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Chartered Professionals
in Human Resources

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.

COVID – 19 Update – NKE May 29, 2020

It is important to note that the National Knowledge Exam (NKE), administered by CPHR Canada, has not been cancelled or postponed. CPHR Canada is monitoring the situation carefully and is working closely with their exam vendor to determine contingency plans. With the exam still two and a half months away, there is time to evaluate a number of options. At present, CPHR BC & Yukon is still accepting registrations for the May 29 NKE. The registration deadline remains March 30. The cancellation deadline (with full refund) remains March 30.

Should the NKE be postponed, we will notify registrants of the new date and provide options for those who are unable to write on the new date. As we know more, we will continue to update exam registrants.

NKE Educational Requirement starting 2021

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 2-7).

Please note: until January 2021, you can apply to write the NKE in June or Fall of 2019-2020 without taking any courses. 

Starting January 1, 2021, you will 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 CPHR BC & Yukon.

If you have successfully completed any courses that are equivalent to any of the listed courses offered, you may be able to transfer credits. Further information will be available in the coming months.

Click here to read CPHR BC & Yukon’s full announcement about the new educational requirements for the NKE.

Exam Dates and Locations

Exam Date Registration Deadline
May 29, 2020 March 30, 2020
October 30, 2020 August 31, 2020

Exam sessions are held in many communities based on demand such as: Burnaby, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George, Victoria, Vancouver and Whitehorse. If you are in a remote location or traveling out of province or country, there may be an option to write closer to where you will be on exam day. Please contact the CPHR Registrar.

Registration and Fees

If you are registering for the NKE, as an active member for the first time, click here. Registration includes:

  • $60 CPHR Application Fee
  • $525 NKE Registration Fee

If you have already paid the CPHR application fee, click here to register for the exam only. You must be a CPHR BC & Yukon member to register for the exam.

If you are unable to register online, the manual registration forms are below:

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 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

Effective as of the November 2014 exam session, 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. This includes the time needed to receive exams, verify all exam documents have been returned, as well as the time to process and score exams. 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: