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 Degree Requirement

To be certified by HRPA and earn the right to use the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation, applicants must have a degree from a recognized educational institution. The degree does not need to be in human resources. 

The degree requirement is established under the statutory authority conferred to the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) pursuant to the Registered Human Resources Professionals Act, 2013.  This Act gives HRPA the statutory authority to “prescribe the curriculum and the courses of study to be pursued by the students and candidates in order to satisfy the academic requirements of any particular registration.


Rationale for the Degree Requirement

The degree requirement ensures that human resources professionals possess the generic competencies necessary to perform in human resources roles at the required level. The degree requirement was not established to ensure that candidates possess discipline-specific knowledge and skills.

The degree requirement is separate from the coursework requirement. For those who earn a degree in human resources, both the coursework and degree requirements may be fulfilled concurrently; for others, the coursework and the degree requirements will be met independently. Although the degree requirement and the coursework requirement are separate requirements, they are designed to work together. The degree requirement can be non-specific because of the existence of a coursework requirement. In the end, to be certified by HRPA, an individual must have both the requisite discipline-specific knowledge of human resources management, and the generic skills required to perform at a professional level in human resources. HRPA’s certification model recognizes that discipline-specific knowledge and generic skills are not necessarily acquired at the same time and place.

Executive MBAs will be accepted towards the degree requirement provided they are awarded by a recognized educational institution and are consistent with qualifications at the Masters level. Certificates and diplomas do not meet the degree requirement. Applied degrees which are awarded by colleges are degrees. Degrees from non-Canadian educational institutions are acceptable as long as they are deemed equivalent to a Canadian degree. This equivalency must be established by an approved accreditation service. Degrees include advanced degrees.

For more detailed information regarding the history of HRPA’s degree requirement, review the HRPA Certification Handbook (PDF).

Non-Canadian Degrees

Non-Canadian degrees can count towards meeting the degree requirement as long as they are deemed equivalent to a Canadian degree. HRPA does not conduct such assessments. HRPA accepts credential equivalency assessment reports from the credential evaluation agencies and organizations listed below. An original copy of the report will be required. Be advised that reports must advise of equivalency of a completed degree. Partial completions will not be accepted.

The agencies and organizations listed below adhere to the General Guiding Principles for Good Practice in the Assessment of Foreign Credentials and the Recommendation on Criteria and Procedures for the Assessment of Foreign Qualifications adopted under the 1997 Lisbon Recognition Convention.

Comparative Education Service (CES)

International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS)

World Education Services-Canada (WES Canada)

Note that these organizations conduct credential assessments for meeting the degree requirement. Candidates wishing to get credit for specific courses to meet the coursework requirement need to apply for Credit for Non-approved Courses.

Timeframe and Documentation

Individuals can write the National Knowledge Exam (NKE) before achieving a degree, but once the NKE is passed, members have 10 years from that time to show proof of a completed recognized degree and to obtain the professional experience requirement. 

Once a degree has been earned, there is no time limit on the validity of the degree.

HRPA will accept an original transcript from the recognized educational institution, or original documentation from the recognized credential assessment services noted above. Original transcripts are ordered through the Registrar’s Office of the degree granting institution and may be sent directly to HRPA. Please notify HRPA if your name has changed since achieving a degree. Proof of name change documentation will be required by HRPA.

Exemption to the Degree Requirement

The degree requirement came into effect January 1, 2011. However, members of HRPA who passed the CPE are exempt from the degree requirement if they complete the certification  process prior to May 14, 2014. Members of HRPA who passed the NKE before January 1, 2011 are exempt from the degree requirement if they complete the certification process prior to December 31, 2015. For more detail regarding the exemption to the degree requirement and if/how it may affect you, please read: Important Changes to the Experience Requirement for the CHRP Designation.

Information Regarding Degree Granting Programs

Individuals pursuing a degree are encouraged to contact the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to find out what degree programs are offered.

Individuals pursuing certification who have already completed academic courses in human resources are encouraged to contact their degree granting educational institution(s) of choice to determine if these courses may be used for credit towards a degree program. Please note that this would be at the sole discretion of the degree granting educational institution and based on their specific program policies and requirements.   

Individuals with questions regarding the degree requirement are encouraged to contact the Office of the Registrar at​​​​