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HR Certification Information

Interested in HR Certification?

HR Certification is an opportunity for HR professionals to validate their individual expertise in the body of knowledge and competencies that are shared within the HR profession. It is also an outward sign of knowledge and professionalism that is recognized by all HR professionals and most employers. Texas leads the nation in the number of certified professionals!

In order to support HR professionals in their pursuit of HR certification, DallasHR offers study groups to help prepare for certification exams.  Our study groups will present attendees with resources to help prepare potential test takers. In addition, this venue offers attendees the opportunity to meet and form study groups with others in their area who are preparing for the test. For detailed information, visit the Study Group page.

Currently, there are two entities that offer professional certifications for HR Professionals; The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI).  For information regarding certifications offered by each entity, eligibility requirements, testing windows and preparation materials, please visit the websites listed below.

Let this be the year to obtain your professional HR certification!

DallasHR supports both the SHRM and HRCI certifications for our members. The HRCI certifications build human resources knowledge and the SHRM certifications provide HR professionals with the competency to apply it.

DallasHR will hold a 10-week HR Certification Exam Study Group in Spring 2016. This study group will present attendees with resources to help prepare for both the HRCI and SHRM certification exams. In addition, this venue offers attendees the opportunity to meet and form study groups with others in their area who are preparing for the test. For detailed information, visit the Study Group page. 

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

The Society for Human Resource Management offers two competency-based certifications for HR Professionals. Your scope of work and depth of experience will determine which exam is best for you:
  • SHRM-CP (SHRM Certified Professional)
  • SHRM-SCP (SHRM Senior Certified Professional)

For complete details about the credentials above, the certification process and testing dates, visit the SHRM Certification's website at www.shrmcertification.org.

  • SHRM Certification Questions from DallasHR Members
    • The following questions were solicited from DallasHR members and submitted to SHRM for response. Below you will find SHRM’s unedited responses to these questions.

    • 1.    Why do you recommend your certification for HR professionals?

      SHRM Response: For more than 65 years, SHRM has served the human resources profession. HR professionals worldwide look to SHRM for comprehensive resources to enhance their effectiveness on the job, to develop their careers, and to partner strategically with business leaders and stakeholders.

      SHRM also works to advance the HR profession as a whole, ensuring that as business evolves, HR evolves to meet business needs. Businesses increasingly understand that effective people management is a strategic imperative. As a result, business leaders expect that HR professionals will demonstrate, in addition to a thorough knowledge of HR concepts and requirements, the behavioral competencies required to effectively apply knowledge in the modern workplace in support of organizational goals.

      To meet business needs, SHRM has established two competency-based certifications, the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) for early- and mid-career professionals and the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) for senior-level practitioners. SHRM regards the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP as the new global standard in certification for the HR profession.

      The SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (SHRM BoCK™) is the foundation for these certifications. The SHRM BoCK—the product of rigorous research involving thousands of HR professionals—identifies eight key behavioral competencies and 15 HR functional areas that are critical to the success of any HR professional. (See The SHRM BoCK for additional information.)

      By incorporating key HR competencies and knowledge into the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams, SHRM’s certifications demonstrate to the global business community that the credential-holder has strong capabilities in both aspects of HR practice—competency and knowledge—that are required for effective job performance.

      2.    Will you continue to allow affiliate chapter to offer dual credit (ie: both SHRM PDCs and HRCI recertification credit hours) beyond 2015?

      SHRM Response:  During the Volunteer Leaders’ Briefing, at the SHRM Annual Conference, in Las Vegas, Hank Jackson, SHRM President/CEO, said he saw no reason for SHRM to prevent Chapters and State Councils from offering dual re-certification credits.  SHRM has seen a great number of members and non-members take the online Tutorial Pathway and SHRM Certification exam; and, he feels confident in what we have accomplished thus far; and, the “market” will drive where our SHRM affiliates should be in the future.  He further articulated that he hopes the Chapters and State Councils see the benefits of the SHRM Certification over the legacy certifications and eventually, through the market demand, promote only the SHRM Certifications as the HR certification for the HR Profession.

      3.    What materials should our members be reading now in order to prepare to take the exam in the next year?

      SHRM Response:  The 2015 SHRM Learning System® for SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP provides interactive tools and updated content that reflects the SHRM BoCKTM tested on the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams. Gain a generalist viewpoint, refresh key ideas and concepts, strengthen your understanding of core competencies and increase productivity. 

