Change is in the air for HR Certifications

Change is in the air for HR Certifications

HRI’ll try to keep the acronyms to a minimum to save on confusion, but there are lots of them…. For years, HR professionals have reached to achieve PHR, SPHR and GPHR certifications offered by HRCI (Human Resources Certification Institute).  These certificates have been the gold stamp of achievement in the Human Resource and Recruitment worlds.  These aren’t just handed out; it is a lot of work to earn the right to have these prestigious letters after your name and having any these certifications increases professional credibility around the world.  HRCI certificates have also been ‘endorsed’ by SHRM, the Society of Human Resource Management.  SHRM is the world’s largest HR membership organization. The relationship between HRCI and SHRM has been so close that many people probably think the PHR and SPHR are actually issued by SHRM.  Having that kind of mega force backing up your certification sure does add clout – but that is about to change…

SHRM has announced that they will no longer be partnering with HRCI, and instead will offer a whole new set of certifications to HR professional.  The new SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) will be available in January 2015.

So what does that mean for the 130,000+ people who currently hold certifications through HRCI?

At this point both HRCI and SHRM have both issued FAQ’s publications on this topic so please visit their websites for the details, but here is the quick overview.  If you currently hold a certificate from HRCI, congratulations – you can keep it!  HRCI will continue to support and develop their programs.  Additionally, come January you will be able to essentially “test-in” to the new SHRM certifications by way of taking a tutorial. Then you can carry both and have lots of letters after your name, while at the same time, increasing your professional standing even more.  If you don’t currently hold a certification then the choice is yours.  You can do either or both!

Why the change?

I personally feel this change is good and overdue.  I have held my SPRH certification for nine years.  Over the years I have also helped several colleagues prepare for and achieve their PHR’s.  The preparation materials are significant, but what has always struck me is that there is a heavy emphasis on text book information and historical facts.  The history of HR law in America is certainly interesting and valuable from a foundation perspective, but not overly helpful to me when I’m actually navigating the tricky waters of my daily job as an HR Director.  This year, SHRM made the bold move to shift away from that platform to create certifications designed to really prepare HR professionals with knowledge that is current and applicable. This will enable them to excel in a world where critical thinking is a daily requirement. More and more HR professionals are joining operations managers in seats at the proverbial business table.  HR is no longer just the rule keepers in the back office; we are being recognized as technical experts that are responsible for all matters of compliance, employee relations and business results.  That said, I for one find it exciting and refreshing that SHRM has recognized this and is staying current with this new and ever changing landscape.  I can’t wait to see the final program in January!

So what do you think? Will you be looking at achieving some new credentials in January? Will you look to maintain both the HRCI and SHRM credentials?