Professional certification is a big deal in the human resources industry. Earning a human resources certification shows your dedication to professional excellence. It can also mean a higher salary, more job opportunities, better titles, and increased responsibility throughout your HR career.
More so, getting certified proves to employers that you have the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in your HR role.
When it comes to highly-respected organizations in the human resources field, there are two main certifying bodies:
- Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI)
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
You can’t go wrong with either of these organizations, but you should know which one has the right certification for your career path.
Major human resources certifying bodies
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, candidates with HR certification and a college degree have better job prospects than their peers.
In fact, according to Anna Smith, a human resource director with more than 20 years of experience, “Many human resources jobs often include ‘an HR Certification as a preferred. Having that certification will help show recruiters that you are committed to your career in human resources.”
Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI)
HRCI has been advancing the human resources profession for 40 years. They develop and administer certification exams that test applicant’s knowledge of the HR field.
According to the HCRI, nearly all of the Fortune 500 companies have an HRCI-certified leader within their organization. Moreover, HRCI certifications are globally recognized certifications, with HRCI-certified professionals in more than 100 countries.
HRCI currently offers eight certifications for professionals at every stage of their HR career, including their most popular:
- Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR)
- Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
- Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
Each exam has a distinct set of education and experience requirements you will need to meet in order to qualify to sit for certification. For example:
- Those new to a career in HR would want to pursue the aPHR, which only requires a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Those looking to earn a Professional in Human Resources certification (PHR) need some work experience in human resources, which varies on your education level.
- Candidates with a bachelor’s degree only need two years of experience, while those without need at least four years of HR experience.
Depending on the exam, fees vary from $350 to $495, plus a $100 application charge.
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
SHRM has been dedicated to creating better workplaces for over 65 years. It boasts over 300,000 members in 165 countries and is currently one of the largest HR organizations in the world.
The SHRM boasts two globally recognized certifications:
- SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP), for early- and mid-career professionals
- SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), for those at a senior-level
These exams focus on key HR competencies and specialized skill sets for more complex HR functions.
SHRM certification exams have different education and professional experience requirements. For example:
- Professionals seeking the SHRM-CP who have earned a bachelor’s degree must have at least one year of HR experience.
- Candidates with less than a bachelor’s degree must have a minimum of three years’ experience in an HR role.
- Those looking to earn a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SHRM-SCP) certification are required to have significantly more education and work experience to qualify to sit for the exam.
Both SHRM certification exams cost $300 for SHRM members and $400 for nonmembers.
Preparing for certification
Regardless of the certifying body or certification, you must adequately prepare before stepping into the exam room. Consider this, pass rates for HRCI and SHRM exams are as low as 50 percent!
Online prep courses, like those offered by ed2go, are specifically designed to help you prepare for your certification exam.
Some benefits of ed2go HR training courses are:
- Overseen by experts in the human resources field
- Designed for busy, working professionals who need to access content on their schedule
- Completed entirely online
Regardless of your current role — recent grad at your first job, career changer, or experienced manage — keep your eye on professional HR certification! There’s no better time to take the next step in your HR career.
Start your prepping for the exam today!
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