      SHRM has designed several learning options to suit different learning styles, schedules, group sizes and locations. Choose the format that fits your learning preference.  (See a free demo of the 2015 SHRM Learning System).

      4.    What percentage of HRCI certified professionals completed the pathway to the SHRM Certification nationally?  In Texas?  From DallasHR?

      SHRM Response: To date, over 48,000 individuals have achieved their new SHRM Certification globally (note: the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP are international/universal credentials).  This number reflects a combination of those who took and passed the pilot exams, in October 2014, and those who have completed the online tutorial pathway.  This number does not reflect those who have sat for and passed the 2015 spring testing window, as those results have not yet been analyzed and released.  The spring testing window goes through July 15, 2015.  Results will be available after that date.

      As of May 31, 2015, there are 307 SHRM members, who are primarily coded to the Dallas HR chapter, that have received their SHRM Certification.  This number is now tracked on the SHRM Monthly Membership Report (See column Z “SHRM Certification”).

      Rows 50-51 of the SHRM Monthly Membership Report now reflect the number of SHRM Certifications in the state of Texas. As of May 31st, the numbers for Texas are as follows:

      - SHRM Members with SHRM Certifications in-chapter:  1,434
      - SHRM Members with SHRM Certifications at-large: 1,694
      - SHRM Members with SHRM Certifications in State: 3,128

      5.    How many HRCI certified professional have sat for the exam?

      SHRM Response:  We are currently at over 48,000 who have completed the online Tutorial Pathway; and, we are in the thousands for the first testing window of the new SHRM Certifications.  We surpassed our estimates for the spring testing window.  Stats regarding the spring testing window will be available after the testing window closes, in mid-July, and the analysis has been completed.

      6.     Are there any specific volunteer activities or projects that could also provide credit towards maintaining the SHRM-SCP?

      SHRM Response:  SHRM has addressed the needs of HR professionals by creating three avenues by which SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP credential holders earn recertification credits: Advance Your Education, Advance Your Organization and Advance Your Profession. These categories parallel the SHRM BoCK’s three main elements of Effective Individual Performance, Successful Business Outcomes, and Advancing the HR Profession, respectively—further evidence of the relevance of these credentials to the contemporary practice of HR.

      Recertification will be required every three years. Professionals will need to earn 60 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) in order to recertify.

      SHRM recognizes the value of providing your time and services to help support volunteer organizations, which in turn helps develop your leadership capabilities and other Competencies. Volunteer leadership qualifies for a maximum of 30 professional development credits (PDCs) in the “Advance Your Profession” category.  The number of PDCs for volunteering is calculated on an annual basis (not per 3-year recertification period). (See page 10 of the SHRM Certification Recertification Handbook)

      Volunteer activities that qualify for recertification credit are those in which you perform: an HR services role; without compensation; for an HR association, HR membership organization or another nonprofit. Examples include: serving as a membership chair for your local SHRM chapter; providing HR expertise while serving on the board of a nonprofit organization; providing compensation and benefit services for a religious organization.

      7.     Are the PHR, SPHR and GPHR certifications no longer accredited?

      SHRM Response:  Although SHRM created HRCI over 40 years ago, SHRM and HRCI have always been, and still remain, separate and distinct organizations. The HRCI certifications (e.g., PHR, SPHR, GPHR, HRBP and HRMP*) are owned and controlled by HRCI, not by SHRM. The new SHRM Certifications are separate from these HRCI certifications.

      SHRM is committed to ensuring that the certification HR professionals achieve is the best in class and distinguishes them in the marketplace. Therefore, at this time, SHRM determined that it is necessary to move forward independently with the development of a competency-based certification, which is urgently needed for the advancement of the HR profession and HR practitioners.

      We continue to hope that HRCI will agree to work with us on this effort for the betterment of the HR profession.

      *PHR, SPHR, GPHR, HRBP and HRMP are registered trademarks of the HR Certification Institute and are not SHRM certifications. For more information about HRCI, visit http://www.hrci.org/.

      8.     Why was there a need for SHRM to come out with the new certifications?

      SHRM Response:  Businesses increasingly understand that effective people management is a strategic imperative. As a result, business leaders expect that HR professionals will demonstrate, in addition to a thorough knowledge of HR concepts and requirements, the behavioral competencies required to effectively apply knowledge in the modern workplace in support of organizational goals.  

