Thursday, May 01, 2008

What I’m Hearing…HR Certifications

As many of us may know, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), though its subsidiary the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI), offers three national and two state specific Human Resource certifications – PHR, SPHR, GPHR, PHR – CA, and SPHR – CA. Currently, to sit for the PHR or SPHR certification exams, the candidate needs to have two years of exempt level HR experience.

HRCI is considering changing the exam eligibility experience requirements. The years of experience required would vary depending on which exam the person is sitting for, and what degree (e.g., Associates, Bachelor’s, and / or Master’s) the person holds. HRCI has conducted external benchmarking against other credentialing programs, considered the current experience of levels of certified professionals, and led focus groups with credential holders, employers, and SHRM chapter leaders. HRCI is currently in the process of surveying more individuals through an invitation to comment period, which closes on May 16th.

HR certification has come a long way since the time when I sat for the PHR exam (and passed!) as a recent college graduate. No longer do other HR professionals ask me what SPHR after my name means. HRCI’s steps towards elevating the experience requirement for SPHR should better align the test content with the candidates’ experiences, and truly reflect the “Senior” in SPHR.

Those considering the SPHR exam who have only 2 or 3 years of exempt level experience may want to take the exam in the Fall / Winter 2008 testing window, before the new requirements, if approved, take effect. HRCI has not stated when the new requirements would go into effect. However, why not take the initiative today and enhance your professional skills, your résumé, and your earning potential by working towards earning the certification?

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