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Anyone who wishes to write the National Knowledge Exam (NKE) must fulfill the coursework requirement outlined on this page. The coursework requirement was established September 1, 2020 by CPHR Canada. The coursework requirement ensures the candidate has a foundation of HR knowledge aligned to the Competency Framework. This requirement builds on the credibility of the CPHR designation by establishing a standard for the educational needs of a CPHR.

Important Note: The 2022 update to CPHR Canada's Competency Framework will not affect the current coursework requirement. 

To pursue the designation, one must have a degree or two-year diploma. If your degree or diploma is in HR, you have met the coursework requirement. If you do not have an HR focused education, you must complete the coursework requirement.

The foundational requirement may be met in the following ways:

  • Completion of an HR Certificate that covers the foundational courses
  • Continuing Education courses in HR
  • HR courses already completed within your non-HR post-secondary program OR
  • The CPHR Canada Program with Captus Press

Assessing Foundational Coursework

Applicants with HR Education

Prospective Members are required to have official transcripts sent from their post-secondary institution to CPHR Alberta when applying for membership.

Internationally educated applicants require an IQAS or WES assessment of each course in place of transcripts.

Applicants without HR Education

Applicants without education in HR (degree or diploma) will have their courses reviewed by CPHR Alberta. CPHR Alberta will assess the courses you have completed for gaps in foundational knowledge of the CPHR Competency Framework. HR Certificates will be assessed accordingly. Not all HR Certificates cover all required courses so completion of an HR Certificate may not be sufficient.

Any section of the Competency Framework NOT covered in applicant’s courses will be required coursework. You will only need to complete sections of the Competency Framework that were not covered in your education.

Transcripts and assessments will only be reviewed for those who have submitted a General Membership application. Coursework reviews will not be completed for those who have not submitted a membership application.

CPHR Alberta has compiled a list of courses from post-secondary institutions across Alberta that are equivalent to the CPHR Canada required courses. To self-assess and to make decisions about which courses to take where, you can use this course list. Courses not included on this list may still be eligible to be credited. This is determined upon a coursework assessment.  

For a course to meet the requirement, the applicant must have achieved a grade of C+ or 65% in the required course. If you completed a course where no grade was issued, you cannot be provided credit for the CPHR coursework requirement.

Please note that if you are an Alberta Resident who has taken courses that may be equivalent to the CPHR Academic Program, whether listed in the pre-approved course list or not, reviews of your education will be handled by CPHR Alberta. If CPHR Alberta is not able to assess your coursework, you need to apply for a Prior Learning Assessment Record (PLAR) through Captus Press. In this case, Captus Press would perform your assessment and notifies CPHR Alberta of the results. There are fees associated with the PLAR assessment, visit this page for details.

What Happens After Coursework Assessments?

  • Applicants are approved as General members and become Associate Members when the required coursework is completed.
  • Once you are an Associate Member, you can register for the National Knowledge Exam.

CPHR Canada Program

CPHR Canada, in partnership with Captus Press, set up online courses to help members obtain the required foundational coursework. Visit the CPHR Canada portal to review these courses and to see which are open for registration. You do not need to take courses through the CPHR Canada Program to meet the coursework requirement. This CPHR Canada Program is one option for gaining required coursework. These are the required courses as laid out by CPHR Canada. All of these courses are available through Captus Press and equivalencies for most are also covered by post-secondary institutes across Canada.

  • Accounting & Financial Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Industrial Relations
  • Organizational Behaviour
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Recruitment and Selection
  • Strategic Compensation
  • Strategic Human Resources Planning
  • Training and Development

In each course, students are required to:

  • Access multimedia online lectures
  • Study readings in the assigned textbook(s)
  • Participate in interactive discussion boards with their fellow students and the instructor
  • Submit midterms or assignments
  • Write a proctored final examination.

Please note that the Captus Press Courses require 20 registrants to run so there is a possibility that courses may be cancelled or delayed depending on registration numbers.

Questions about the Coursework Requirement? Review the Coursework Requirement FAQs


Jayden Carson
Professional Standards Assistant
1.800.668.6125 ext. 104