Why HR Certification Matters

By University Alliance
HR Certification

In today’s hypercompetitive business world, there are numerous reasons why HR certification matters. For starters, one out of two hiring managers prefers candidates with certification, according to the Human Resources Certification Institute’s 2008 Value of Certification Survey. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects 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 top job grows, HR professionals with valuable certification are more likely to stand out from the other candidates.

HR: Then and Now

The 21st century human resources field is light years ahead of former days when HR was predominantly limited to administrative duties. Today’s 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, states 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 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 your HR Certification. This valuable credential distinguishes you as a human resources expert and true HR professional. For even 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 (HRCI), including:

  • Hiring managers consider applicant’s certification when making hiring decisions
  • Certified HR professionals inspire greater trust and confidence from business colleagues than do their non-certified HR co-workers
  • Organizations believe hiring HR-certified professionals gives them a competitive advantage
  • Business leaders find HR-certified professionals more motivated, more knowledgeable of the HR field and stronger performers
  • HR professionals report that certified HR professionals create a positive impact on their organizations’ financial performance

What Does HR Certification Mean to You?

As the unemployment numbers continue to rise and the number of job openings continues to decrease, the candidate-to-job ratio is the highest since the recession began in 2007. Currently, there are 6.3 job seekers for every job opening, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Economic Policy Institute. Faced with this sobering reality, there are even more reasons why HR certification matters for you personally and professionally. HR certification is a career-long commitment that demonstrates to your peers and your company that you are driven to be a successful human resources manager.

Prestigious HR Credentials:

  • Set you apart from—or above—those without it
  • Increase your professional confidence and satisfaction
  • Strengthen your salary potential
  • Result in greater respect from your organization
  • 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 can best be answered by those who currently have their human resources certification. According to the Value of Certification study done by the HRCI, when asked about the perceived benefits from achieving certification, the top ten 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 also know what types of certification are available. There are two main types of professional HR certification: PHR® and SPHR®. The PHR stands for Professional in Human Resources, while the SPHR represents Senior Professional in Human Resources. The basic differences between the two designations are the amount of relevant work experience and level of training. Candidates need to meet certain requirements for each type of certification. Per HRCI, here is a typical profile for each:

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., PHR or SPHR) after their names.

The Transformation of the Human Resources Field

The evolving challenges in human resources yield tremendous opportunities to those with the right training and credentials. Professionals who have earned industry-recognized certification are positioned for the greatest success, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. “Certified-HR professionals present a hiring advantage to both employers and employees,” said Mary E. Power, executive director of the HR Certification Institute. She continues, “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.” You can see why HR certification matters as much to the employer as it does to the employee.

Your HR Career Success Depends Upon New Skills and Certification

To be an effective HR leader, you need to not only understand complex concepts such as strategic management, workforce planning, human resource development, and organizational management, but you also need 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 PHR/SPHR certification from the HRCI, an affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM®). Because the program is 100% online, you will experience unmatched convenience as you learn from world-renowned HR experts from Villanova University.

The Ideal Way to Prepare for Your Professional HR Certification Exam

Villanova University’s online program prepares HR professionals to take either the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) exam. This dynamic program includes one-year access to the SHRM Learning System, with practical exams and valuable study materials (a $700 value). The 12-week HR Management course contains the latest content including:

  • Updated information based on HRCI’s new Body of Knowledge.
  • More than 1,600 questions allow you to test your knowledge and better prepare you for the certification exam.
  • New interactive case study focused on real-life situations faced by HR professionals. Apply learned concepts in eight different scenarios and work through questions for each.

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