For aspiring young professionals who enjoy working with people, an HR career is a top choice. Academic prerequisites for an HR career typically comprise a minimum of an undergraduate degree in HR or related disciplines. For those seeking higher positions such as that of HR leaders, a graduate degree in HR or related disciplines is often sought, combined with a sufficient level of relevant work experience.
What is an HR certification?
A certification in HR is a credential issued by a reputed and respected institution, proving that the holder possesses the latest skills and know-how in the HR field. It is a testament to the person having strong knowledge of HR strategy and management, and being ready to take on challenging roles and higher responsibilities.
HR certifications can be generic in their coverage, or they could cover specific, specialized topics. Some common areas of coverage include employee training and development, talent acquisition and development, ethics and empathy, and communication and conflict resolution.
How does a certification help HR leaders?
For an HR professional, a certification in HR is a great way to get the best jobs in the field, and secure faster growth in an HR career. And given the options available in certifications, there is something suitable for a beginner in HR as well as a mid- or senior-level professional.
Which are the top HR certifications?
Given how broad the field is, it becomes important to select the right certification. There are plenty of choices available in HR certifications, differing in their coverage, duration, and price. Here are the top choices:
- Professional in Human Resources (PHR) from the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI): A great way to make an entry into the HR field, the PHR offers coverage of the most important topics for a beginner in HR. It covers employee and labor relations, business management, talent acquisition and planning, total rewards, and learning and development. It shows that the holder has a strong command over operational and technical aspects of HR management, as well as laws and regulations in the US. It is targeted at a person who thinks tactically and logistically, has worked in program implementation, and is accountable to another HR professional within the organization. Applicants must have a minimum of one year of work experience, along with a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
- SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM): This certification is meant for HR professionals who handle the implementation of strategies and policies, perform operational HR functions, and deliver HR services, and serve as the points of contact for stakeholders and staff. The exam is accredited by the Buros Center for Testing, a premier test review center located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The exam covers HR-specific knowledge items, foundational knowledge items, situational judgment items, and field-test questions. Specific areas of coverage include leadership, business, interpersonal matters, people, organization, and the workplace.
- Talent Management Practitioner (TMPTM) from the Talent Management Institute (TMI): The TMPTM certification proves the potential and promise of the certification holder as a modern practitioner in HR. A great way to launch a career in HR, it positions the holder strongly for jobs in talent management and HR. It aims to redo the understanding of the HR field for the aspiring modern HR professional, and when combined with an HR degree, it can help in securing a great job in talent management. Commonly sought by candidates with majors in HRM, industrial psychology, labor relations, and personnel management.
- Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) from the Association for Talent Development (ATD): CPTD is a professional certification targeted at talent development professionals who have worked for at least five years. It shows the presence of knowledge and skill across the breadth of talent development and aims at building personal and professional capabilities as well as impacting organizational capability.
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