16 Types of HR Certifications for Each Step in Your Career

The four most recognized types of HR certifications are: SHRM-CP®, SHRM-SCP®, PHR® and SPHR®. The SHRM-CP stands for the Society of Human Resource Management Certified Professional, and the SHRM-SCP stands for SHRM Senior Certified Professional.

Types of HR Certifications and their impact on salary & career

Beginner certifications in HR

Even if you lack any prior work experience, holding a human resources certification proves that you possess the abilities necessary to be successful in the field. Obtaining a foundational certification will allow you to be considered for human resources positions if you are just beginning your career in this field. Because they go over the fundamental knowledge needed to be successful in entry-level HR roles, these certifications are excellent for beginners:

Associate Professional in Human Resources

The Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPRH) designation is offered by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) to new HR professionals who can prove their understanding of HR foundational concepts. The aPHR, which covers topics like HR operations, recruitment, compensation, and employee relations, doesn’t require any prior experience. The combined application and exam fee is $400.

Talent Management Practitioner

People who are in entry-level HR positions or who are finishing their college education in an HR field can get certified by the Talent Management Institute as a talent management practitioner. The exam assesses knowledge in areas such as recruiting technology, performance management, onboarding, identifying leadership potential, and talent development. The total certification fee is $625 which includes study materials.

Digital HR Specialist

The Digital HR Specialist certification is one of many courses offered by the Academy to Innovate Human Resources (AIHR) that are devoted to how technology interacts with HR systems. Because there are no prerequisites for this self-paced certification, it’s perfect for those who are just entering the HR industry. In the program’s final project, you get to practice developing digital HR resources. Topics covered include technology implementation and UX design for employees. The entire certification program costs $997.

What is an HR certification?

A professional designation that attests to your command of human resources-related topics is an HR certification. A course or exam are typically required to become a certified HR professional. Obtaining an HR certification demonstrates your knowledge of the accepted practices in the field, which may be necessary to get a job, advance your career, or increase your income.

Types of HR certifications for career advancement

You can look for certifications to demonstrate your advanced knowledge and skills once you have some experience in human resources roles. These intermediate and advanced certifications vouch for your capacity to oversee intricate HR systems and utilize the fundamentals of HR in practical contexts:

Professional and Senior Professional in Human Resources

HR professionals with experience can take the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) exam from the HRCI. You need to have four years of HR experience, a master’s degree, and at least two years of HR experience in order to sit for the PHR exam. Advanced HR topics like business management, industry regulations, and HR logistics are the focus of the exam. The total exam cost is $495.

You can be eligible for the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certificate from the HRCI if you have more than seven years of HR experience, four years of HR experience plus a master’s degree, or five years of experience plus a bachelor’s degree. By integrating HR principles into an organizational and strategic context, this exam, which costs $595, expands upon the PHR.

SHRM Certified Professional and Senior Certified Professional

Known for its HR certification programs, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is a professional organization. You can become eligible to receive the SHRM Certified Professional designation if you have at least three years of experience in HR or a related degree and more than a year of experience. The exam covers the creation and application of HR policies and consists of both general knowledge questions and scenario questions.

You can confirm your senior-level qualifications once you have more experience by taking the SHRM Senior Certified Professional exam. A minimum of seven years of experience is required for this certificate, or an equivalent level of education and experience. The exam focuses on long-term HR management systems and strategic applications of best practices in HR. The cost of the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams is $375 for members of SHRM and $475 for nonmembers.

Certified Compensation Professional

The Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) certification is an HR certification program offered by the WorldatWork professional association for human resources. The emphasis of this certification exam is on understanding of pay systems, employee payroll, pay rate programs, compensation documentation, incentive options, and other financial aspects of human resources. Exam costs vary depending on the courses and study resources you choose.

Certified Professional in Talent Development

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) offers the Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) title to HR professionals with at least five years of HR experience and at least 60 hours of professional development. The test evaluates your capacity to select qualified job candidates, develop their skills, and create internal procedures that encourage staff retention. ATD members pay $900 for the CPTD exam, while nonmembers pay $1,250.

International certifications

Having an international HR certification can be beneficial if you’ve ever thought about working abroad or moving up in a multinational corporation. Each nation has its own cultural norms, expectations, and operating procedures for proper conduct in the workplace. Obtaining an international certification demonstrates your command of HR principles internationally. The following are some of the most important certifications you can earn to prove to employers your knowledge of global HR:

Professional in Human Resources – International

For HR professionals who want to work internationally, HRCI offers a certification track. You can apply for three certification levels: Associate Professional in Human Resources – International (aPHRi), Professional in Human Resources – International (PHRi), and Senior Professional in Human Resources – International (SPHRi), depending on your work experience and educational background. These credentials demonstrate your capacity to utilize HR principles in a global setting. Prices for the aPHRI start at $400 and go up to $595 for the SPHRi.

