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HR Certifications You Must Know About

Published on July 6th, 2023

The world of human resources is constantly evolving. New technologies, regulations, and workplace trends are emerging all the time, and HR professionals need to stay up-to-date in order to be effective. One of the best ways to do this is to earn HR certifications and complete relevant courses.

HR certifications demonstrate your knowledge and skills to employers. They can also help you advance your career and earn a higher salary. There are many different HR certifications available, so you can choose one that aligns with your interests and career goals.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most important HR certifications and courses that you should know about. We will also provide tips on how to choose the right certifications for you.

What are HR Certifications?

HR certifications are professional credentials that demonstrate your knowledge and skills in human resources. They are awarded by professional organizations after you have passed a rigorous exam. HR certifications can help you advance your career, earn a higher salary, and become a more valuable asset to your employer.

Obtaining an HR certification demonstrates your commitment to continuous learning and professional development, while also signaling to employers and colleagues that you possess the necessary qualifications to excel in various HR roles. These certifications cover a wide range of HR disciplines, including but not limited to recruitment, employee relations, compensation and benefits, training and development, and HR strategy.

HR certifications often require candidates to meet specific educational requirements, accumulate relevant work experience, and successfully pass rigorous examinations. They are a testament to an individual's mastery of HR best practices, industry standards, and legal regulations.

Why are HR Certifications Important?

  • Enhances Career Opportunities: Holding an HR certification can significantly enhance your career prospects. A study by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) found that 72% of HR professionals who are certified believe that their certification has helped them advance their careers.
  • Demonstrates Competence: HR certifications validate your expertise and competence in the HR field. According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 94% of HR professionals with a certification believe it has increased their credibility within the industry.
  • Certifications can boost your salary: According to a study by PayScale, HR professionals with certifications earn an average of 12% more than those without certifications. This is because certifications show employers that you are committed to your career and that you have the skills and knowledge to do your job well.
  • Provides Networking Opportunities: Certifications often grant access to exclusive professional networks and communities. According to SHRM, certified HR professionals are more likely to engage in professional networking activities and connect with industry peers.

Benefits of HR Certifications

HR certifications offer a number of benefits including:

  • Enhanced credibility and recognition within the HR industry.
  • Expanded career opportunities and advancement potential.
  • Increased earning potential and higher salary prospects.
  • Demonstrated competence and expertise in HR practices.
  • Access to exclusive professional networks and communities.
  • Ongoing professional development and up-to-date knowledge.
  • Adaptation to changing industry standards and regulations.
  • Improved job security and marketability.
  • Recognition as a dedicated HR professional committed to excellence.
  • Increased confidence in tackling complex HR challenges.

When to Consider HR Certifications?

There are many factors to consider when deciding when to get an HR certification. Here are a few of the most important:

  • Your career goals. If you are looking to advance your career in HR, then an HR certification can be a valuable investment. Certifications can help you gain a competitive edge in the job market, improve your chances of getting promoted, and increase your earning potential.
  • Your experience level. If you are new to the field of HR, then an entry-level certification may be a good option for you. This will help you demonstrate your skills and knowledge to employers and show that you are committed to your career. If you have more experience in HR, then you may want to consider a more advanced certification.
  • Your personal goals. If you are looking to learn more about a specific area of HR, then you may want to consider a certification that focuses on that area. For example, if you are interested in employee relations, then you may want to consider a certification in that area.
  • The cost of certification. HR certifications can be expensive, so it is important to factor in the cost when making your decision. There are many different ways to finance your certification, such as employer reimbursement, scholarships, and loans.
  • Career Transition. If you are looking to switch careers and enter the HR field from a different industry or profession, earning an HR certification can help you bridge the knowledge and skill gap. 

Types of HR Certifications

SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

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The SHRM-CP (Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional) is an entry-level certification offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). It is designed for HR professionals with at least one year of experience in the field.

