For a career in HR, the typical requirements are:
- A bachelor’s in HRM or related disciplines
- A master’s in HRM or related disciplines
- Some relevant work experience
In recent years, though, what has gained in prominence is an HR certification. Offered by several institutions, a certification is of a shorter duration than a degree program, and does not cost as much. The more up-to-date curriculum and the flexibility in study and exam schedules have made certifications for HR professionals an increasingly popular choice.
What are the benefits of HR certifications?
When compared to degree programs, certifications for HR offer several benefits. These are explained below:
- A chance to progress in an HR career: An HR certification is a great choice for a new entrant to the HR field as well as for an experienced HR professional. According to a study conducted by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI), 96 percent of employers believe in the value of certifications for HR professionals, and would prefer a candidate with the same as against one without a certification. With a certification, an applicant stands out from the crowd of aspirants and has higher chances of being selected.
- More flexibility: When compared to traditional qualifications such as degree programs or diplomas, an HR certification offers a far more flexible schedule. Applicants typically can study from home or other remote locations and can plan and schedule their preparation as per their convenience. Even when it comes to the exam, the same flexibility is available.
- More up-to-date knowledge: The typical certification for HR has a more current curriculum than a degree program. It is revised and updated more regularly and covers the latest skills and knowhow from the HR field. It is more up to pace with fast-evolving industry requirements than the slower-to-react other programs.
- Higher credibility for the candidate: When someone takes up certification for HR professionals, the person is investing in continual learning, as most certifications require renewal and reexamination at regular intervals. This ensures the knowledge therein stays up to date and the person is aware of the latest.
- Better pay: Yes – a certification for HR is not free, and there are fees to be paid for the same. However, the benefits far outweigh the initial outlay for the certification exam. The same HRCI study indicated that employers place high value on professional certification, and were also willing to pay significantly higher salaries for these. A 20-metropolitan-city study by Pay uncovered the annual pay difference to be almost USD 60,000 in favor of certified HR professionals as against uncertified candidates.
- International recognition: Global employers often place a higher premium on certification than domestic entities. Degrees still are most often the first consideration, but a certification is a close second when it comes to value perceived by an employer. And when it comes to concerns such as career advancement prospects or return on investment, a certification far outstrips a degree program.
Which are the best institutions for HR certifications?
Several institutions offer certifications for the HR field, with different choices as per experience levels of the candidates, and it is important to make the right choice. Some of the best options are given below:
- HRCI: This is a 40-year veteran and a highly recognized and respected body. It offers certifications for freshers as well as experienced HR professionals. There is a choice of eight certifications, which cover areas such as strategy development, operations, and others. Its well-known certifications include Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).
- Talent Management Institute (TMI): TMI offers an excellent choice of certifications in talent management. Some well-known TMI certifications are Talent Management Professional (TMP), Senior Talent Management Professional (STMP), and Global Talent Management Leader (GTML). As with other certifications, these must be renewed by the specified deadline.