      To meet business needs, SHRM has established two competency-based certifications, the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) for early- and mid-career professionals and the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) for senior-level practitioners. SHRM regards the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP as the new global standard in certification for the HR profession.

      By incorporating key HR competencies and knowledge into the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams, SHRM’s certifications demonstrate to the global business community that the credential-holder has strong capabilities in both aspects of HR practice—competency and knowledge—that are required for effective job performance.

      9.     Will the SHRM recertification process work the same as HRCI (self-declared education, logged in a system by me) or will SHRM recognize only pre-approved programs?

      SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP credential holders qualify for recertification credits by participating in professional development activities that relate to the SHRM BoCK. The SHRM BoCK describes eight Behavioral Competencies, one Technical Competency (HR Expertise), and 15 Functional Areas of Knowledge, grouped into four general Knowledge Domains.

      The SHRM BoCK greatly expands the scope of professional development activities that will qualify for recertification credit. By including Competencies in the SHRM BoCK, many educational programs not directly tied to human resource management will qualify for PDCs. For example, leadership programs build proficiency in the Leadership & Navigation Competency, courses in statistics expand capabilities in the Critical Evaluation Competency, and business education offerings promote the Business Acumen Competency. All would be eligible for PDCs.

      Broadening the scope of eligible recertification activities will help individual HR professionals strengthen their core skills, while contributing to a stronger HR profession.

      As a certified SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP, you will have an online profile and will be able to track your PDCs throughout your 3-year recertification period ending on the last day of your birth month. Once your recertification application is complete and has been approved, your next 3-year recertification period will begin from your existing end date.

      If you complete your recertification cycle early, your end date will not change, but any unused or subsequent professional development activities completed within your current certification period cannot be carried over to the next. For example:

      - Initial certification period: May 2015 (took exam)–July 2018 (birth month)
      - Recertified: December 2017
      - Next 3-year recertification period: July 2018–July 2021

      10.    Who looks for these certifications, what exactly are they and what do they mean to the industry?

      SHRM Response:
      UNIVERSAL SKILLS & RECOGNITION
      SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) are based on one single, comprehensive SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge™ (SHRM BoCK™) and are relevant worldwide, giving professionals the recognition and flexibility to use their knowledge, skills and competencies anywhere their career takes them.

      COMPETENCY- & KNOWLEDGE- BASED
      SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP tests HR competencies as well as knowledge, and their application, to ensure the professional’s ability to demonstrate what they know, and what they can do with their knowledge in the variety of situations they encounter.

      DEVELOPED WITH EMPLOYERS IN MIND
      SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP are based on in-depth research focused on —and backed by— global employers and business leaders. They reflect what HR practitioners need to know to be leaders in their organizations and in the profession.

      UNIVERSALLY APPLICABLE
      SHRM believes that HR certification must be as inclusive and diverse as the profession itself. The SHRM certification is applicable across industries, geographic borders, job responsibilities and career levels. 

      GLOBALLY RECOGNIZED
      By creating a consistent certification path for HR professionals around the world, SHRM will deliver a new global standard. To ensure worldwide recognition of the new certification, SHRM anticipates seeking accreditation of the new certification program from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and/or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

      11.    Why I would want to also get the SHRM certification when I already have the SPHR - is one better than the other, under what circumstances?

      SHRM Response:  It is SHRM’s belief that effective HR practitioners have mastery over HR technical knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge on the job. Therefore, the new SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications test both technical knowledge and application of the knowledge using behavioral competencies. Every part of the certification program is built around the idea that both knowledge and competencies are critical to successful HR practice. 

      The SHRM Online Pathway Tutorial provides Pathway participants with an introduction to the SHRM Competency Model, and explores how it can be used to support one’s professional development. During the Tutorial, participants will have the opportunity to complete a Competency Self-Portrait, which will identify individual strengths and weaknesses across the eight behavioral competencies in the SHRM Competency Model. This information can be used to help you develop an individual development plan that will contribute to your continued professional development. After you obtain your SHRM certification, the recertification process provides you with additional opportunities to continue building your skills and capabilities as a successful HR professional.

      WHAT IS COVERED IN THE ONLINE TUTORIAL PATHWAY 

      - An Introduction to the HR Competency Model: The online tutorial is an educational program that focuses on the eight behavioral competencies found in the SHRM Competency Model and the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (SHRM BoCK). 