Eligibility Requirements for SHRM-CP

  • Intended for individuals performing general HR/HR-related duties or those pursuing a career in Human Resource Management.
  • Candidates are not required to hold an HR title.
  • No degree or previous HR experience is necessary to apply.
  • Basic working knowledge of HR practices and principles is recommended.
  • Degree from an Academically Aligned program is recommended.

Exam Fees

Fee TypeSHRM Member PriceNon-member Price
Early-Bird Exam Fee$335$435
Standard Exam Fee$410$510
Student Exam Fee$149$209
Corporate Exam Fee$270$270

 

 

 

 

 

Exam Details 

  • Two types of multiple-choice questions: knowledge-based items and situational judgment items.
  • Knowledge-based items assess factual information and understanding.
  • Situational judgment items assess judgment and decision-making skills.
  • Approximately half of the items allocated to behavioral competency clusters and half to HR knowledge domains.
  • 24 field-test items gather data on question effectiveness and are not part of the candidate's score.
  • Exam duration: Four hours (including 3 hours and 40 minutes of testing time).
  • Total of 134 questions (80 knowledge items and 54 situational-judgment items).
  • Computer-based testing at authorized testing centers or remotely through live remote proctoring.

Certification Span

Recertification is required every three years from your initial certification. You can choose to earn 60 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) or retake the exam to maintain your certification.

SHRM-SCP

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The SHRM-SCP (Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional) is an advanced-level certification offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). It is designed for HR professionals with at least three years of experience in the field.

Eligibility Requirements for SHRM-SCP

  • Minimum 3 years of work experience performing strategic-level HR or HR-related duties.
  • OR, SHRM-CP credential holders who have held the credential for at least 3 years and are working in, or transitioning to, a strategic-level role.
  • Candidates for the SHRM-SCP certification are not required to hold an HR title.
  • A degree is not mandatory to apply for the certification.
  • Applicants must demonstrate a minimum of 1,000 hours per calendar year (Jan. - Dec.) devoted to strategic-level HR or HR-related work.

Exam Fees

Fee TypeSHRM Member PriceNon-member Price
Early-Bird Exam Fee$335$435
Standard Exam Fee$410$510
Student Exam Fee$149$209
Corporate Exam Fee$270$270

 

 

 

 

 

Exam Details

  • The SHRM-SCP exam consists of two types of multiple-choice questions: knowledge-based items and situational judgment items.
  • The exam is four hours in length, including 3 hours and 40 minutes of testing time.
  • It consists of 134 questions: 80 knowledge items and 54 situational judgment items.
  • There are 24 field-test items included, which do not count toward the candidate's score but gather data on question effectiveness.
  • The exam is conducted via computer-based testing.
  • Candidates can choose to take the exam in-person at an authorized testing center or remotely from home through live remote proctoring.

Certification Span

Recertification is required every three years from your initial certification. You can choose to earn 60 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) or retake the exam to maintain your certification.

Professional in Human Resources (PHR)

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The Professional in Human Resources (PHR) is an entry-level certification offered by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). It is designed for HR professionals with at least one year of experience in the field.

The PHR certification is designed for HR professionals who are involved in program implementation, have tactical and operational responsibilities, and focus on individual HR functions rather than strategic decisions. It signifies that an individual possesses the knowledge and skills necessary to handle the operational aspects of HR management effectively.

Eligibility Requirements for PHR

To be eligible for the PHR certification, the applicant should possess one of the following:

  • One year of experience in a professional-level HR position and a Master's degree or higher.
  • Two years of experience in a professional-level HR position and a Bachelor's degree.
  • Four years of experience in a professional-level HR position.

Exam Fees: $395.00 + Application Fee: $100.00

Exam Details

  • Exam Time: 2 hours (plus 30 minutes of administration time)
  • Exam Length: 90 scored questions + 25 pretest questions
  • The exam is computer-based.
  • It is administered at Pearson VUE testing centers.
  • Alternatively, candidates can take the exam remotely from their home or office using OnVUE.

