What is SHRM?
SHRM is The Society for Human Resources Management with over 300,000 members in 165 countries across the globe. SHRM is a 501(c) nonprofit professional membership organization. SHRM promotes the human resources profession, provides education, certifications, and networking to its members, and lobbies Congress for the benefit of human resources professionals.
What is a SHRM Certification?
A SHRM Certification is a designation awarded by SHRM to those members who have met certain requirement qualifications and have passed a corresponding examination. SHRM awards two distinctions: SHRM-CP (Certified Professional) and SHRM-SCP. (Senior Certified Professional)
Do you Need to be SHRM Certified?
The short answer? Probably not, but there are certainly benefits to doing so! While many professionals (think lawyers, doctors, accountants) need a specific license to practice, you do not need to have a SHRM certification to work in a human resources role. However, According to SHRM, more than 20,000 applicants sought SHRM certification in 2016, and more than 53,000 jobs listed SHRM credential-holders as preferred applicants.
Obtaining the certification is an investment that proves you’ve not only taken the time to learn a wide range of topics that will benefit employers, but that you’re also serious about human resources as a career path. Many hiring companies see this as a valuable asset, and a sign you aren’t as likely to get bored with your role and jump ship. And if you decide certification is right for you, you’ll be in good company. According to a recent study, 34 percent of all human resources professionals carry at least one HR certification. The professionals who are certified are found to receive more promotions more quickly than their peers.
Will I Get Paid More if I Get SHRM Certified?
We know you don’t have a crystal ball, and there’s no way to predict what will happen in a particular situation. However, if you’re looking for a pay bump and hoping for a lucrative return on investment from your SHRM certification, the statistics are on your side. According to a recent study, the median SHRM-CP certification holder reaped a 22.8 percent pay boost in 2018 compared to professionals without any certifications. On average, SHRM-SCP holders saw an even more substantial 89.1 percent boost in pay in 2018.
How do I Obtain a SHRM Certification?
SHRM lists an eight-step process for obtaining a certification. For the comprehensive process, complete with links and contact information, visit the SHRM website to learn more. For your convenience, here’s the quick, easy to digest version:
- Complete the application process,
- pay for your exam, complete an audit,
- receive an authorization to test letter (it’ll come to you within 10 business days),
- schedule your exam through their test delivery vendor, and
- pass the exam!
What Qualifications Do I Need to Apply for a SHRM Certification?
You need certain qualifications, comprised of a mix of education and experience, to apply for both SHRM-CP certifications and SHRM-SCP certifications.
In order to apply for the SHRM-CP certification, you’ll need to have one of the following combinations:
- (1) An HR-related bachelor’s degree currently in progress, and (2) three years of experience working in HR;
- (1) A non-HR related bachelor’s degree currently in progress, and (2) and four years of experience working in HR;
- (1) A completed HR-related bachelor’s degree, and (2) and one year of experience working in HR;
- (1) A completed non-HR-related bachelor’s degree, and (2) two years of experience working in HR;
- (1) An HR-related graduate degree, and (2) current employment in an HR role; or
- (1) A non-HR-related graduate degree, and (2) and one year of experience working in HR.
The education and experience qualification requirements for the SHRM-SCP certification are a bit more rigorous. In order to apply for the SHRM-SCP certification, you’ll need to have one of the following combinations:
- (1) An HR-related bachelor’s degree currently in progress, and (2) six years of experience working in HR;
- (1) A non-HR related bachelor’s degree currently in progress, and (2) seven years of experience working in HR;
- (1) A completed HR-related bachelor’s degree, and (2) four years of experience working in HR;
- (1) A completed non-HR-related bachelor’s degree, and (2) five years of experience working in HR;
- (1) An HR-related graduate degree and (2) three years of experience working in HR; or
- (1) A non-HR-related graduate degree and (2) four years of experience working in HR.
How Much Does a SHRM Certification Cost?
The entire SHRM certification process typically costs anywhere from around $1,000 to $1,500. Current SHRM members can receive discounts, as can United States service members. Fees to sit for the SHRM exam range can be lofty, reaching $475 for nonmembers. Students receive reduced exam fees, and you can also receive a discount if you apply early on in the cycle. There is a $50 nonrefundable application processing fee.
You’ll also need to pay for study materials, but you have a choice on the route you take to exam passage. At $770 for current SHRM members and $995 for non-members, the self-study option is the most budget-friendly and is ideal for those who have the ability to learn on their own time and control their schedule. For those who need a more structured curriculum, instructor-led learning is an option, although it tends to cost a bit more, depending on the SHRM approved partner you select for your course. Whether you select the self-study or instructor-led option, you’ll study the exact same, standardized material.
Need a hand funding your certification? SHRM offers discounts if multiple professionals within your company want to study for the exam. You may also be able to apply for a SHRM Foundation Scholarship.
What is the SHRM Certification Exam Like?
When you sit for a SHRM certification exam, you’ll be tested on four learning categories laid out in the SHRM Body of Competency & Knowledge system (abbreviated to BoCK.) Don’t worry – they’ll cover all of this in your learning materials, whether you choose the self-study or instructor-led route!
The exam itself (for both the CP and SCP distinctions) is four hours long, timed, and made up of 160 questions. Questions are divided into two categories: stand-alone knowledge questions and situational judgment questions.
Even the Most Experienced HR Professionals Can Use a Hand from Time to Time.