfer or RPL. AHRI is enabling 75 per cent credit for the entire APC Program for those who receive successful recognition of units 1, 2 and 3. This the same standard that applies to Skills Recognition in higher education.

What recognition will I receive if I have formal qualifications in HR?

Where participants have completed an AHRI accredited postgraduate qualification and have met the certification eligibility criteria, there will be an opportunity for credit transfer into units 1, 2 and 3 of the AHRI Practising Certification Program.

Where your course is not AHRI accredited, then your study will contribute positively to your recognition of prior learning application as noted above.

To learn more about skills recognition or cross-credit applications, you can visit the APC page, email a member of the AHRI Education team at or call 1300 811 880.

How long does the APC Program take to complete?

The program is offered over two years on a part-time basis with enrolments open twice each year (ie. Semester 1 intake and Semester 2 intake). As the APC is equivalent to a postgraduate level qualification, you can expect to commit 8 to 10 hours per week over the 16-week semester per learning unit. All four units of the APC must be completed within four years of commencement.

Can I apply for credit transfer for units 1, 2 and 3 if I have a non-AHRI accredited postgraduate qualification?

If you hold a non-AHRI accredited postgraduate qualification, you will be able to apply for credit transfer for units 1 to 3, at a fee of $775 per unit. As part of the process, you will be required to submit supplementary evidence which will be assessed and mapped against AHRI’s Model of Excellence.

AHRI will consider qualifications (AHRI accredited or otherwise) completed within the last 10 years. If your qualifications are more than 10 years old, you can still submit an application if you can demonstrate you have maintained involvement in the subject area, to ensure currency of knowledge and skills.

Please read the Skills Recognition section of the APC web page for further details.

Note: The APC Program is not subject to GST.

Upon successful completion of any of the above methods, you will then be eligible to apply to the NCC to become certified. The NCC meets twice yearly in February and August.

Certification and AHRI membership

If I become certified but let my AHRI membership lapse, what happens to my certification?

As is the case with any professional certification, currency is maintained via the demonstration of continuous professional development (CPD) which underpins membership status. If your AHRI membership lapses, the professional membership post-nominals cannot be used because of the role AHRI, as the professional body for HR in Australia, plays in validating and auditing the currency of your certification. Any decision to reinstate your professional status would need to be made via application to the National Certification Council.

I've completed the APC Program but I am not a member. Can I use the Certified Practitioner post-nominal?

Post-nominals are awarded by professional bodies who oversee the development of professional standards and continuous maintenance of those standards. Non-members are not subject to CPD requirements, and therefore the Institute cannot assure the market of the maintenance of the standard achieved via the APC Program. As such, if you are not an AHRI member, you cannot apply to receive the Certified Practitioner post-nominal. The opportunity to apply to become an AHRI member as a Certified Practitioner will be made available for two years after the date of completion of the APC Program.

How will this development affect existing CAHRIs?

Existing CAHRI members will retain their membership grading as long as they maintain their membership by continuing to pay the associated membership fees by the renewal due date. However, CAHRI members can achieve the new certification standard at anytime, by engaging with certification via one of the three pathways.

Certification and CPD

How does CPD impact certification?

Professional members are required to comply with the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements, in order to maintain membership at a professional level. AHRI conducts annual audits of a random selection of members to check compliance with the CPD requirements. Members who have not maintained the minimum number of CPD hours may be regraded to the level of affiliate member.


How much does it cost to gain professional certification by undertaking the AHRI Practising Certification Program?

The APC program comprises of four learning units. The fees for each learning unit vary depending on the study method you select – either by distance-learning or workshop.


Demonstrate your ability and commitment to become a Certified HR Practitioner by enrolling in the AHRI Practising Certification Program (APC) in 2017. Like doctors, accountants and lawyers, getting your HR certification sets out clearly to employers and organisations that you meet high professional standards and practise good HR.

Since the launch of HR certification and the APC Program, many HR practitioners have taken up the distance learning option which means lower running costs in terms of venue hire and overheads. These economies of scale have enabled us to pass on cost savings to our members who enrol in 2017 for two units or more of the AHRI Practising Certification Program (APC) via the distance learning option. In 2017 we are also looking to improve our commitment to the environment, and we have included a paperless study option for our distance delivery model.



