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Which Certifications Help HR Professionals and Their Careers?

Which Certifications Help HR Professionals and Their Careers?

According to a study from Payscale, 34.2 percent of all HR professionals had at least one HR credential in 2018. With all of the changes in workplace norms and compliance after this past year, HR professionals are being asked to do more than ever.

Whether you’re just starting your HR career or are a seasoned professional, here are the most well-known HR certifications and who they’re best for.


Why Do HR Certifications Matter?

The field of human resources is ever-evolving. HR professionals need to keep up with ever-changing employment laws and industry best practices, while also managing day-to-day tasks. 

Depending on your industry, level of education, and experience, a certification can not only help enhance your organization, but it could also help boost your pay. According to Payscale, the amount of the pay boost varies significantly depending on the particular type of credential, industry, work location, and job level.

Additionally, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of human resources specialists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.” With this projected growth in the field, HR professionals will want to keep up with their continuing education in order to stay competitive and relevant. 


What Certifications Do HR Professionals Get?

Achieving these certifications usually requires a level of education and/or experience to even qualify. Additionally, individuals usually have to take a standardized exam, which individuals can study for by using official preparation materials purchased through signing up for the exam. 

The cost of these certifications and study materials can add up, so it’s important to weigh the benefits of each certification and choose the one that best fits your professional goals. Here are the different certifications from both SHRM and HRCI:


The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

SHRM offers two different certifications that applicants must qualify for based on HR experience and education level. The two levels are based on the level of HR leadership you’re interested in mastering. They also provide a tool on their page that helps determine which is right for you.

  1. SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)
  2. SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM -SCP)


HR Certification Institute (HRCI)

Certifications from HRCI are also education- and experience-based:

  1. Associate Professional in Human Resources®
    The aPHR certification is best for individuals who are just starting out in human resources and want to jumpstart their HR career with the basics and need-to-know information. According to HRCI, this certification is also great for non-HR managers who still manage employees.
  2. Associate Professional in Human Resources—International™
    The aPHRI is similar to the normal aPHR, but is meant for HR managers based outside of the United States.
  3. Professional in Human Resources®
    The PHR is a step above the aPHR, so this is great for intermediate HR professionals who want to gain more knowledge and start your journey toward becoming an HR expert. According to HRCI, the PHR certification is a great way to establish yourself in the HR field. It’s also the most popular certification, according to a survey from Payscale.
  4. Professional in Human Resources—California®
    According to HRCI, “By earning the PHRca, you demonstrate that you are an HR professional who has mastered the laws, regulations and HR management practices unique to the state of California.”
  5. Professional in Human Resources — International
    The credential demonstrates mastery of generally accepted technical and operational HR principles independent of geographic region. For practitioners based outside of the United States.
  6. Senior Professional in Human Resources®
    According to HRCI, “SPHR certification solidifies your credibility as an HR leader.” This is best for HR professionals who want to become experts in their field as a senior HR leader.
  7. Senior Professional in Human Resources—International
    Independent of geographic region, the credential complements local HR practices.
  8. Global Professional in Human Resources
    GPHR certification is best for HR professionals whose responsibilities expand multinationally.


How Else Can HR Professionals Brush Up on Their Knowledge?

If you've already gotten an HR certification but need to stay sharp or earn continuting education credits, there are plenty of free online resources to help.

BerniePortal's own BernieU courses offers convenient and comprehensive online HR courses that are suitable for HR veterans as well as newbies. Many of the courese are pre-approved for HRCI and SHRM CE credits, and all of the courses are completely free! 

Register Now for HR Hiring Guide CE Course

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