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 Degree Requirement

To earn the right to use the Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) designation, applicants must have a degree from a recognized educational institution. The degree does not need to be in human resources. 

Please note: with the update to the designation framework, as of October 29, 2014, no degree is required for the entry-level CHRP designation; however, a degree is still required for the professional-level CHRL designation. 


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 establish, maintain, develop and enforce standards of knowledge, skill and proficiency.


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 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. 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 include advanced degrees.

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 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.

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 Comprehensive Knowledge Exam (CKE) before achieving a degree, but once the CKE 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 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 with questions regarding the degree requirement are encouraged to contact the Office of the Registrar at​​​​