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 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 Study Group Opportunities

The pHCLE Study Group is designed to assist individuals who are interested in sitting for the pHCLE Certification and who have already completed in-depth professional development geared towards the (HCLE) Professional Standards; Performance Excellence, Strategic Staffing, Talent Management & Development and Culture & Total Rewards. These individuals could be people that had gone through the 64 hour training previously or those who already attend and participate in various other professional development activities that develop mastery in human capital leadership. This program is designed to assist in studying for the pHCLE exam. 

Virtual Study Group

Virtual study group includes four 90-minute virtual sessions, facilitated by trainers who have both completed their pHCLE and who use the Human Capital Leaders in Education (HCLE) Professional Standards in their current organizations. Participants will receive links to all recorded sessions, a copy of the Certification Reading Reference Guide and instructions on additional independent learning. Our next sessions and topics are scheduled for August 2021.

August 4, 2021 - 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm CT - Strategic Staffing
  • Supply and demand analysis
  • Job analysis and job description creation
  • Internal and external recruiting practices
  • Staffing models and organization structures
August 11, 2021 - 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm CT - Talent Management and Development
  • Difference in onboarding and orientation and the importance of employee-centric processes
  • Andragogy and its role in designing coaching, mentoring, training and professional development programs
  • Managing employee career development and transition
  • Due process and the seven tests for just cause
August 18, 2021 - 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm CT - Culture and Total Rewards
  • Role of engagement and motivation in employee productivity and behavior
  • Developing total rewards strategy that includes experiential/intangible and financial/tangible rewards for both individuals and groups
  • Compensation systems evaluation process including job evaluation and benchmarking
  • Process and importance of pay equity
August 25, 2021 - 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm CT - Performance Excellence
  • Organization and HR strategy including vision, mission and goals
  • Analysis tools for understanding current state such as SWOT, PEST, risk, feasibility, disparate impact
  • Process improvement tools and methodologies
  • Communications plans and audiences
  • Ethical decision-making principles and appliable employment laws
In Person Study Group
Hosted by Oregon School Personnel Association (OSPA), Wednesday July 21, 2021 - Friday, July 23, 2021 in Portland, Oregon, this course is for individuals who are interested in sitting for the pHCLE Certification and who have already completed in-depth professional development geared towards the HCLE Professional Standards. This course will be offered virtually and in-person, convenienty located near Portland, Oregon International Airport. Click here for more information.
In-Depth Professional Learning

We are currently in the process of redesigning and developing professional development for those interested in a deep dive into the HCLE standards. These opportunities will be provided both virtually as well as in person. Be looking for more information in October 2021.


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.The cost for AASPA members is $295 and $395 for non-AASPA members.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
August 9 - September 24, 2021
December 1-17, 2021

Register Today!

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.

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

pHCLE Crediental Guide 

View Guide