Human Resources Career and Degree Guide
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HR Certification Options and Professional Organizations
Learn about the different HR certification options and organizations for a deeper look into the field.
There are many resources available to both students and professionals to continue their education in the human resources field. An HR certification is an excellent option to solidify your professional development.
From human resources certification programs to human resource-related organizations to a wide variety of reference materials, you can find virtually any information you need to flourish in the HR industry.
Professional human resource certifications provide a widely recognized way to demonstrate your HR knowledge and training. The Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) awards several levels of professional certification:
- PHR (Professional in Human Resources)—The PHR Certification exam is comprised of a test in the following areas: strategic development, workforce planning and employment, human resource development, total rewards, employee and labor relations and risk management.
- SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources)—The SPHR Certification exam is comprised of a test in the following areas: strategic development, workforce planning and employment, human resource development, total rewards, employee and labor relations and risk management.
- GPHR (Global Professional in Human Resources)—The GPHR Certification exam is comprised of a test in the following areas: strategic HR management, organizational effectiveness and employee development, global staffing, international assignment management, global compensation and benefits and international employee relations and regulations.
- PHR-CA and SPHR-CA (PHR and GHR with state certification in California)—The California certification is designed to augment the PHR and SPHR certifications and it focuses on California laws and practices that are different from federal laws and practices.
HRCI certifications require a "hands-on" experience component, which generally translates to approximately 2 years of experience as an HR professional. This qualification adds a great deal of value to the certification and is helpful in convincing employers that you are as well-versed in HR practice as you are in theory. These certifications also require you to complete a certificate or degree program and pass an exam.
There are many non-profit professional organizations associated with the human resources industry, offering substantial educational, networking, and support benefits for HR professionals. Here are some organizations that may be useful for you as you pursue your career:
- International Association for Human Resource Information Management
The International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM) is your link to the unique world of HR information management, systems issues, trends and technology.
- Society for Human Resource Management
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world's largest association devoted to human resource management. As an influential voice, the Society's mission is also to advance the human resource profession to ensure that HR is recognized as an essential partner in developing and executing organizational strategy.
- National Human Resources Association
Established in 1951, the National Human Resources Association (NHRA) is a network of local affiliates focused on advancing the development of human resource professionals.
- International Public Management Association for Human Resources
IPMA-HR is an organization that represents the interests of human resource professionals at the Federal, State and Local levels of government. IPMA-HR members consist of all levels of public sector HR professionals. Their goal is to provide information and assistance to help HR professionals increase their job performance and overall agency function by providing cost-effective products, services and educational opportunities.
- HR Certification Institute
The Human Resource Certification Institute began certifying HR professionals in 1976 and develops and delivers credentialing programs in order to validate mastery in human resource management.