Why HR Certification Matters

By University Alliance
HR Certification

In today’s hypercompetitive business world, there are numerous reasons why an HR certification matters. For starters, one out of every two hiring managers prefer candidates with certification, according to the Human Resources Certification Institute’s 2008 Value of Certification Survey. In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected the demand for human resources professionals to grow 17% by 2016. Even more compelling is that Money Magazine ranked Human Resources Manager careers #4 in a recent Best Jobs in America survey. As the competition for this job grows, HR professionals with valuable certification may be more likely to stand out from the other candidates.

HR: Then and Now

Today’s human resources field is light years ahead of when HR was predominantly limited to administrative duties. Human resources professionals still perform traditional tasks like employment screening and answering benefits questions, but they are also pivotal in high-level planning with responsibilities like consulting with top executives to chart strategic direction and shaping key policies. Mary E. Power, executive director of the HR Certification Institute, stated that “Credentials earned through the HR Certification Institute are key to keeping the skills of today’s HR professional current.”

The Importance of HR Certification

It often makes a world of difference when you can show others just how dedicated you are to your career. In general, to be respected as a human resources professional and to be considered for higher level positions, you must have an HR Certification. This valuable credential can help distinguish you as an HR expert and professional. For  more information about why HR certification matters to you, there are a number of reasons detailed in the Value of Certification Survey from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCITM), including:

  • Hiring managers typically consider an applicant’s certification when making hiring decisions
  • Certified HR professionals may inspire greater trust and confidence from business colleagues than  their non-certified HR co-workers
  • Some organizations believe hiring HR-certified professionals gives them a competitive advantage
  • Business leaders may find HR-certified professionals better motivated and knowledgeable than non-certified HR workers
  • HR professionals report that certified HR professionals can help create a positive impact on their organizations’ financial performance

Check out our new Human Resources Career Guide Here

What Does HR Certification Mean to You?

There are several reasons why an HR certification can matter, both personally and professionally. HR certification is a career-long commitment that can help demonstrate to your peers and your company that you are driven to be a successful human resources manager.

Prestigious HR Credentials:

  • Can help set you apart from those without it
  • May help increase your professional confidence and satisfaction
  • May increase earnings potential
  • Can result in greater respect from your organization
  • May make you a better candidate for a new job

Personal Benefits of Professional HR Certification

How is HR certification important to you and your career? There are many reasons why HR certification matters, but this question may be answered accurately by those who currently have an HR certification. According to the Value of Certification study by HRCI, when HR professionals were asked about the perceived benefits from achieving certification, the top-10 advantages were:

  1. Strengthens my résumé
  2. Provides me personal satisfaction
  3. Differentiates me from non-certified HR professionals
  4. Increases my chances of getting a better job outside my organization
  5. Helps me be more successful in my role as an HR professional
  6. Gains me respect from my organization (e.g. colleagues, superiors)
  7. Helps prove my worth/value to my employer
  8. Increases my earning potential
  9. Allows me to have a greater impact on my organizations business success
  10. Improves my career advancement opportunities within my organization.

Nationally Recognized HR Certification

Now that you have a clear understanding of why HR certification matters, you should know what types of certification are available. The four most recognized types of HR certifications are: SHRM-CP®, SHRM-SCP®, PHR® and SPHR®. The SHRM-CP stands for the Society of Human Resource Management Certified Professional, and the SHRM-SCP stands for SHRM Senior Certified Professional. Additionally, the PHR stands for Professional in Human Resources, while the SPHR represents Senior Professional in Human Resources.

