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Pathway 2: Senior Leaders Pathway


The Senior Leaders Pathway (SLP) offers an opportunity for experienced HR practitioners to lead the way for the profession by becoming certified. The process is designed to respectfully acknowledge your existing HR skills, knowledge and behaviours, as they relate to implementing organisational change within your organisations.

The SLP does not involve new study; rather, it is based on the assessment and verification of a retrospective project or initiative that you have undertaken that demonstrates your expert HR skills and experience.  A template will be provided to assist you in capturing key data and outcomes in a case study format.

Once your case study is reviewed by the certification team and feedback is provided, an interview time will be set for you and members of a subcommittee of the National Certification Council (NCC) to further explore the case study outcomes.  Following the successful completion of this process, the certification application can then be presented to the NCC for review.

"Becoming an HR certified practitioner helps me stand out in the marketplace. As a consultant, I find people are looking to select an expert, and they want to go with someone who is a professional and trusted advisor."

Donna Benjamin FCPHR, Founder and Manager of Holistic Human Resources Consultancy

"I consider it important to lead by example, so it would be hard to explain to anyone else in HR why they should do certification if I didn’t."

Carmel McGregor FCPHR, Adjunct Professor, University of Canberra

"The certification team provided a clear pathway with excellent guidance notes and templates to complete the case study."

Greg Ure FCPHR, CEO, Caronlab Australia

"If we don’t invest in ourselves first and foremost, we can’t be the profession we need to be. We have to invest in our own development and the development of leaders."

Jen White CPHR, HR Director ANZ, Avnet Technology Solutions


This pathway towards HR certification is suitable for those with 10 or more years' generalist HR experience and a minimum of five years' experience in a senior leadership/management role, demonstrating a record of achievement in managing the HR function.

The following criteria should be met to provide proof of HR leadership:

  • Demonstrate leadership in strategic and budgetary responsibilities, in either or both generalist, or specialist HR roles;
  • Lead a team of HR professionals towards achieving the organisation’s objectives; and
  • Completed an AHRI accredited or relevant postgraduate qualification, or demonstrate equivalent knowledge, skills and experience.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, use our online HR Certification Pathfinder to get an instant recommendation on the most suitable pathway for you.

Please note: If you are not currently an AHRI professional member and you wish to commence with the Senior Leaders Pathway, please visit  AHRI membership to learn how to obtain your professional membership prior to enrolment.



Expressions of interest can be made by filling in an EOI form online.

Please note you need to sign in to the AHRI website prior to submitting this form. If you do not recall your login details please contact our Member Services team on 03 9918 9200 or email

Once you have submitted your EOI and CV via the link above, you will be sent a copy of the case study template, along with advice regarding timelines for the submission in relation to the Council meeting dates, which convenes three times per year. Note, you must hold current AHRI membership to apply for certification.

If you are not currently an AHRI member, once you have submitted your EOI you can visit the membership section of the AHRI website and apply for membership.  If you need assistance with your membership application please contact our Member Services team on 03 9918 9200 or email


The case study template provided to you after your EOI submission includes specific instructions on how to put together a SLP application. Your case study needs to be a recent project (no more than five years old), that outlines an organisational capability initiative, change or solution that you have implemented and that had measurable outcomes. The template requires you to consider how you have applied the expert knowledge, skills and behaviours captured within the AHRI Model of Excellence.

Many senior leaders have given feedback that the process required an intense commitment of 6 to 8 hours to complete. Many also commented that they enjoyed reflecting on the impact they have had across their career. Read about Lloyd Filer (FCPHR)'s certification experience.

View an example of a completed SLP application.


Before uploading your case study, please review your application submission against the checklist on the final page of the template.

Once inside the portal, you will be asked to complete the submission form, upload your case study (in word format only) together with a separate scanned copy of your referee/sponsors and your signatures. The application submission cost is $495.00 (including GST). You can pay directly online by credit card. We accept Visa, MasterCard, AMEX or Diners.

