There are many different types of HR certifications that you may choose to pursue. The two most highly recognized certification types are offered by HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). There are many things to consider when choosing the best certification for you.
Requirements for HR Certifications
First, for which certifications are you currently eligible? We’ve created a helpful table that shows what qualifications you need for each level of certification.
|High School Diploma
|1 year of professional-level HR experience + a Masters OR
|4 years of professional-level HR experience + a Master’s degree OR
|Currently in HR role + a Masters (1 year in HR role for non-HR program) OR
|3 years in HR role + a Masters (4 year in HR role for non-HR program) OR
|No HR experience required
|2 year of professional-level HR experience + a Bachelor’s OR
|5 years of professional-level HR experience + Bachelor’s degree OR
|1 year in HR role + Bachelor’s degree (2 years in HR role for non-HR program) OR
|4 year in HR role + Bachelor’s degree (5 years in HR role for non-HR program) OR
|4 years of professional-level HR experience + High School Diploma
|7 years of professional-level HR experience + High School Diploma
|3 years in HR Role + Less than Bachelor’s Degree (4 years in HR role for non-HR Program)
|6 years in HR Role + Less than Bachelor’s Degree (7 years in HR role for non-HR Program)
HRCI® Certification Options
The HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®) offers several types of certification. It’s important to understand the difference between them so you can continue on your path for HR certification.
The aPHR™ is HRCI’s newest designation and is designed for individuals just beginning their HR careers. If you’re looking to get into the world of HR, this is the certification for you. Once you’ve obtained your certification it’s important to continue your development and advance your career.
For those with some experience and/or education in HR, the PHR® is the certification to help you establish your HR career. This certificate is perfect for those who have just decided to make HR their future career.
The SPHR® is designed for more experienced HR professionals who wish to pursue HR management or leadership. The SPHR® exam has a heavy focus on the HR professionals understanding of business and strategy. If you’re preparing for a PHR® or SPHR® certification, we offer an online test preparation course that will get you started.
Additional HRCI certifications
International versions of the aPHR™, PHR® and SPHR® are available through HRCI®, as well as specialized Global and California certifications.
For more information on the types of available HRCI® certifications, visit HRCI’s website.
SHRM Certification Options
SHRM currently offers two HR certifications, one for those starting their careers in HR and one for established HR professionals.
The SHRM-CP is designed for HR professionals with some HR experience looking to establish their career. It is considered comparable to the PHR® and is perfect for professionals advancing in their careers.
Like the SPHR®, the SHRM-SCP is designed for HR professionals with more experience and education in HR who want to pursue HR management or leadership. SHRM certifications are widely held by HR professionals and is a great certification to attach to your resume.
For additional information on the SHRM certifications, visit the SHRM website.
Additional HR certifications
SHRM and HRCI certifications aren’t the only option available. There are a handful of specialized certifications through smaller organizations like World at Work.
HR Education Network’s test preparation
HREN’s test preparation program is designed around the HRCI exam content outline for PHRs and SPHRs. However, the content covered in the program will also prepare participants to sit for the aPHR™, as well as the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP.
The HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®) does not endorse any particular preparation program or offering. We encourage prospective certification holders to use a variety of resources that reflect their learning styles and needs. Purchasing a certification product is NOT required and HRCI does not guarantee that an individual will pass based on the purchase of a certification preparation product.
aPHR™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™ and SPHRi™ are all registered trademarks of HR Certification Institute.