The differences between the four designations are the amount of relevant work experience and level of training. The SHRM-CP and PHR are basic certifications and on a similar level of experience, while the SHRM-SCP and SPHR are both senior-level certifications. Candidates need to meet certain requirements for each type of certification. Here is a typical profile for each:

SHRM-CP Candidate

  • Serves as a point of contact for staff and stakeholders
  • Delivers HR services
  • Performs operational HR functions
  • Implements policies and strategies
  • Requires at least three years of experience in an HR-related role if the candidate has obtained less than a Bachelor’s degree
  • Professionals with a Bachelor’s degree in an HR-related field require at least one year of experience in an HR role
  • Professionals with a Graduate degree require one year of experience in an HR role, unless their degree is HR-related
  • Understands SHRM’s Body of Competency & Knowledge (BoCK)

SHRM-SCP Candidate

  • Develops HR strategies
  • Leads HR functions
  • Analyzes performance metrics
  • Aligns HR strategies to organizational goals
  • Has three-to-seven years of HR-related experience
  • Has an understanding of SHRM’s new Body of Competency & Knowledge (BoCK)

PHR Candidate

  • Focuses on program implementation
  • Has tactical/logistical orientation
  • Has accountability to another HR professional within the organization
  • Has two to four years of exempt-level generalist HR work experience, but because of career length may lack the breadth and depth of a more senior-level generalist
  • Has not had progressive HR work experience by virtue of career length
  • Focuses his or her impact on the organization within the HR department rather than organization wide
  • Commands respect through the credibility of knowledge and the use of policies and guidelines to make decisions

SPHR Candidate

  • Designs and plans rather than implements
  • Focuses on the “big picture”
  • Has ultimate accountability in the HR department
  • Has six to eight years of progressive HR experience
  • Has breadth and depth of HR generalist knowledge
  • Uses judgment obtained with time and application of knowledge
  • Has generalist role within the organization
  • Understands the effect of decisions made within and outside of the organization
  • Understands the business, not just the HR function
  • Manages relationships; has influence within the overall organization
  • Commands credibility within the organization, community and field by experience
  • Possesses excellent negotiation skills

Certified individuals are usually issued a certificate attesting that they have met the standards of the credentialing organization and are entitled to make the public aware of their credentialed status, usually through the use of initials (i.e., SHRM-SCP or SPHR) after their names.

The Transformation of the Human Resources Field

The evolving challenges in human resources can yield tremendous opportunities to those with the right training and credentials. Professionals who have earned industry-recognized certifications may be well-positioned for success, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Certified-HR professionals present a hiring advantage to both employers and employees,” said Power. “An employee who has committed to achieving and maintaining certification tends to be more self-motivated and up-to-date on forward-thinking HR practices. Certification is an indicator that he or she will be a strong performer.”

Your HR Career Success Depends Upon New Skills and Certification

To be an effective HR professional, candidates not only need to understand concepts such as strategic management, workforce planning, human resource development and organizational management, but they also require practical skills to implement these concepts. Villanova University’s online Master Certificate in Human Resource Management program is an ideal way to gain critical skills and prepare for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications. The program is 100% online, and professionals can experience unmatched convenience as they learn from world-renowned HR experts from Villanova University, behind SHRM's Body of Competency & Knowledge.

The Ideal Way to Prepare for Your Professional HR Certification Exam

Villanova University’s online program can also help prepare HR professionals for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certification exams. The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications focus on both behavioral and technical competencies, which combined, allow for situational judgment scenarios. This dynamic program also includes more than one-year of access to the SHRM Learning System, with practical exams and valuable study materials (a $800 value). The 12-week HR Management course contains the latest content, including:

  • Updated information based on SHRM’s new Body of Competency and Knowledge.
  • Information from the SHRM Learning System, which includes more than 1,000 questions, allows professionals to test their knowledge and better prepare for the certification exams.
  • New interactive case study focused on real-world situations faced by HR professionals. Apply learned concepts in eight different scenarios and work through questions for each.
  • Live and pre-recorded lectures taught by distinguished university faculty.

There’s never been a better opportunity to prepare for this red-hot career field. Now’s the time to take the next step toward HR certification by earning your Master Certificate in Human Resource Management 100% online from Villanova University.

Category: Human Resources