More than 20 Fort Leonard Wood Department of Defense civilian human resources employees have taken the first step to becoming certified specialists.

The employees completed a six-week professional HR course designed to prepare them for their certification exam.

"This was an outstanding course that will definitely benefit all HR professionals in becoming more proficient in their jobs," said Noah Stevens, Fort Leonard Wood Directorate of Human Resource's retirement services officer, who participated in the course.

Missouri State University's affiliate Management Development Institute, based in Springfield, Missouri, provided the PHR preparatory training.

Dr. Glenn Pace, faculty member and professor at MSU, taught the course.

"The training presented to the students consisted of six separate topics that comprise the Human Resources field: Management and international management; compensation and benefits; labor relations; human development (training); staffing and retention; and safety and security," Pace said. "Each participant was given more than 200 multiple choice questions to review as part of the preparation process."

Pace said this is his first time teaching this course at Fort Leonard Wood.

"I have actually taught this prep course for certification since 1991 but this is my first time here," Pace said. "There are many, many parts to HR that outside trainers need to come in and teach."

According to the Fort Leonard Wood Work Force Development Office, Pace has more than 30 years of experience in PHR, and 95 percent of his students pass the PHR exam.

"The students will be prepared for the national examination which is coordinated through the Society for Human Resources Management," Pace said. "Once the certification is achieved, individuals will use the type of certification after their name in correspondence."

Being certified sets HR employees apart from their peers.

"The designation separates those in the HR industry with certification from those without certification," Pace said. "In the private business sector, many people with certification are paid more than those without."

The work force development office works to help Fort Leonard Wood employees improve their skills.

"Having a professional certification is not only important for the individual and their self-esteem, it is important for Garrison and the Army," said Vincent Carlton, Work Force Development specialist. "It is our job to ensure Garrison has the most knowledgeable and professional staff to support our customers, the community, and the Army."

Pace remarked about his first time training DOD civilians.

"I am proud of the students because of what they do for the military. These people are really focused and had a very good understanding of most of the six topics," Pace said. "Therefore, since the certification exams take place in December and January, they told me they will form study groups and continue to prepare right up to the test dates."