What Happens When Your SHRM or HRCI Certification Expires

Recertifying soon? Check out our HR recertification tip sheet with resources to maintain your certification for SHRM and HRCI certifications.

*Updated Aug 1, 2019, to reflect SHRM Recertification policy changes*

What Happens When You Forget to Recertify with SHRM or HRCI?

As recruiting and HR professionals, we work long hours and it’s hard to keep track of activities and learning sessions that can support our SHRM or HRCI certification, much less get the information submitted on time. If you let your certifications lapse, meaning you did not recertify within the deadline and grace periods, there are different rules for SHRM and HRCI as to how to get your certification credentials back. If you’ve let your credentials expire, know it’s not the end of the world. Each program has its own requirements for certification and recertification, and I’ll outline both below.


Your SHRM-SCP or SHRM-CP Has Expired

In order to maintain your SHRM certification (every three years), you must:

Earn 60 professional development credits (PDCs) every three years, or retake the certification exam.   

There are numerous ways to earn PDCs, from attending conferences and seminars to volunteering and contributing resources to the advancement of the HR profession.

You must submit your PDCs or retake the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certification exam throughout your 3-year recertification period ending on the last day of your birth month. Once your recertification request has been approved,*Added Aug 1, 2019: the new recertification cycle for SHRM Certification holders who recertify early will begin the NEXT DAY after they recertify. Their end date will continue to be on the last day of their birth month. SHRM Certification holders who recertify with more than 60 PDCs in their account will be able to carry over up to 20 credits to their new cycle. *

Should you fail to enter your PDCs into the SHRM Certification Portal by your recertification end date, you will have 60 days to do so before your credential expires. *Added Aug 1, 2019: SHRM Certification holders who are working toward recertification can earn PDCs for activities they participate in through their grace period (the 60-day period between their certification end date and expiration date).* A $50 nonrefundable late fee will be applied, in addition to the recertification application fee, at the time of submission. Failure to complete recertification requirements within the appropriate timeframe will result in the revocation of your SHRM certification credential.

What this means: if three years have passed, there is no way to retroactively enter PDCs and recertify which is different than HRCI’s expired status program. I’ll talk about that more below. The only way to reactivate your SHRM certification status is by re-taking the test. Essentially, you’ll be starting over and will need to pay the application fee ($100 SHRM members and $150 nonmembers). If you do not pass the exam, your credential will be removed, and you will have to reapply to take the exam during a future exam window to become certified again. Additionally, you will not be able to pursue recertification through PDCs should you be unsuccessful in passing the exam for recertification.

This is different from HRCI which has a deactivation period. Which brings me to:


Your HRCI Certification Has Expired

All certifications from HR Certification Institute® (HRCI) are valid for three years. You are required to recertify every three years to maintain your credential(s). There are two ways that you may recertify:

Accumulate and record HR-related continuing education activities.

Take the exam again.

If your HRCI certification has expired, essentially, you have to pay a fee and then go in and enter in all the recertification credits you took in order to get out of HRCI certification jail and keep your status. HRCI gives you 12 months to recertify with a $100 additional fee after your certification cycle ends. During this time, your credential is placed temporarily in suspended status until you submit your completed recertification application and payment. You may not use the designation during this suspension period; however, you may earn recertification credit.

After completing a minimum of 60 HR-related recertification activities or continuing education programs, you may submit your application and payment for recertification to HR Certification Institute.

Is it easier to recertify than start the process all over again, or having to get out of a suspension? Absolutely, but things happen. Using a program like LEARN by Workology can help you better organize qualified recertification activities, as well as keep you in the HR learning loop so you’ll be aware of when and how to recertify for SHRM or HRCI.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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