The Value of an HR Certification

One question that every HR professional struggles to answer is whether she should go for a certification.

 Certification requires a significant amount of investment in terms of money, study, and time. Thus, the above question rightly deserves its fair share of consideration for HR professionals. An industry-recognized certification demonstrates your skills and up-to-date knowledge about human resources. Not to mention, amid the constantly changing dynamics of employee behavior, an HR certification proves your commitment toward the profession. A 2018 PayScale report found that certified HR professionals grow faster in their careers than their non-certified counterparts.

  A certification proves helpful in the following ways too.

  1. Better pay – Even though an HR certification isn’t mandatory to start a career in HR, but many employers demand a certification as essential. In cases where certification isn’t mandatory, it is an added advantage for candidates. Industry reports have consistently found that HR professionals with certifications are paid considerably more than their non-certified counterparts.

  In 2008, PayScale reported professionals who had a certification earned 17% more than professionals without a certification. In 2018, professionals with certification earned 31.6% more than those without certifications.

  2. Quicker growth – Employers tend to put more faith in certified candidates. A certification equips you with skills that allow professionals to perform their tasks more efficiently and thus win the confidence of employers. PayScale reports, a certified HR professional has 29% more chances of promotion than a non-certified professional.

 3. Convenient entry – It’s challenging for fresh graduates to get their foot in the door when it comes to human resources. An entry-level HR certification proves that you are committed to the profession and even though you may not have graduated in a non-HR discipline, you have the skills required to perform your job comfortably.

Choosing the right certification

You can opt for a plethora of certifications. However, each certification might not be suitable for you. Most HR certifications are meant for HR Generalists, which equip candidates with a set of skills. If you’re in a specific function, going for a specialist is a much better option.

For instance, prominent certifications like PHR and SPHR, offered by Human Resources Institute (HRCI), demonstrate your comprehensive understanding and ability to execute an organization-wide HR strategy. TMP (Talent Management Practitioner) from Talent Management Institute, CCP (Certified Compensation Professional) from World at Work, and APTD (Associate Professional in Talent Development) from Association for Talent Development are specialist certifications in the field of talent management, compensation and benefits, and talent development respectively.

Talent Management is an emerging HR function that encompasses both talent development along with talent acquisition and retention. Thus talent acquisition specialists are better off taking a talent management certification which would offer more scope for growth in career, rather than earning an HR certification that might dwarf opportunities for them because of sporadically aligning skills. Similarly, compensation and benefits professionals are better off taking a specialist certification.

Except APTD, all certifications mentioned above are entry-level certifications. These certifying bodies offer certifications for all levels of experience. STMP (Senior Talent Management Practitioner) is a senior level certification for mid-level talent management professionals, and CPTD (Certified Professional in Talent Development) is the corresponding certification in talent development offered by ATD.

SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management) offers CP (Certified Professional) and SCP (Senior Certified Professional) and are meant for mid-level and senior-level HR professional who are responsible for building, implementation, and execution of organization wide HR strategy.

Summing up

An HR certification adds value to the skills of HR professionals. Employers find certified professionals more credible, which is reflected in faster career progression and increase in compensation


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