Having an HR certification was a differentiator in my early HR career and in those moments that I needed clarity or a base on which to build a strategy, program or plan, I found the foundation of my HR certification important. It is something I have drawn from and built on in a variety of circumstances. An HR certification is critical to furthering of the HR profession because it arms new HR leaders with knowledge and resources quickly to help them tackle the kind of trial by fire and professional chaos we choose to work on each and every day.
The Value of HR Certification
Having an HR certification provides a structural foundation for our careers. That foundation isn’t always apparent as we learn, evolve and grow but it’s there in the background giving us the educational and resource base we needed to flourish in our career and the confidence to defend and support our business decisions.
Because it is our career and our certification, it’s not necessarily the responsibility of our employer to cover the expense of maintaining our HR certification credentials. But I would certainly hope that my employer would value my credentials and expertise. As an independent consultant, I have to make the personal decision to invest in my own future as I am both the business and the employee.
In the U.S. currently, 12% of professionals operating in the fields of Talent Management (including recruiting) and HR hold a certification (145,000 from HRCI and 110,000 from SHRM). Although this number is not exceedingly high, research carried out by the HR Certification Institute found that professionals view certifications as the, “best performing credential in many different dimensions such as learning, career advancement and value.” In fact, the only credential ranking higher than a professional certification was a graduate degree. The same study reports that 95% of employers believe that an HR certified consultant would have a significant advantage over a -non-certified consultant.
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Another indicator that we used to gauge the value of professional certifications is their impact on the pay level of those people that have been certified. According to a study by Payscale, there is a significant pay difference between certified professionals and non-certified professionals across all industries, title levels and company sizes. Those with either a PHR or SPHR certification earn a median income of $64,700. Those without these certifications earn a median income of $45,600. This wage difference is especially noticeable in large metropolitan areas where the average percent increase in salary with one of these certifications is 41%.
Why Should You Get Re-certified?
Because the HR profession is constantly changing and evolving, it is important for certified professionals to continually update their HR competencies and knowledge. Achieving certification as a SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP®) or SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP®) is the first step. Recertifying demonstrates your commitment to the profession, to your organization and to yourself through lifelong education and professional development.
Once you hold SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP credentials, recertification simply ensures that you’re staying current and up-to-date on changes and developments in human resources. Through SHRM, you can get recertified by earning 60 professional development credits (PDCs) within a three-year recertification period that ends on the last day of the credential holder’s birth month, or retake the certification exam at the end of the three-year period.
You can earn PDCs in a variety of ways, and by choosing areas of study relevant to your work and interests. Attend conference learning sessions, webinars, video tutorials, leadership programs, business courses, and so on. Simply look for the SHRM PDC Provider Seal when registering for courses. SHRM has a handy guide to help you find recertification activities, along with credit limits for each area (including educational, organizational and professional advancement).
Why SHRM Certification?
Most certification exams are knowledge-based—they test what you know. SHRM’s competency-based certification is at the forefront of certifications that are focused on teaching and testing the practical, real-life information HR professionals need to excel in their careers and drive business outcomes today, including knowledge, skills, and competencies. The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP will more closely measure not only what you know, but how you apply that knowledge in the situations you face every day. This is the evolving standard in individual assessments and is being adopted by leading testing bodies.
Cost Versus ROI
Do I think that maintaining my designations for both SHRM and HRCI is expensive? Yes, it is not ideal, however, I am thankful our industry respects the profession enough to offer an HR certification program that has strict standards. Because if it were easy, everyone would have one and by default, this makes the HR credential process and designation less sought after and valuable. I don’t want our certification or the profession to get watered down which is another reason I choose to recertify. Those letters are a part of my professional history. And it’s that history that I have spent hundreds or even thousands of hours defending to and discussing with business leaders at great length. We still have so far to go in demonstrating to business leaders the true value and importance in having a strategic HR business partner.
This is why the LEARN platform by Workology provides recertification credits on demand at an affordable price. As HR certified professionals ourselves, we understand how complicated the new landscape is for both HRCI and SHRM recertification.