Human Capital Leaders in Education Certification Program

Recruit, Grow & Retain Top Talent

Great teachers and leaders play a critical role in preparing students for success in the future. Every student should have equitable access to educators who can help them develop 21st-century skills to respond to challenges in college, careers, and life.

The Professional Human Capital Leader in Education (pHCLE) certification program is rooted in professional standards that outline the competencies that human capital leaders should master:

  • Develop comprehensive human capital management systems (HCMS)
  • Manage key human capital decisions, in areas such as workforce planning, recruitment, hiring, placement, compensation, promotion, and professional development
  • Balance strategic and transactional HR practices
  • Build a cohesive HCMS through branding and communication
  • Maximize the use of data for continuous improvement
  • Adhere to relevant federal laws and regulations impacting education organizations
  • Implement the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and other state and federal policies impacting human capital in education
Human Capital Leaders in Education Standards

The HCLE standards, designed specifically for Pre-K–12 education, were informed by feedback from hundreds of educators from across the country, including AASPA and its state affiliates. These standards focus on four main categories: Performance Excellence, Strategic Staffing, Talent Management & Development, and Culture & Total Rewards.

Download a copy of the HCLE Standards.

Assessment-based Certification

Through a variety of learning, participants acquire a broad understanding of the key components of the human capital management system (HCMS), apply their learning to examine their own HCMS, and connect with other educators to expand their professional network. This professional learning can also prepares participants to take the pHCLE certification exam.


pHCLE professional learning, which is aligned with the HCLE standards, is available in two learning options:

  1. Blended Cohorts: pHCLE Blended Cohorts include 20 hours, or three days, of simultaneous learning as a cohort via in-person learning and 44 hours of independent online learning, for a total seat time of 64 hours.

  2. Virtual Cohorts: In pHCLE Virtual Cohorts, learning is completed independently online and virtual class time is used to process and extend the learning. The total seat time for both the virtual class meetings and independent online learning is 64 hours.

The pHCLE certification exam is a proctored, online exam comprised of multiple-choice questions directly aligned to the Human Capital Leaders in Education Professional Standards. The cost for AASPA members is $275 and $295 for non-AASPA members. There are four testing windows each year. 

Grow and Recertify

To gain recertification, every three years, individuals will share how they have grown and contributed to the field. Below are the resources and steps necessary for Recertification.

Upcoming pHCLE Learning Opportunities


Upcoming pHCLE Certification Exam Opportunities

The pHCLE certification exam is a proctored, online exam that can be completed from most devices with an Internet connection and a web camera, such as a personal laptop or desktop computer. Please note that the exam CANNOT be taken on an iPad or Chromebook. The 2.5-hour exam is comprised of multiple-choice questions directly aligned with the Human Capital Leaders in Education Professional Standards. You are able to schedule the date and time of your exam during the testing window that you select. Four pHCLE testing windows are offered each year. Before the testing window opens, you will receive an email with instructions on how to schedule your individual testing time.

Upcoming Testing Windows

March 1-26, 2021
June 1-25, 2021
September 1-24, 2021
December 1-17, 2021

Register Today!

Refunds will not be given to individuals who fail to complete the pHCLE exam during their selected window. Transferring to a different testing window will be permitted once upon request. Requests must be made in writing to before the last day of your current testing window.

Current pHCLE Certification Holders