Global Professional in Human Resources

For HR professionals with experience in multinational HR practices, HRCI also offers the Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) title. The GPHR exam concentrates more on how HR can assist companies in growing internationally and delivering consistent support across numerous countries than the PHRi certification track does. You must be able to respond to inquiries about global talent management, international compensation, workplace culture, and hiring procedures in order to become certified. The combined exam and application fee is $595.

Global Talent Management Leader

By enrolling in the Global Talent Management Leader program, you can also obtain an international HR certificate from the Talent Management Institute. This certification is intended for HR professionals with prior experience who wish to exhibit their comprehension of international HR standards and practices for business operations abroad. The certification program’s $1,750 cost covers comprehensive training sessions and seminars that help you pass the test.

Specialty certifications for HR

HR professionals oversee a variety of employer-employee relationships, and obtaining a specialty certification will allow you to demonstrate your expertise in a particular area. You can demonstrate your advanced knowledge in a human resources specialty by pursuing one of SHRM’s many certification options for in-depth HR topics. Some of the specialty certifications you can earn include:

HR Department of One

For individuals who are the only HR specialist at a company, the HR Department of One specialty credential is available. The evaluation addresses issues like how to implement strategic initiatives as a sole HR employee and develop human capital management resources. A certificate from HR Department of One demonstrates your capacity to independently develop unique HR solutions for small businesses. For SHRM members, this certification program costs $1,305, and for non-members, it costs $1,580.

Inclusive Workplace Culture

Understanding how corporate culture can affect organizational diversity and inclusion is demonstrated by the SHRM Inclusive Workplace Culture specialty credential. People who have earned the Inclusive Workplace Culture certification are equipped with the knowledge and abilities to create an engaging, sensitive, and inclusive company culture. You can begin taking the courses for the Inclusive Workplace Culture certification by paying $1,655 as an SHRM member or $1,930 as a nonmember for the test materials.

People Analytics

Human resources professionals can benefit from being able to gather and analyze data about the workforce, which is why SHRM offers the People Analytics specialty credential. Studying for this certification will teach you about crucial HR metrics and how to apply them in the workplace. Members must pay $1,655 for the exam, while nonmembers must pay $1,930.

Talent Acquisition

The recruitment component of human resources is the focus of the SHRM Talent Acquisition specialty credential. This certification exam covers hiring technology, hiring trends, employee onboarding, global hiring practices, candidate relationships, and recruitment analytics. By earning a certification in talent acquisition, you can demonstrate to employers that you have the skills necessary to attract top candidates and successfully onboard them. If you are an SHRM member, certification costs $1,655 as opposed to $1,930 for nonmembers.

U.S. Employment Immigration

Get the U.S. visa to demonstrate your ability to manage international hiring initiatives. S. Employment Immigration specialty credential. This certification shows that you are knowledgeable about the rules and laws governing immigrants in the US and are capable of assisting employers in remaining compliant when managing employee verification and candidate visa applications. Members must pay $1,655 for this SHRM credential, and nonmembers must pay $1,930.

Workplace Investigations

You might have to look into complaints and handle workplace conflict if you work in human resources. Best practices for conducting workplace investigations are highlighted by the SHRM Workplace Investigations specialty credential. Implicit bias, formal investigation procedures, legal support, and complaint resolution are among the subjects covered on the Workplace Investigations test. Exams are $1,305 for SHRM members and $1,580 for non-members.


Which is the best certification for HR?

5 Best Human Resource Management Certifications In 2022
  • Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP)
  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
  • United International Business Schools (UIBS)
  • Senior SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)

What is the most common HR certification?

The Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification is the HRCI credential that is most frequently obtained; 16 In our 2018 survey, 9% of HR professionals responded that they hold this certification.

Which HR certification is easiest?

With an exam pass rate of 84%, the aPHR is also the simplest certification to obtain.

What are the 7 types of human resources?

Identifying Seven Major Functions of Human Resources
  • Strategic Management. …
  • Workforce Planning and Employment (recruitment and selection) …
  • Human Resource Development (training & development) …
  • Total Rewards (compensation & benefits) …
  • Policy Formulation. …
  • Employee and Labor Relations. …
  • Risk Management.

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