Human Resource Certification: Things You Should Know

If you are pursuing a degree in human resource management then you have most likely heard of the HR Certification Test. Though not a requirement for obtaining your degree at Limestone, the courses you take will expose you to all areas of human resources covered in the exam.

The expert opinions on whether HR professionals should obtain certification can vary greatly. For many practitioners, this decision is influenced by the job market and how certification may influence their competitiveness. According to one survey, “96 percent of hiring employers said certification is an advantage for applicants and 91 percent thought it was an advantage for HR managers seeking promotions.”

Liz Ryan, Forbes Magazine contributor, has a different view regarding HR certification. In her recent Forbes article, she wrote, “Nothing that you need to succeed as an HR person can be tested and easily graded, but that is the way certification processes work.”

Offered during two yearly testing cycles­, spring and winter, the test is administered by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI), which offers several HR certifications. The most popular certifications are the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). In 2015, the costs of these exams are $400 and $525, respectively.

According to the institute’s website, HRCI certifications “provide an opportunity for HR professionals around the world, in different roles and stages of the profession, to demonstrate relevance, competence, experience, credibility and dedication to human resources to their employers, clients, staff members and professional peers.”

The last thing to keep in mind is that the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), parent organization of HRCI, announced the launching of its own certification program last year. This controversial move has left many HR professionals wondering about the validity of their existing certifications with HRCI. Differences in how employers may perceive different certifications are yet to be seen. However, students pursuing degrees in human resource management or HR training and development should stay informed to ensure they can make decisions that are most beneficial for them.