Certification Span: To maintain the validity of your PHR certification, you are required to either earn 60 HR recertification credits within a three-year period or retake the exam. The certification remains valid for three years from the date of testing.

Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD)

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The Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) is a credential offered by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) for professionals in the field of workplace learning and performance.  It is a comprehensive certification that evaluates a professional's expertise and practical application across a wide range of talent development capabilities.

Eligibility Requirements for CPTD

To be eligible for the CPTD program, candidates must have:

  • At least five years of professional work experience in the talent development or related fields.
  • Completed 60 hours of professional development in talent development within the last five years.

Alternatively, CPTD candidates must have:

  • At least four years of professional work experience in the talent development field or related fields.
  • Have earned the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) certification and be in good standing.

Exam Fees: $975 (members) and $1350 (non-members)

Exam Details

  • Exam time: 3 hours
  • Exam format: Multiple choice questions and case management questions will be used.
  • The exam is computer-based.
  • Testing centers are conveniently located worldwide.
  • Alternatively, the exam can be taken in a secure location of your choosing through remote proctoring.

Certification Span: To maintain the CPTD® credentials, recertification is required every three years. To recertify, CPTDs must earn a minimum of 60 recertification points within that three-year period. 

Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) Certification

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The Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) certification is a professional designation offered by the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA). It is designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of HR professionals in Canada.

Eligibility Requirements for CHRP

  • Sufficient Foundation of HR Discipline-Specific Knowledge: To qualify for the CHRP designation, applicants must demonstrate a solid understanding of HR discipline-specific knowledge.
  • Coursework Requirement: Completion of specific coursework is necessary to meet the HR discipline-specific knowledge requirement. This coursework serves as the primary means to fulfill the eligibility criteria.
  • Pre-Requisite for CHRP Knowledge Exam: The coursework requirement must be satisfied before an individual becomes eligible to register for the CHRP Knowledge Exam. It is a prerequisite for exam registration.
  • Confirmation by HRPA: The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) is responsible for confirming whether an individual has met the coursework requirement. Only after HRPA verifies the completion of the required coursework, can an individual proceed to register for the CHRP Knowledge Exam.

Exam Fees: Course approval for out-of-province coursework (per course) $90.00 Per Course

Exam Details

  • The exam format consists of 175 multiple-choice questions.
  • The questions in the exam are presented in a multiple-choice format.
  • Candidates will need to select the most appropriate answer from the provided options.
  • The exam evaluates candidates' understanding and proficiency in HR-related areas and topics.
  • Successful completion of the exam is a requirement for achieving the CHRP certification.

Certification Span: To maintain your CHRP designation, professionals are required to maintain an active membership with HRPA that is in good standing throughout the recertification period. By meeting these requirements, HR professionals can ensure the continued validity and recognition of their CHRP designation.

Which is the Best HR Certification?

While we have already listed the best HR certifications for career advancement, ultimately, the best HR certification for you depends on your individual career aspirations, geographic location, and personal preferences. It's important to research and consider the specific requirements, curriculum, recognition, and relevance of each certification to determine which aligns best with your goals and objectives. Additionally, it can be beneficial to seek advice from HR professionals, mentors, or industry experts who can provide insights based on their experiences and knowledge of the HR field.

The Bottom Line

Remember that choosing the right certification or course is a personal decision that should align with your career objectives and aspirations. Consider factors such as program content, accreditation, industry recognition, and the time and resources required for completion.

Continuing education and professional development are crucial for HR professionals to stay competitive in an evolving field. Whether you pursue certification or enroll in a course, the investment in your HR education will pay dividends, providing you with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in your HR career and make a meaningful impact in the organizations you serve.

Visit HireQuotient if you are an HR professional looking to widen your recruitment toolkit. With our suite of tools for skills-based assessments, talent sourcing and video interviewing, you can rest assured and hire the right person for your organization. 

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Authors

author

Radhika Sarraf

Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.

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