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Issue: When it comes to skills building, many HR specialists think only about the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Risk: SHRM is a great source, but HR pros shouldn't drink all of their HR knowledge from the same well.

Action: Tap into other national and regional organizations that can improve your HR skills and credentials.

You probably look to SHRM, the preeminent HR organization, for your training, education and certification needs. But don't depend on SHRM alone.

Many other organizations in HR and related fields offer a range of seminars, certifications and practical advice. Here are some national options:

1. International Association for Human Resource Information Management (www.ihrim.org) specializes in educating HR on technology solutions. It holds an annual conference and exposition, plus education courses on HRIM systems. Membership: $215.

2. Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (www.ecfc.org) hosts an annual symposium on flexible benefits, plus seminars on topics like cafeteria plans and health care reform. Members can obtain two certifications: Certified in Flexible Compensation (CFC) and Certified in Flexible Compensation Instruction (CFCI).

3. International Personnel Management Association (www.ipma.org) represents HR professionals in federal, state and local governments. Each of the group's four regional chapters holds an annual conference. Choose from two HR certifications: the Certified Professional (IPMA-CP) and the Certified Specialist (IPMA-CS). Membership starts at $299 a year.

4. National Human Resources Association (www.humanresources.org) is a network of local affiliates focused on developing HR professionals. Its Web site offers education resources and a list of local seminars and meetings. Member dues vary by location, but average $150.

5. American Society for Training and Development (www.astd.org) hosts an annual conference and regular seminars on training, e-learning, ROI, etc. It awards several certifications in e-learning instruction and design. Membership: $180 per year.

6. WorldatWork (www.worldatwork.org) allows members to call for instant answers on compensation, benefits and rewards. Certifications include Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), Certified Benefits Professional (CBP) and Global Remuneration Professional (GRP). It offers courses on benefits, rewards and compensation. Membership: starts at $295.

7. American Management Association (www.amanet.org) offers local training seminars in human resources, training, leadership and project management. Earn certification at home through self-study certificate programs in areas like human resources management and strategic leadership. Membership starts at $225 a year.

8. Employee Benefit Research Institute (www.ebri.org) produces research and hosts forums on areas such as controlling benefit costs and consumer-driven health care. Membership starts at $1,500.

9. National Institute of Business Management (www.nibm.net), publisher of The HR Specialist, offers a free, weekly e-mail newsletter, plus free HR advice and sample policies in its online Solution Center (www.theHRspecialist.net) and hosts audioconferences on HR topics.

Other helpful organizations:


  • International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans, www.ifebp.org




  • Equal Employment Advisory Council, www.eeac.org




  • Employer's Resource Council, www.ercnet.org




  • Human Resource Planning Society, www.hrps.org


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