Submit now.

Please note, all payments and uploads must be received by the cut-off date for each Certification Council meeting as per the below table. Submissions received after the due date may not be processed in time for the next NCC meeting.

SLP Case Study or Academic Portfolio Submission / Payment Due DateNCC Meeting Date
5 January 201815 February 2018
3 August 201826 September 2018
1 November 201812 December 2018

STEP 4: DocuSign

Once we have received your case study submission, we will contact your sponsor/referee via DocuSign to see verification of the evidence presented based on your sponsor/referee's observation of the outcomes outline in your case study. Further, the verification confirms that this is the applicant's own work and is an appropriate demonstration of their skills, knowledge, capabilities and behaviours relevant to their project. Please ensure your nominated sponsor/referee is at the Business/Divisional CEO level and is contactable via email.

Once your sponsor has signed off your case study, the documents will be forwarded to you to check your permission for reproduction and to sign and date.

When this has been completed, both you and your sponsor/referee will receive the signed copy and your submission will go to the assessor for review. 

Please note, you or your sponsor/referee do not need a DocuSign account to sign.


After your application has been reviewed, an interview will then be scheduled with a sub-committee of the NCC. The purpose of the interview is to seek further validation of your case study to assist with its presentation to the NCC.

The AHRI certification team will contact you with interview time options and confirm this in advance.


The NCC meets three times per year to review applications for certification via the three pathways.

Your case study, fellow application (optional) and CV, along with a summary of the interview outcomes, will be presented to the NCC for consideration. You will be advised of the outcomes of the Council by the AHRI certification team within three weeks after the meeting.


If you wish to contact a member of the AHRI certification team about your personal situation and the best pathway for you, please email

UPGRADING TO AHRI FELLOWSHIP via the senior leaders pathway

Members who are not already Fellows of AHRI have the option to be considered for AHRI Fellowship in conjunction with their SLP case study submission.

Members should refer to AHRI Fellow Application Guidelines prior to submission.

If you have any questions about becoming a Fellow, please contact AHRI Member Services on 03 9918 9230 or


If the Senior Leaders Pathway towards HR certification isn’t right for you, use our online HR Certification Pathfinder to get an instant recommendation on the most suitable pathway for you. Other pathways you might be eligible for are:

Pathway 1: Attaining HR certification through the AHRI Practising Certification (APC) Program

If you are an experienced HR professional or people manager with at least five years’ HR experience, this program is designed for you. The APC program is a four-unit study program equivalent to an AQF level 8 postgraduate program; skills recognition is offered through Recognition of Prior Learning or Credit Transfer. Learn more about Pathway 1.

Pathway 3: HR certification for CIPD Chartered Members

This pathway is available to HR practitioners who have achieved the equivalent of certified practitioner status, by attaining the Chartered CIPD or Chartered FCIPD categories from CIPD in the United Kingdom. Learn more about Pathway 3.

Pathway 4: Academic pathway 

This pathway offers an opportunity for academics and senior academics to become a Certified Academic HR, considering a portfolio of evidence demonstrating contribution to the body of HR knowledge and/or excellence in HR teaching practice. Find out more about Pathway 4.


It brought back to me a clear understanding of exactly what my profession is about and the various ways that business can be affected by good HR practices.

Lloyd Filer FCPHR, Principal Consultant & Director, Filer Consulting

Why I chose to get certified

HR certification and the APC program


As you progress through your career it becomes more important to ensure the future of the profession. The certification program does that for the HR profession. That's why I took the decision to complete the Senior Leaders Pathways.

Rob Phipps FCPHR, Chief People Officer, KFC

An HR professional’s story of life and near-death

AHRICatherine McLachlan isn’t simply an achiever, she’s a survivor with a personal story that makes her recent AHRI award even more remarkable.

The post An HR professional’s story of life and near-death appeared first on HRM online.

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AHRI Assist