Salary Averages for HR Leaders by Human Resources Certification Type

Which HR certification is right for you? Join our free webinar called Insider Secrets: How to Ace the HR Certification Exam to learn more. 

In 2008, the percent boost in pay associated with having any HR certification was 17 percent. While SHRM certifications didn’t come in until 2015, last year, the percent boost in pay associated with having an HR certification was 31.6 percent. In short, all certification types lead to a pay boost for those holding the certificate. The differentiation comes in with level of education, experience, and position. 

Does having an HR certification increase your likelihood of getting a bump in your salary levels? According to the data, salary increases happen as HR professionals gain work experience and pass their HR certification exams. But which ones offer the most salary opportunities and increases? This is what we’re diving in to find out.

 

HR Salaries by HR Certification Types 

 

According to Payscale’s report, “HR Certifications: How They Impact Pay and Career Trajectory,” HR certifications positively impact salaries and promotions for HR professionals with some clarifications. Overall, the report found that higher level HR professionals are more likely to have an HR certificate. While only 13.2 percent of HR administrators have at least one credential, 35.5 percent of HR managers are certified and 51.1 percent of Vice Presidents of HR are certified.

Along with higher salaries, where you are right now in your career impacts the importance of certifications to your career trajectory. HR certification positively influences an HR professional’s chances of being promoted at every job level, however, they matter the most the earlier we are in our careers. At the HR assistant level: of certified professionals in this entry-level role, 82 percent report they have been promoted in the last five years, versus just 68 percent of those who aren’t certified. HR credentials also increase the chances that an HR director would receive a promotion (we saw a 25 percent increase in odds of promotion at this job title level).

 

Salary Range for HR Professionals with HRCI Certification

 

The average salaries for positions like SPHR and PHR are different because the requirements for each of these certifications are different. SPHR holders tend to hold management positions and have direct reports, however the average increase in salary is higher for PHR holders because this certification is typically earned early in one’s career and there is more room to grow into higher level positions. 

 

Salary Range for HR Professionals with PHR Certification

 

The SPHR salary average does go up with certification, but the PHR salary increase percentage is higher than that of the SPHR. The average HR leader with a PHR certification makes anywhere from $57,000-$127,000 per year. The midpoint for a PHR certified HR pro is $72,000. Keep in mind that HR professionals who are eligible to take the PHR certification exam have at least two years of HR experience. 

 

Most popular job titles who have PHR Certification include: 1) VP of HR, 2) HR Director, 3) HR Business Partner, and 4) HR Generalist. 

 

Salary Range for HR Professionals with SPHR Certification

 

The SPHR salary average does go up with certification, but the PHR salary increase percentage is higher than that of the SPHR. Certified HR pros with a SPHR have salary levels from $68,000-$212,000 on average. Certification definitely helps you get a higher salary. It’s not always instant but progressive and over time compared to non-certified HR counterparts. 

Most popular job titles who have SPHR Certification include: 1) HRIS Managers, 2) VP of HR, 3) Assistant HR Manager, 4) Benefits Supervisor. You can see the job titles are vast and cover a wide range of HR roles and scopes. 

 

 

Salary Range for HR Professionals with SHRM Certification

 

The same applies to the SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP certifications. The requirements to take the SHRM-SCP include more education and experience, as well as experience managing direct reports and leadership on an executive level, so the SHRM-SCP salaries are going to be higher than SHRM-CP salaries, but the pay increases based on certification will be slightly lower. 

 

Salary Range for HR professionals with SHRM-CP Certification

 

SHRM-CP holders are more likely to be HR professionals who implement policies and strategies, serve as point of contact for staff and stakeholders, deliver HR services, and perform operational HR functions, which means they have more room for upward movement than more senior counterparts. HR pros who have a SHRM-CP certification can expect an increase in pay. The average salary is $69,000 per year with an SHRM-CP certified professional in the 90th salary percentile to have a $155,000 salary and the 10% to earn $38,000 per year. 

 

What are the most common job titles for those who are certified with the SHRM-CP? These include: 1) President, 2) Executive Director of HR, 3) Employee Development Specialist and 4) Medical Office Manager. Having an HR certification doesn’t lock you into a specific role. It’s valuable for professionals in all areas of business including non-profit executive directors and even office managers.

 

Salary Range for HR professionals with SHRM-SCP Certification

 

The requirements to take the SHRM-SCP include more education and experience, as well as experience managing direct reports and leadership on an executive level, so the SHRM-SCP salaries are going to be higher than SHRM-CP salaries, but the pay increases based on certification will be slightly lower. SHRM-SCP certified professionals have the highest level of experience and or education requirements. The certifications with SHRM are newer than HRCI which could account for the 90% percentile being lower than HRCI’s highest HR certification of SPHR. Their salary ranges vary from $25,000 to $200,000 a year with the average salary of a certified SHRM-SCP certified pro coming in at $94,000. 

HR professionals who have a SCP certified have more HR work experience and their job titles are more senior. We’ve listed the most common job titles for the SHRM-SCP including: 1) VP of Compensation and Benefits, 2) Administrative Officer, 3) Associate Partner, and 4) Teacher at a College or University. 

 

Taking the HR certification exam, whether with HRCI or SHRM, is arguably one of the most pivotal points in your HR career, especially when you consider that HR certification can increase your income level by as much as 58%. Employers need certification credentials like the SPHR, PHR, SHRM-SCP, and SHRM-CP to give them peace of mind that you are knowledgeable and qualified to work in the highly specific area of human resources and workplace planning strategy.

Which HR certification is right for you? Join our free webinar called Insider Secrets: How to Ace the HR Certification Exam to learn more. 

 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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