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Why participate in the HR Credentialing Program? It's all about professional recognition. The HR Credentialing Program is designed to allow journey-level human resources and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) professionals at state departments to be recognized for mastering specific human resource areas. CalHR, through the Civil Service Improvement (CSI) effort, is promoting a workforce culture of lifelong learning, professional recognition and personal growth. The HR Credentialing Program is a vehicle for professional growth for human resources and EEO professionals who are spread throughout state service.
The State of California is in the midst of significant change within the civil service workforce as the need within government programs and services shift. An invigorating transformation is occurring through civil service improvement efforts to support the State of California as being an "employer of choice" and grow a workforce that will be innovative and responsive in furthering the State of California as a leader on the global economy stage. This reform is in part due to a personnel system that has been under scrutiny for many years and a response by the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) to advance a human resources structure that is responsive to the state's workforce needs.
In order for civil service improvement efforts to be successful, CalHR recognizes it must be supported by human resources and EEO professionals who are strategic in developing solutions and providing support to address the unique needs of the state's workforce. CalHR identified this need as a strategic goal in their 2014-18 Strategic Plan, to provide services to develop and enhance the expertise of state human resources.
The HR Credentialing Program was developed to focus on the professional development of the human resources and EEO community within civil service and ultimately improve the level of service provided. The HR Credentialing Program recognizes professionals' abilities, experience, and commitment to human resources and EEO, reduces barriers across human resources functions and departments, and creates a sustainable and agile human resources workforce, thereby advancing the State of California in an ever-changing global economy. The HR Credentialing Program represents CalHR's promise to develop human resources and EEO professionals and support the State of California.
The CalHR HR Credentialing Program was developed to professionalize and validate the roles, responsibilities, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities of State of California human resource and EEO professionals who possess subject matter expertise in one or more human resources (HR) areas, including Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO). The program promotes professional recognition, career advancement, an organizational culture of continuous learning, and the development of future HR professionals.
Applicants seeking to participate in this HR Credentialing Program will inventory and document their education and experience in one or more of the following core HR and EEO functions:
The applicant for an HR Credential must be a current state civil service employee and have a minimum of three years of experience performing duties in a state HR work environment or EEO program. This experience is most commonly gained by working in a departmental HR unit or EEO office.
Applicants for an HR Credential should have knowledge of the principles and techniques of planning, developing, implementing, and administering HR or EEO programs or services. They should possess the skills necessary to be successful as an HR professional. In addition, they should also be knowledgeable of the policies, procedures, and processes needed to interpret and apply federal and state laws, codes, regulations, and standards relating to HR activities.
Successful applicants will have the opportunity to take an exam in their area of expertise. Those who pass the exam will receive recognition from CalHR leadership in the form of an HR Credential reflecting their proficiency in that program area.
Applications and exams are open to all State departments.
Applications from Summer 2020 exam session will be rolled into future exam offerings.Applications are welcome for future exam sessions.
• Civil Rights/Equal Employment Opportunity• Classification and Compensation• Employee Performance Management • Health and Safety• Labor Relations• Recruitment and Selection • Training and Development• Workforce and Succession Planning
Applicants must first meet the eligibility requirements before they submit an application noting their desired subject area credential. The application will be used to verify that applicants meet the eligibility requirements, namely three years of experience performing duties in a state HR work environment or EEO program.
After review by a panel of HR Credentialing Program evaluators, applicants who have the required experience will receive notification of the reviewing committee's decision. Those that apply and have the required experience will be invited to take a proctored written examination.
Questions or comments regarding the program may be sent to:
Submit a complete standard state application STD 678 (or download an application from your CalCareer account). Indicate which credential(s) you are applying for at the top of page one and list each module in the EXAMINATION(S) OR JOB TITLE(S) FOR WHICH YOU ARE APPLYING field, and sign the certification at the bottom of the page.
Note: Incomplete or unsigned applications will not be accepted. Do NOT include your Social Security Number on any application materials.
Or mail to:
HR Credentialing Program Attention: Jonathan Calabretta 1515 S St., North Building, Suite 500 Sacramento, CA 95811-7258
Note: Your application will be reviewed after the deadline for submission, and you will be notified if you do or do not qualify to take the examination once the application period has ended.
Each state agency, department and office is structurally unique and plays a critical role within state government. Similarly, each HR program area and core function is unique and provides vital services to both the organization and employees. HR and EEO professionals perform a variety of duties and tasks that focus on employee and organizational performance and results. Consequently, they must have an understanding of the organization's strategic plan and culture, possess a baseline understanding of key aspects within the HR function, and demonstrate a wide range of technical expertise and industry knowledge.
The following overview section provides a description of the tasks, knowledge, skills, abilities, and characteristics that subject matter experts working in HR and EEO programs possess. These overviews may or may not reflect all responsibilities required of an HR and EEO Professional, but rather highlight common knowledge, skills, abilities, and on-the-job behaviors across broad HR functions.
An HR professional in the area of Civil Rights/Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) assists in developing and administering an effective civil rights/EEO program. An effective civil rights/EEO program facilitates and supports nondiscrimination employment policies and practices through education, monitoring, and appropriately addressing equal employment opportunity issues when they arise. Effective civil rights/EEO programs require that employees have a clear understanding of their rights and all related departmental policies.