      - An Opportunity to Rate Your Proficiency: The tutorial comprises five modules, including an interactive tool to create an individual Competency Self-Portrait, as well as an opportunity to experience the scenario-based questions on the SHRM certification exams. 

      - An (Unscored) Demo of Exam Question Formats: The scenarios and question examples are not scored, but rather serve to provide exposure to how SHRM is assessing competencies in our exams.

      Any professionals who did not obtain a generalist certification by January 31, 2015, will not be eligible for the online tutorial pathway and instead can take the SHRM certification exam.

      *PHR, SPHR, GPHR, HRBP and HRMP are registered trademarks of the HR Certification Institute and are not SHRM certifications.
      SHRM has no rights to the “IPMA” trademark, and IPMA-CP is not a SHRM certification. Other HR generalist credentials may also qualify based on SHRM’s review. Please e-mail shrmcertification@shrm.org for more information.

      12.    How important is it to get a SHRM certification in addition to my HRCI certification?

      SHRM Response:  
      FOCUS ON YOU

      SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP are your credentials, based on the current HR landscape. This certification is 100% focused on the competencies and knowledge all HR professionals need to lead in today’s business community.

      EXPANDED ELIGIBILITY AND INCLUSIVITY

      SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recognize diversity in the HR profession. The eligibility requirements minimize barriers to participation and reflect current HR roles. The exam windows provide accessibility and flexibility for all eligible professionals worldwide. In addition, the new exam is affordable, making certification attainable by more professionals.

      SHRM regards the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP as the new global standard in certification for the HR profession.

      13. Will non-SHRM affiliate chapters be able to offer SHRM PDCs or exam prep?

      SHRM Response: SHRM has established the SHRM Preferred Provider Program to give organizations and SHRM affiliated chapters that offer education, training and/or other HR-related Competency and Knowledge programming the opportunity to award PDCs, without pre-approval by SHRM, during a 2-year period.

      Applicants for SHRM Preferred Provider status must meet the following qualifications, which ensure that sound learning principles are incorporated into program offerings:

      1.    Provider must designate a contact person who will be responsible for entering relevant educational activities into the online SHRM program database.
      2.    Provider must have the resources, facilities and administrative support to effectively deliver HR-related Competency and/or Knowledge programming.
      3.    Provider must offer appropriate high-quality programming, developed and presented by appropriate subject matter experts.
      4.    Programming should address the HR Competencies and/or Knowledge Domains needed for effective job performance, as outlined in the SHRM BoCK.
      5.    Each program offering must describe both learning objectives and Competencies/Knowledge areas to be taught, with specific references to the SHRM BoCK.
      6.    Each presenter/instructor/speaker must have proven expertise in the field and the ability to facilitate learning.
      7.    Provider must have a participant evaluation process in place and utilize feedback to ensure continuous improvement in program content and quality.
      8.    Provider must have been in operation for at least one year.
      9.    Provider must have offered training in HR Competencies and/or Knowledge Domains for at least one year.


Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI)

The HR Certification Institute offers five certifications that cover all HR disciplines. Your scope of work and depth of experience will determine which exam is best for you:
  • PHR® (Professional in Human Resources)
  • SPHR® (Senior Professional in Human Resources)
  • GPHR® (Global Professional in Human Resources)
  • California Certification (PHR-CA®)
  • California Certification (SPHR-CA®)
For complete details about the credentials above, the certification process and testing dates, visit the HR Certification Institute (HRCI)’s website at www.hrci.org.


  • HRCI Certification Questions from DallasHR Members
    • The following questions were solicited from DallasHR members and submitted to HRCI for response. Below you will find HRCI's unedited responses to these questions.

    • 1.    Why do you recommend your certification for HR professionals?

      HRCI Response:  The professional credentials offered by HRCI – the PHR®, SPHR®, GPHR®, HRMP®, HRBP® and our CA-designations –  are the gold standard in HR certification. These certifications are the HR profession’s most respected, recognized and sought after credentials, with more than 145,000 HR professionals in 100 countries having earned HRCI credentials.  HR professionals in 98% of Fortune 500 companies hold one or more HRCI certifications and employers across the for-profit, nonprofit and public sectors actively seek out and even require HRCI-credentialed professionals.  And, in fact, HRCI is the only HR credentialing organization that offers accredited professional HR certifications.

