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Are HR Certifications Worth It?

Certification in human resources

June 19 2020 - As an HR professional, you want to advance your career. The top HR managers earn up to nearly $200,000 a year, while the top human resources specialists earn about $105,000 a year.

You may be tempted to get as many HR certifications as you can to make the leap from an HR specialist to an HR manager. That may not be the key to further your career.

If you're considering getting a certification in human resources, you'll want to keep reading. Find out if HR certifications are worth it and how you can choose the right ones to make it worthwhile.

Benefits of HR Certification

Are HR certifications worth it? That's a question that you should ask before you decide to make the commitment to get certified in HR. These are some of the benefits that you can see by getting certified.

More Opportunities

Payscale compared promotion opportunities for HR professionals who are certified with those who aren't.

In just about all HR positions, those who have a certification received a promotion at a much higher rate than those who don't have one.

Higher Pay

Since you're more likely to get a promotion with an HR certification, you'll be able to earn more money. The HR certification is likely to pay for itself in the long run.

Higher Credibility

A well-regarded certification will carry a lot of weight with managers in your organization. A certification at any stage of your career shows that you are committed to your work and grow as an HR professional.

Larger Professional Network

When you have a professional certification, you have credibility, and you have a common thread with thousands of other HR professionals. You can connect with these individuals through LinkedIn or other professional groups in your area.

Top Certifications for Human Resources

There are two leading organizations that offer human resources certifications. They are the HRCI (HR Certification Institute) and SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management).

SHRM originally started out as a professional organization for HR practitioners. HRCI used to certify HR professionals through SHRM. Several years ago, SHRM decided to offer its own HR certifications, so the two compete against each other.

These are the top certifications you can consider as you move forward in your career.


This is the Global Professional in Human Resources certification. It is overseen by HRCI, and it demonstrates your ability to manage a global workforce. This is ideal if you want to become the HR manager of a multinational company with thousands of employees spread all over the world.

To get the GPHR certification, you have to have the right combination of experience and education. For example, you need a Master's degree plus two years of HR experience. Another combination is to have a high school diploma and four years of HR experience.

You then have to take a 3-hour exam comprised of 140 questions.


This is the SHRM Certified Professional designation. This is intended for professionals that are involved in HR operations, policy development, and strategy. HRCI has a similar certification called the PHR, or Professional in Human Resources.


This is a certification given by HRCI for Senior Professionals in HR. This is the appropriate certification if you have several years of work under your belt and you want to move into a management position.

SHRM has an equivalent certification with its SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).

Choosing the Right HR Certification

As you'll see when you research the different certifications, you'll find that you have so many different ones to choose from. How can you make sure that you choose the right one for your career? Here are some guidelines to use.

How Much HR Experience Do You Have Now?

Your first question should be whether or not you meet the minimum requirements to obtain a certification. If you're still in college preparing for a human resources career, getting an SPHR certification is out of the question.

However, you will be able to get an aPHR certification, which is the Associate Professional in Human Resources. This is for college students, recent graduates, and people just getting started in an HR career.

For those who have years of experience, a senior-level certification will make you a candidate for a management position.

What's Your Career Path?

Do you know where you want your career to go? If you see yourself growing into a global company, then a GPHR certification would be beneficial.

Depending on where you are in your career, you may want to map out your career path and list the certifications that will help you get to the next step.


Ask Other Professionals

Is there someone you know who has a job you'd love to have? You should reach out to that person and introduce yourself. Tell them that you're thinking about an HR certification and you'd like to ask them a few questions.

This will expand your professional network. It will also give you a chance to get real-life information as to the usefulness of a particular certification.

Get Your Certification in Human Resources

Is a certification in human resources worth it? Do you want to make more money and improve your chances of a promotion? If your answer is yes, then you shouldn't hesitate to pursue an HR certification.

There are many different certifications out there. The one that's right for you will depend on your career path and current level of experience. You should also ask other professionals for insights that you may not realize.

Be sure to visit the home page of this site for the latest HR news and tips.

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