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HR Certification: Truly Helpful or a ‘Feel Good’ Thing?

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in HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers three national certifications for HR professionals. A reader of our HR Specialist Forum (www. TheHRSpecialist.com) posed this question: “Do these certifications make you more marketable and earn a higher salary, or are they just a ‘feel good’ thing?”

Here’s how some HR professionals replied:

  1. “I wondered the same thing when I began my quest for my PHR. I’ve found that many companies find a person with PHR/SPHR certification more knowledgeable and credible, which, in turn, makes them more marketable. It does give you that shot in the arm that says, ‘I really know my stuff.’” —Victoria, Texas
  2. “HR certification might be a good step if you work in a large company that faces difficult HR issues or if your goal is to become an HR director. However, if you are in a small company and have no plans to leave, then an HR certification would be more of a ‘feel good’ thing.” —Karl, Arkansas
  3. “I’ll be looking for a new job shortly and I’m happy to see that employers are requiring a PHR/SPHR. It frightens me when they don’t require a PHR or some sort of degree. I have a B.S. degree, but not in HR. I’m looking forward to placing those three letters after my name.” —Monica, Chicago
  4. “I am going for the PHR in the spring in order to be more marketable and ask for a raise. In looking at job sites, it seems the higher-level HR positions require you to be PHR or SPHR certified.” — Rebecca, Arizona
  5. “A combination of both ... but more just a good feeling.” —E.K.
  6. “I didn’t receive any salary increase or promotion for getting my SPHR, nor was I looking for one. Education and credentials are things you do for your own professional accountability.” —Kim Doherty, Delaware
  7. “It’s a combination of both. It definitely makes you aware of more HR-related issues. More importantly, it’s a nice validation of your knowledge.” —Eileen, New York  

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