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How HR Certification is a good career move

HomeEducationalHow HR Certification is a good career move

When looking for a job in HR (as much as in any other domain), there is typically a pool of candidates applying for a limited set of jobs. It becomes necessary to make efforts to stand out from the competition, and typically the differences are on two counts:

  • Duration and diversity of work experience: a parameter that by definition is time-dependent and cannot be speeded up in any way.
  • Academic qualifications: can be augmented at any time, with the choice being determined by the amount of time and money available to spend as per personal priorities.

Is certification compulsory?

For a HR professional, a HR certification is never a mandatory part of the profile of a candidate. If, however, you consider your career over the long term, getting certified is a valuable investment in your future. Specific points with regards to picking from among the best certifications for HR professionals are given below:

  • The demand for human resource professionals is projected to grow 9% by 2024, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • Nearly half of HR managers prefer candidates who are certified.
  • Certifications are not specified as essential requirements in most job descriptions; however, they are indicated as “preferred” or a “strong plus” among the skills of a candidate.

Why is certification advisable?

Getting a global HR certification is not a prerequisite to make a start in a HR career. It does, though, have the following advantages:

  • For the specific role sought by a candidate, a good certification is a source of specialized knowledge, skills and resources.
  • Getting certified is a sign of an initiative-driven individual, and senior management in the target company appreciates the effort to supplement one’s education.
  • As compared to peers who are not certified, professionals with HR certifications receive more promotions and achieve success in their career faster.

What are the advantages of getting certified?

Choosing whether or not to get certified is typically determined by long-term career goals of a candidate. The positives of global HR certifications are many:

Competitive advantage vis-à-vis other candidates by being distinguished as an expert in the field

According to a survey by Payscale, getting certified creates a 29% higher chance of securing a promotion and moving up the ladder in the current organization than by not choosing a certification

A candidate can negotiate not just a higher salary but a substantially higher salary. Candidates equipped with the best certifications for HR professionals earned 17% higher salaries on an average than those without, in 2008; this advantage shot up to 31.6% in 2018. This alone is often more than worth the effort and time invested in the process

What are the types of certifications?

Candidates can make a choice from among the following types of certifications:

Certification in talent management

Talent management (TM) is wrongly considered synonymous with HR. It evaluates a candidate not just in terms of suitability for the immediate role but for possible future roles as well as the fit with the organizational culture and practices. In that sense, it is a specialized domain within the broader roles of HR professionals. Some of the popular institutions with TM certifications are:

Talent Management Institute (TMI) : five certifications, including two programs in collaboration with the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Association for Talent Development (ATD): a total of 100+ programs, including TM and other disciplines within HR

Certification in human resources

The following institutions offer some of the best certifications for HR professionals:

Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI): eight certifications covering HR operations, HR strategy development and more

Human Capital Institute (HCI): eight certifications on leadership transformation and development, strategic workforce planning, change management, and more.

Can certifications be done online?

 The exams for most global HR certifications require dedicated preparation. The candidate must first choose the exam to take, and apply for the same. After completing the application and payment, the next step typically is scheduling the exam date, post which the candidate can begin preparations. Online resources for preparation are aplenty, but the best certifications for HR professionals tend to require taking the exam in person at select testing locations across the city or country, as the case may be.

How does re-certification work?

A HR certification is not valid for life! Maintaining the “certified” status implies a long-term commitment to staying on top of the field by studying current HR best practices and desired competencies.

The rules and requirements differ as per specific certifications, but typically,

A certain number of professional development credits are required annually to remain certified

The other option tends to be retaking the exam after a specific duration

Let us look at some specific re-certification requirements:

TMI: Credentials must be renewed by the specified deadline. Training is not mandatory, and only a short–duration online refresher learning program must be completed. The certifications are typically valid for three or five years.

ATD: A variety of professional development activities must be completed, along with a specific number of re-certification points to be earned within each three-year certification cycle. Candidates need to submit a tracking worksheet of their professional development activities and make the required payment.

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