The Civil Rights/EEO professional takes proactive measures to prevent discrimination and is also expected to be knowledgeable of the applicable civil rights laws and provide guidance to managers, supervisors, and employees. This includes creating policies, procedures, and related documents in support of equal employment opportunity.
Common job functions for Civil Rights/EEO professionals include, but are not limited to:
The following areas are covered by this exam:
Before taking this exam, test-takers should verify that they are familiar with the following resources and tools, and should ensure they have taken the appropriate training:
An HR professional in the area of Classification and Compensation (C&C) performs complex analytical staff work in order to recommend and implement organizational classification and compensation solutions that are in compliance with the state's Personnel Classification Plan. C&C professionals may assist in the development of policies and procedures, rules and regulations, employee recruitment and selection plans, staff training programs, and accurate duty statements.
Agency size and function guides the specific role and responsibility of a C&C professional. Key duties and responsibilities may include but are not limited to:
C&C professionals leverage several resources in order to be effective in the role. Resources include, but are not limited to:
An HR professional in the area of Performance Management assists in developing and fostering a culture where individuals and organizations work together for the purpose of achieving shared goals effectively. An effective performance management program supports the achievement of organizational outcomes through the successful performance of the employees. Effective performance management requires that employees have a clear understanding of how their specific job duties, expectations, and responsibilities contribute to organizational goals and outcomes. The Performance Management professional is also expected to provide guidance, and create related documents, in support of progressive discipline. Progressive discipline is a step-by-step approach designed to correct and improve employee performance that begins with clear expectations but may, in some circumstances, result in formal adverse action.Common job functions for Performance Management professionals include, but are not limited to:
The Health and Safety Officer (HSO) performs a wide range of duties depending on the agency size and function. The HSO is responsible for the organization’s injury and illness prevention plan and the general safety of all work locations.HSO key duties and responsibilities may include but are not limited to:
Before taking this exam, test-takers should be familiar with CalOSHA and have taken the required 40 hour Basic Safety Training (BST) course offered by the Department of General Services.
An HR professional in the area of Labor Relations is involved in representing State management under the Ralph C. Dills Act during all phases of the collecting bargaining process. Labor Relations professionals prepare for and participate in negotiations, impasse resolution, and contract administration activities.
Agency size and function guides the specific role and responsibility of a Labor Relations professional. Key duties and responsibilities may include but are not limited to:
Labor Relations professionals leverage several resources in order to be effective in their role. Resources include, but are not limited to:
An HR professional in the area of Recruitment and Selection (facilitates the recruitment and hiring of qualified candidates while adhering to relevant laws, rules, and guidelines. Striving to recruit, interview, hire and retain talent, Recruitment and Selection professionals participate in the continuous development of an aggressive recruitment strategy designed to market the State of California as an employer of choice. The Recruitment and Selection professional plays a vital part in helping hiring managers fill vacant positions with the right people.
The HR professional in Recruitment and Selection may also oversee the selection and hiring process. Recruitment and Selection professionals are expected to possess demonstrated skills in interview techniques, including chairing interview examinations and developing structured behavioral interviews. Principal functions of the HR Recruitment and Selection professional include, but are not limited to, a working knowledge of the concepts and methodology behind valid job analyses, analyzing duty statements, evaluating statistics commonly used in the selection process, and the appropriate use of employment tests. Common job functions may include, but are not limited to:
A human resource professional specializing in training plays a key role ensuring all staff has available and timely access to training and development programs that offer skills and knowledge to promote growth and behavior change. These professionals may identify, analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate training classes, while also administering training and development programs.
Agency size and function guides the specific roles and responsibilities of employees in their organization's training and development programs. Key duties and responsibilities may include but are not limited to:
Training professionals leverage multiple resources in order to be effective in their role. Resources include, but are not limited to:
The purpose of workforce and succession planning is to drive human capital by assisting departments in achieving measurable goals and objectives through a comprehensive workforce plan. Workforce and succession planning promotes responsible stewardship and effective management of human resources through planning, oversight, and strategic communications.
Workforce and succession planning are two different areas of human capital management that complement one another by using the same basic processes and tools necessary for pro-active, comprehensive, strategic planning to leverage a multigenerational and multicultural workforce. The California Human Resources Workforce Planning Model describes workforce planning as having the right number of people with the right skills working in the right jobs at the right time. It is the overall process of linking workforce strategies for recruitment, retention, development and training, and management to the achievement of desired business outcomes by using knowledge transfer and cross training strategies. Workforce planning encompasses the entire HR infrastructure, organizational design, culture, and strategic and risk management.
