an article by Kevin Tray, MS, SPHR – CHRA Director, Marketing
As you may have heard, SHRM has announced its own certification credentials, the SHRM-CP (Certified Professional) and the SHRM-SCP (Senior Certified Professional). These credentials will come into effect in 2015 and will exist along with the current credentials that are used by about 130,000 HR professionals, the PHR, SPHR and GPHR.
It’s important to first understand that the existing PHR/SPHR/GPHR does not come from SHRM. The PHR/SPHR/GPHR are products of the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). HRCI was formed in 1976 as a separate entity from SHRM in order to design a certification module for HR professionals without a conflict of interest with SHRM. SHRM has supported the HRCI certifications by providing learning modules for those who are preparing to take the PHR/SPHR/GPHR exams.
In June 2014, SHRM announced that they were creating a separate set of credentials, the SHRM-CP and the SHRM-SCP. These certifications will exist along with the current HRCI credentials and will differ from the PHR/SPHR/GPHR primarily through the use of a competency based testing model and different education/experience requirements.
Details on the HRCI certification program can be found here: http://www.hrci.org/
Details on the SHRM certification program can be found here: http://certification.shrm.org/
I had the opportunity to attend SHRM’s announcement of their new certification at the Annual SHRM Conference in Orlando this June and since then, I’ve heard a lot of questions from HR professionals. While many answers can be found on the websites listed above, below I will try to provide answers to the questions that I’ve heard most frequently. Please note that all opinions provided are my own, are accurate to the best of my knowledge and do not necessarily represent the views of the Chesapeake Human Resources Association.
Will the SHRM certification replace the HRCI certification?
HRCI has indicated that they will continue to offer their product as they have been doing.
Why did SHRM create this new certification?
The official reason from SHRM is that they wanted to create a certification that better reflects the qualifications and more accurately tests the knowledge to be successful in the HR field. HRCI maintains that their certification remains the standard. While both organizations have avoided explicitly saying that they are in competition with each other, both have clearly indicated that they each feel that their respective product is the best one for the HR professional.
What if I’m not yet certified? Which one should I choose, or should I choose both?
That is something everyone must decide for him or herself. I recommend reviewing information on both certifications and choosing the one (or both or neither) that makes the most sense for your personal and professional goals.
Is it true if I hold my PHR/SPHR/GPHR, that I can obtain the new SHRM certification without having to take the SHRM certification exam?
Yes, SHRM has said that anyone holding the PHR/SPHR/GPHR by the end of the Winter 2014 testing window (January 31, 2015), will be eligible to earn the corresponding SHRM certification by signing a form indicating that your HRCI certification is currently in good standing, signing the SHRM code of ethics and viewing an online tutorial and taking a short quiz. That offer is available through December 31, 2015.
So do I have to give up my HRCI certification to obtain the new SHRM certification?
No, you can hold both concurrently, provided you maintain them with any required fees and continuing education.
When can I take the SHRM certification exam?
According to SHRM, applications will begin being accepted in January 2015 for the “Spring/Summer” testing window. They do not specify the dates that will make up that testing window.
What about recertification credits? How will that work for the new SHRM certification?
SHRM has stated that in 2015, recertification credits that have been approved for the HRCI certification will count towards the SHRM recertification as well.
As of this date, a decision has not been made regarding recertification credits going forward about whether they will continue to accept credits that have HRCI approval or if they will design their own approval process that programs will need to apply for separately.
For several years, CHRA has provided its members with a PHR/SPHR certification prep course. This very popular program, taught by Helene Schaefer, SPHR, has consistently seen its attendees pass the exam at a rate higher than the national average. Going forward into 2015 and beyond, CHRA will continue to evaluate the needs of our members when determining what programs and educational sessions to provide.