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National Knowledge Exam

The National Knowledge Exam® (NKE) assesses one’s comprehension of the academic knowledge related to professional competencies across nine functional areas of human resources as outlined in the CPHRTM Competency Framework. Find out more about the NKE content and structure.


As of January 2021, CPHR BC & Yukon will be adding a new educational requirement that must be completed prior to writing the National Knowledge Exam. This requirement is applicable unless the individual is covered by another eligible path (Pathways 3-5).

You will also need to prove that you meet the educational requirements in order to write the NKE; therefore, if you plan to enroll in the June 2021 NKE, please ensure that you have successfully completed all nine accredited HR courses offered by Captus Press.

These courses are:

  • Accounting and Financial Management

  • Human Resources Management

  • Industrial Relations

  • Organizational Behaviour

  • Occupational Health and Safety

  • Recruitment and Selection

  • Strategic Compensation

  • Strategic Human Resources Planning

  • Training and Development

If you have successfully completed any courses that are equivalent to any of the listed courses offered, you may be able to transfer credits.

Captus Press has created a PLAR equivalency database that lists courses from post-secondary institutions across BC and Canada that are equivalent to the CPHR Canada required courses. You can access this database to self-assess.

If your coursework is not in the pre-approved database you would need to apply for a Prior Learning Assessment (PLAR) through Captus Press. There are fees associated with this assessment and you can contact Captus Press directly for more details. Once Captus Press performs your assessment then you need to notify CPHR BC & Yukon of the results.


Exam Dates and Locations

Exam DateRegistration Deadline

May 26 or 27, 2021April 2, 2021

November 3 or 4, 2021September 10, 2021


Registration and Fees

To register for the National Knowledge Exam you must be a member of CPHR BC & Yukon. For more info on how to become a member, visit our membership page.

If you are already a member, and have completed the course requirements you can register for the exam ONLINE. Online is the quickest and easiest way to register for the exam.


If you are unable to register online than you can submit the manual forms that can be found below to for processing.

Registration includes:

  • $60 CPHR Application Fee

  • $525 NKE Registration Fee

Please note: CPHR BC & Yukon fees such as the NKE registration fee are non-refundable. See below for information on exam deferral.

Exam Centre & FAQs

If you are looking for resources to support you to prepare for the NKE, visit the Exam Centre. If you have further questions, start with the CPHR FAQ.


Exam Accommodation

Do you require an accommodation to complete the exam? If yes, please complete the NKE Accommodation Request Form and submit to at the time of exam registration. Please download the NKE Accommodation handbook for more details.


Exam Day

Permissible and Non-Permissible Items

A scan of each writers’ workspace and surrounding area will be conducted by the proctor prior to the start of your exam to ensure none of the following non-permitted items are present. This may be conducted with a cell phone with a front facing camera. The cell phone will be required to be removed from the testing area once the scan is complete.

Permitted items

  • *Government issued photo identification

  • *Computer or laptop

  • *Mirror or reflective surface to show the proctor your monitor to ensure there are no notes or writing attached to the monitor.

  • Water in a clear, unmarked container

*Required items

Non-permitted items

  • “scrap paper”

  • Writing utensils

  • Notebooks, textbooks or other reference materials

  • Electronics (besides computer being used to write exam; this includes items such as cell phones, tablets, watches (any kind), headphones)

  • Bags, purses

  • Food

  • Visitors

Exam Deferrals

Registrants may defer writing the exam to the next sitting. Please note the deferral policy before you submit a CPHR Exam Deferral Form.


Exam Attempts

Candidates who fail the NKE three times are required to wait a full year before attempting the NKE for a fourth, and final, time. A fifth attempt may be permitted following a review process by your provincial HR association.


Exam Results

Exam results are emailed approximately eight weeks after each exam session. It also allows time for the results to be reviewed and the quality of the exam verified.

Overall scores are reported as scaled scores to ensure consistent reporting of scores between different versions of the NKE. It is achieved through mathematically converting raw scores into scaled scores with the passing scaled score always equal to 500. Find out more about exam scoring.


Exam Exemption

Depending on your educational credentials, you may be eligible for an exemption from writing the exam. Please refer to The CPHR Path for more information.

Upon successful completion of the NKE, you have 10 years to complete the remaining steps if you are following Pathway 1 or 15  years to complete the remaining steps if you are following Pathway 2  of The CPHR Paths in order to earn the CPHR designation:

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