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CPHR Designation Pathways - Frequently Asked Questions



Designation Pathways

Accreditation of Academic Institutions

Foundational HR Course Requirements



1. Do these changes affect me directly if I already have my CPHR designation?

If you have your CPHR designation, these changes will not affect you. 

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2. How will CPHR Saskatchewan be providing additional information on these changes?

CPHR Saskatchewan will be providing additional information through communications, live webinars and the FAQ, as needed.  

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3. Who do I contact if I have questions?

Please contact the office for any questions at 306-242-2747 or email

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Designation Pathways:

4. Why is CPHR Saskatchewan introducing a non-degree, HR Diploma pathway to the designation?

The CPHR Canada National Standards Advisory Committee, which is responsible for researching the designation and best practices, made the recommendation to implement a non-degree, HR Diploma pathway route.  The differences between the education at the diploma and degree levels are recognized through the additional HR experience requirement of five years (diploma requires eight years, degree requires three years).  The HR specific education at both diploma and degree levels are aligned to the CPHR Knowledge Areas.   

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5. Does the non-degree pathway represent a lower professional standard than in the past?

As stated above, the CPHR Saskatchewan Board determined, through research that the non-degree pathway does not represent a lower professional standard as the education requirement is specific to HR in both the diploma and degree.  Academic credential attests to knowledge of theory and having passed a particular course of study, while a professional designation attests to a certain warranty of competence or expertise. In other words, not only do you know your subject matter, you have demonstrated experience and competence within the discipline. 

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6. When will CPHR Saskatchewan begin to recognize two-year HR diplomas for the CPHR designation?

Effective immediately; should you have a two-year HR diploma you may pursue the CPHR designation.  You will be required to submit transcripts from the academic institution to be verified prior to writing the National Knowledge Exam (NKE).  Transcripts need to be submitted directly from the academic institution to CPHR Saskatchewan. Upon successful completion of the NKE, you will be eligible to submit the Validation of Experience application with the required eight years of HR experience, 5 years at the Applied HR level and 3 years at the Foundational HR level.   

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7. Why is CPHR Saskatchewan introducing an executive senior level pathway to the designation?

CPHR Saskatchewan has approved the Executive Senior pathway to recognize that there are those who, over the course of their career, have reached the most senior levels of the HR profession. This pathway is for executive leaders with a high level of experience and responsibility such as leading the HR function in large organizations, developing and executing significant HR projects, working with Boards or HR Committees, dealing with executive compensation, and having responsibility for HR strategies in support of long-term organizational goals.

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8. Why won’t executive senior level candidates be required to complete the NKE or the Foundational HR Courses?

Executive Senior Professionals are recognized as being at a point in their career where they have achieved the required knowledge and competence through their executive tenure and experience in HR roles. The rigorous ten year validation of experience process includes acquired and demonstrated executive-level competencies in areas such as governance, business strategy, and executive compensation.

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9. When will CPHR Saskatchewan begin to recognize executive senior level credentials for the CPHR designation?  

Effective immediately, however, please contact Nicole Norton Scott at should you be interested. 

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10. Who made the decision to change the designation pathways?

As mentioned above, CPHR Canada National Standards Advisory Committee is tasked with researching and providing best practice research.  It was found that both nationally and internationally (e.g., Society of Human Resources Management in the United States) there are different pathways to achieving a professional designation and the CPHR Saskatchewan Board of Directors approved the new designation pathways after extensive research and consideration.

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11. Have the Validation of Experience (VOE) requirements also changed?

Effective September 30, 2020 the new VOE requirements are being implemented.  Please refer to the web page.

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Accreditation of Academic Institutions:

12. Who determines if a post-secondary institution will become accredited?

The academic institutions in Saskatchewan will determine whether or not they would like to pursue accreditation with CPHR Saskatchewan. 

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13. Will only HR programs be accredited?

Yes, only academic institutions that offer HR programs that lead to a diploma in HR, degree with a major in HR or a Masters in HR will be considered for accreditation.

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14. When will the accreditation process be completed?

At present, Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Business Diploma in Human Resources is the only accredited program in Saskatchewan. Graduates from April 2016 and onward are eligible to waive the NKE with an overall cumulative average of 70% or higher.

In regards to Saskatchewan’s other academic institutions, the timeframe is unknown as the process depends on how quickly the academic institution and CPHR Saskatchewan can work together given other academic priorities.

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15. What if I am attending a post-secondary institution but I graduate before it becomes accredited?

We have learned from our colleagues who have accredited academic institutions in their respective provinces, that typically a person who has graduated within five years of the date of accreditation will be grandfathered. That is to say that if a post-secondary academic institution in Saskatchewan is accredited in 2020, a person would likely have to have graduated in 2015 or later in order to be eligible to waive the NKE.

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16. What if I have already graduated from a post-secondary institution and it now becomes accredited?

Similar to the answer above, the typical grandfathering period is five years from the date of accreditation.  That is to say that if a post-secondary academic institution in Saskatchewan is accredited in 2020, a person would likely have to have graduated in 2015 or later in order to be eligible to waive the NKE

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17. What if I have registered for the NKE and the post-secondary institution I attended becomes accredited?

If you have registered for the NKE and the post-secondary institution becomes accredited before you write, your exam fee will be fully refunded. 

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18. If graduates of accredited post-secondary institutions no longer must challenge the NKE, how can we be assured that our professional standards will not deteriorate?

The NKE is a technical, knowledge-based exam on the nine HR Knowledge Areas.  Someone who has recently graduated and successfully passed exams through their post-secondary accredited program has already proven their technical competence.  For all accredited post-secondary institutions there will be a required minimum GPA in each of the courses.  

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19. Why is Saskatchewan one of the only provinces with no accredited post-secondary institutions?

CPHR Saskatchewan needed to do additional research and ensure we were on the right track before advancing earlier discussions with post-secondary institutions.  As our pathways and accreditation strategies are now firm and approved, we can continue the conversations towards accreditation.

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20. How does it work if my diploma, degree or Masters is from an accredited institution outside Saskatchewan?

CPHR Saskatchewan will recognize credentials from CPHR Canada Member Associations’ accredited post-secondary institutions.  

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Foundational HR Course Requirements:

21. Why is the Foundational HR Course requirement not being implemented until January 1,  2022?

CPHR Saskatchewan wanted to ensure that proper notice was given to those who are currently considering the designation and whose degree is not in HR.  

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22. What does the notice period allow?

This notice period allows a person without a major in HR five opportunities (November 2019, June 2020, Nov 2020, June 2021 and November 2021) to write the NKE before the Foundational Courses will be required.  

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23. How much time will be required to complete each Foundational HR Course?  Will there be a fee?

Currently all the details are being worked out nationally, we will communicate once finalized and there will be a fee for each course.

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24. How will I know if my degree requires me to pursue some or all of the new Foundational HR Courses?

As mentioned above, the details are being worked out, however, you will have the ability to apply for an exemption of a foundational course. This will be easy for accredited post-secondary programs, as we will know the courses taken may have already been approved.  All details will be communicated once the Foundational HR Course process has been finalized.

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25. Will the Foundational HR Courses allow me to pursue a CPHR designation if I have completed a non-HR diploma program?

No, only those with an HR diploma will be able to pursue the designation.  The Foundational HR Course requirement is for those with a minimum of a non-HR degree or Masters.

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Chartered Professionals in Human Resources Saskatchewan (CPHR Saskatchewan)
#210, 3501 8th Street East / Saskatoon, Sask. / S7H 0W5
tel: 306.242.2747  / email: 

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