AHRI member


($1,000 if enrolled in 2017*)




($1,550 if enrolled in 2017*)


AHRI member overseas



Non-member overseas



* Applies to participants who enrol in two units or more of the APC Program for distance learning in 2017.

** Please note, fees are not subject to the Australia Goods and Services Tax (GST) as this is a GST-free education program.


Where you elect to apply for recognition of prior learning for units 1 to 3 based on past experience and/or study, a fixed application fee will apply. Depending on the outcomes of the RPL application, you may need to undertake selected knowledge units to address any knowledge gaps. Once your RPL application has been approved, you will be ready to apply to undertake the fourth capstone unit, to which the above unit fees apply.

Where you are eligible for ‘cross-credit’ from study within an AHRI Accredited Course for units 1 to 3, no fee will apply for the units for which you receive cross-credit. Depending on the number of units you receive cross-credit for, you may need to undertake additional knowledge units to address any gaps. Once your cross-credit application has been verified, you will be ready to apply to undertake the fourth capstone unit, to which the above unit fees apply.

Skills RecognitionFee

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

$495 per unit

Credit Transfer (AHRI Accredited post graduate course)


Bundle package for 3 units


How much does it cost to gain professional certification by undertaking the Senior Leaders Pathway?

Applicants for the Senior Leaders Pathway are required to be a current AHRI member and submit payment of the Senior Leaders Pathway application fee ($492.50 inc GST). The fee is payable prior to submitting the other pathway requirements. More information is available here.

How much does it cost to gain professional certification by undertaking Pathway 3: CIPD Reciprocity?

There is no cost to CIPD members who have achieved the equivalent of certified practitioner status by attaining the Chartered MCIPD category from CIPD in the United Kingdom, and already hold current AHRI membership. For eligible CIPD members who aren't yet an AHRI member, the AHRI membership fee is payable.

Reciprocity matters

I have achieved a CIPD chartered membership, am I required to undertaken the APC?

If you have achieved the CIPD chartered professional membership status prior to applying for the equivalent membership level with AHRI  then you will automatically be awarded the new AHRI Certified Practitioner post-nominal. For further information, email


Active: membership is fully financial and the member has access to all member benefits.

APC: AHRI Practising Certification Program

Certified Practitioner: A new membership category and post-nominal awarded to members who have been certified. Note, after 2017, the category of CAHRI will no longer exist and will be replaced by a Certified HR Practitioner post-nominal, for use by those who have completed successfully completed one of the HR certification pathways.

Capstone unit: The final unit of the APC Program that is workplace based and used to demonstrate a participant's equivalent knowledge, skills and experience.

Lapsed: Membership is between 2 months and 2 years past the membership renewal date. This status will be displayed on the member record. The member will have no access to the member benefits and will no longer be able to use the AHRI post-nominal.

Membership renewal date: This is the date that a member's renewal fees are due.

Membership fees: The fees related to the annual membership.

Overdue: Membership is between 1 day and 2 months past the membership renewal date. This status will be displayed on the member's record, but the member will still have access to membership benefits.

Post-nominal: This refers to the professional member type MAHRI, CAHRI and FAHRI, and the Certified Practitioner post-nominals CPHR and FCPHR. The post-nominal can be used by members after their name in their email signature, business cards or on LinkedIn. The member must be Active to make use of the post-nominal.

Re-admission process: The process that will allow a lapsed or downgraded Certified Practitioner to regain certification.

For full details of the APC 4-unit program, assessments, costs, fees and duration, please refer to the dedicated AHRI Practising Certification Program (APC) page.


The time is right for a post-nominal that signifies to business the professionalism of the HR person they are employing. Hopefully, the HR profession will take it up and take pride in it.

Jim Bailey LFAHRI, AHRI's inaugural National President

An executive perspective

an executive perspective


AHRI, in partnership with senior members of the HR profession, need to champion certification as a means to recognise the quality of the professionals in the field and to continue to lift the contribution of the HR profession in enabling business success.

Grant Kerswell FAHRI, HR Director, Broadspectrum

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