Succession planning relates to specific staffing strategies to ensure candidate ready pools are available for hire in leadership positions. Government leaders know the importance of succession planning for key leadership positions as a vital solution for continuity of government planning. Workforce and succession planning professionals are fluent in changes in labor markets so they can plan, prevent, and respond to workforce shortages. Subject matter experts are able to develop, implement, and measure solutions supporting workforce and succession planning. Common job functions may include, but are not limited to:
Workforce and succession planning professionals utilize a variety of resources and tools. Resources include, but are not limited to:
1. What is the CalHR HR Credentialing Program?
The CalHR HR Credentialing program allows journey-level human resources and EEO staff at state departments to be professionally recognized in their mastering of specific human resource areas (modules). This program is part of the Civil Service Improvement (CSI) effort and promotes a culture of continuous learning and development of current and future HR and EEO professionals.
2. What is the benefit for me to participate in the HR Credentialing program?
The program is designed to provide successful candidates with validation of their mastery and a way to communicate this to others. Successful completion will result in recognition at various levels, including state, departmental and co-worker level, for your mastery of the knowledge associated with each module. You will also be able to highlight successful completion of a module when competing for future career opportunities.
3. Is there any financial benefit to me to get certified?
There is no direct financial benefit to you upon passing a module.
4. How do I apply for an HR Credential?
You are encouraged to do a self-evaluation of your skills associated with the available modules and review
the credentialing program website that provides an overview of the modules. The intent of this program is that participants are journey-level with respect to the specific module. Based on your self-evaluation and meeting the application criteria, you can complete and submit a standard state application. Based on the timing of your application and the next available testing dates, your material will be evaluated to determine if it is complete and whether you will be invited to take the module exam. You do not need supervisory approval in order to apply for the exam, although you should obtain supervisory approval for the time required to apply and—if accepted—take the exam. If your application is incomplete, you will be contacted to provide further information.
5. What type of exam is it? How long will I have to complete it?
The exams consist of a series of multiple-choice items administered via computer. They vary in length, but are approximately 100 items. You will have two hours to receive the instructions and complete an exam. You will have the opportunity to flag items for later consideration and, time permitting, the option to review your answers before final submission.
6. How do I prepare for an exam?
If you are accepted to take an exam, we recommend that you closely review
the credentialing program website and review any associated module materials. Review reference materials associated with the content area that you have gathered through training and your experience, including but not limited to policy bulletins and manuals, regulations, and government codes.
7. How often will the exam be offered? Where is it given?
At this time CalHR anticipates offering the exam every six months. The exam is administered in-person at CalHR, 1515 S Street, North Building in Sacramento.
8. How was the exam developed?
Each module exam and pass point was developed by subject matter experts in the particular area. This includes staff from CalHR as well as departmental representatives who had topical expertise. The exams went through a multi-stage review process.
9. Will there be instructor- or web-based training associated with each of the modules?
At this time there is no instructor- or web-based training specifically designed to prepare individuals for the module exams. The HR Credentialing program is designed for state employees that have journey-level knowledge about the module topic. There is training available through CalHR related to certain content areas; please review
our training website.
10. Are there practice tests or study guides available?
At this time there are no practice tests or study guides available. Please refer to the
HR Credentialing website for additional information on the scope of each exam.
11. Will employees be given state time to apply and participate in the exams?
CalHR recommends that departments allow their employees a reasonable amount of time to complete the application and participate in the examination process. Test-takers should obtain supervisory approval for the time needed to prepare for and take the exam(s).
12. What happens if I pass the exam?
You will receive formal written notification that you have successfully passed the module exam; CalHR will also notify your department of your successful completion. In addition, there will be periodic formal ceremonies to announce and recognize those that have passed a module. CalHR will also develop a webpage highlighting the individuals (with their permission) that pass the various exam modules.
13. What happens if I don't pass the exam? When can I re-take it?
You will receive formal written notification that you did not pass the exam. There is no re-test period, meaning you can take the exam the next time it is offered.
14. If I don't pass, will I receive specific feedback on the areas I did poorly on?
At this time there are no plans to offer specific formal feedback on content areas that unsuccessful candidates need to improve upon. If you have questions, please contact the HR Credentialing administrator at
15. Is there going to be continuing education component to the successful completion of the module?
There is no required continuing education component at this time. CalHR will continue to investigate other educational opportunities for HR professionals, and we encourage you to visit
our training course catalog to identify additional classes to assist with your development.
16. Has there been any consideration to partnering with the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) in this credentialing program?
This program is designed for State of California employees that work in state human resource areas. At this time there is no relationship or partnership with SHRM. The goal of the HR Credentialing program is that it will grow and be recognized as a best practice within California civil service.
17. Upon successfully completing a module, will there be an advanced certification associated with that specific module?
Upon the successful launch of the initial eight modules, the project team will explore the next steps of the project such as an advanced certification program and additional modules being developed.
18. If an applicant takes and passes all HR Credentialing exams, will they be given some type of additional recognition?
Yes; CalHR will provide some type of "advanced" recognition to any candidate that takes and passes all module exams.
19. Will my department be notified if I don't pass an exam?
No. No notice will be provided to your department should you fail to pass an exam module.
Additional questions can be sent to
I'm not in a Human Resources or EEO Office. Can I still apply for the exam?
As long as you meet the eligibility requirements (three years
of experience performing duties in a state HR work environment or EEO program), you may apply for an exam. Please note that your training and experience should be of such a nature that it prepares you for the credentialing exam you are applying for.