I am new to HR/Benefit Administration field, so the Professional in Human Resource (PHR) certification is very beneficial to my career.  This certification allows me to prove I am qualified and know how to perform my job successfully.  I am very thankful that I completed the IndySHRM study group.  It was very helpful to my success in passing the PHR exam.  I treated this class like a college course; reading the recommended chapters and taking the practice questions prior to class.  Doing this allowed me to get further clarifications on any material I didn’t already understand during the study class. 


To be successful in working full time and studying for this certification, I created a study schedule for the week.  This allowed me to break up the work and not get overwhelmed with the amount of material and information needed to learn for this test.  My study schedule was:  Sunday and Monday were spent reading the material for Tuesday’s class.  I would make notes at the same time as reading the chapter, so I could go back through the material without having to reread through the chapter.  I took a break on Wednesday, the day after class.   Thursday was spent making flash cards of the material that was discussed from Tuesday’s class.  This allowed time to also review the material from class and compare to the topics in the chapter.  Friday was also a rest day.  Saturday I would spend at least two hours going over the note cards, and notebook martial.  


The online learning system was also very helpful.  I was able to gain confidence in knowing the material while taking the practice tests.  It also allowed me to understand how to take the test and what to look for in the questions.  I would use the online system about once a week, starting about a month prior to taking the test.  Because the material online did not change, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just remembering the answers but actually understanding why the certain answers were correct.


Having to use two websites for signing up to take the PHR exam and then scheduling the actual exam was a little confusing, but only because it was a new and different process.  I went to the testing center a few days prior to taking the test, to make sure it was easy to find and estimate the traffic, and ensure parking would not be an issue.  The testing center was easy to find and very quiet, which allowed ease in taking the test. 


About the Author:  Mary Feeney, C.H.E.S, PHR graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Health Science.  While at Ball State, she was an active member and a board member of Eta Sigma Gamma, the honorary fraternity for Health Science majors.  She started her career as a Health Screening Specialist at Spectrum Health Systems, gaining experience with a variety of wellness program structures and health screening services.  She became a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) in April 2008 and an active member in the Indiana Society of Public Health Educators (InSOPHE), as their President – Elect, President and Past President.  Currently she is serving as the Membership Director for a two year term. 

 After partnering with Goodwill Industries as an onsite wellness coordinator, Mary continued her career as an employee of Goodwill Industries and expanded her career and role at Goodwill to include benefit administration.  She received her PHR Certification in December 2013 and is currently continuing her education by earning PHR certification credits.