      2.    What materials should our members be reading now in order to prepare to take the exam in the next year?"

      HRCI Response:  HRCI’s credentials are recognized as the most rigorous, meaningful and grounded professional certifications demonstrating competency, real-world practical skills and knowledge in the field, and HRCI is committed to doing all we can to support HR professionals’ success. We suggest you prepare in a manner that best suits your learning style and individual needs based on the manner in which you learn, where knowledge or competency gaps might exist, how much time you can commit, and what your financial resources are. To this end, we connect prospective certificants with a variety of high quality test preparation resources to help ensure a thorough understanding of HR principles and practices. We recently introduced a “build your own bundle” exam application and prep program to customize and streamline the test prep/test taking process so that seeking and maintaining the industry’s top credentials better meets your specific needs and is easier on your pocket book. Please visit our web site for more information https://www.hrci.org/exam-preparation.

      3.    Are the PHR, SPHR and GPHR certifications no longer accredited?

      HRCI Response: They absolutely are accredited. HRCI’s PHR®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHR-CA® and SPHR-CA® are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), which is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. NCCA accreditation validates the credibility of HRCI’s certifications and makes the HR profession as well as the public aware of the standards and requirements that our exams meet. Accreditation also shows that, like our certified professionals, we are committed to high standards. HRCI is proud to be part of an elite group of organizations that have received and maintained NCCA accreditation, and as an organization, one of HRCI’s primary focuses is ensuring that our exams stay accredited.

      4.     Why was there a need for SHRM to come out with the new certifications?

      HRCI Response: That is a question for SHRM. HRCI offers a portfolio of certifications for US-focused and global HR professionals at various experience and career levels that are widely recognized, sought after and respected by HR professionals and employers alike.

      5. I am actually seriously concerned that the HRCI certification will lose credibility among the community as it isn't sponsored by the society. I hate the thought of studying for another certification, so I would really appreciate some guidance and advice on how the community will approach this going forward.

      HRCI Response:  HRCI, as on organization, is here to stay. We are proud of our 40 year history, and we are even more excited about our future and the very bright future of the HR industry. When an individual earns an HRCI certification, s/he has attained the most respected and recognized credential in the industry. The value of HRCI credentials to individual HR practitioners, managers of HR functions and organizations overall is clear and strong (for more details, see the results of HumRRO’s recent large-scale Value of Certification study here).

      6. We trust that the HR community as whole will continue to recognize, value and support the most rigorous and high quality certifications. Who looks for these certifications, what exactly are they, and what do they mean to the industry? 

      HRCI Response:  Employers across industry sectors and types very often seek out and prefer and even require job applicants to hold a HRCI certification. As mentioned above, 98% of HR professionals in Fortune 500 companies have earned one or more HRCI credential. HRCI certifications require a specific level of professional experience to be eligible to take the exam and are earned after passing a rigorous exam. As outlined in the recent large-scale Value of Certification study conducted by HumRRO, these certifications have high value for individual professionals and employers –  and therefore, one can extrapolate, contribute to the value and credibility of the HR industry as a whole. For example, HRCI-certified professionals are more likely than non-certified professionals to get hired, be well compensated and be happier with their career. The study also found that according to employers, PHRs and SPHRs are more likely than their non-certified peers to perform better on the job, show greater potential for future positions, perform better on strategic HR efforts and offer greater HR expertise.

      7. Do you expect the exams to stay the same or possibly get updated with more relevant information?  I took the PHR and studied like I never have before and still missed passing by a couple of points.  I am trying to decide whether to retake it or go for the SHRM certification.

      HRCI Response:  All of HRCI’s exams are developed and scored based on industry-accepted HR principles and practices based on input from literally hundreds of industry experts every 6 months (and not on an internal or proprietary model). Each of our exams gets a complete refresh/review every 5 years. Our exams are rigorous and we know prospective certificants, though they take their exam preparation very seriously, sometimes miss the mark by a small margin or otherwise need a second chance. Recognizing this, we recently introduced “Second Chance” Insurance that allows applicants to take the exam again for a deeply discounted fee if they did not pass it the first time. We also offer Online Assessment Exams to help you assess your readiness to take an exam. These practice exams help point out areas where you may need extra study and offer exposure to the style and types of questions you will encounter when taking the exam.

      8. How important is it to get a SHRM certification in addition to my HRCI certification?

      HRCI Response:  As stated above, our exams and credentials are the gold standard in the industry. HRCI certifications are highly valued by HR professionals and are sought after and even required by employers. The need to pursue additional certifications is an individual decision based on a variety of factors.

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