If you haven't decided on HR certification or graduate school, you're not alone. It's certainly confusing to figure out which program is best for whom—and why. Ultimately, you'll have to assess your current level of HR competencies, your employer's business imperatives and your short- and long-term career goals, not to mention your available time and financial resources.
PHR (Professional HR)
Objective: To provide certification for the HR generalist at the operational/technical level. Who will benefit: Entry-level HR professionals, students and recent college graduates pursuing the HR profession, and HR professionals who want to round out their basic HR competencies. Who issues it: The Human Resource Certification Institute (http://www.shrm.org/hrci). Time it takes to prepare for the exam: Self-paced. Costs: $285 for Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) members; $325 for non-members.
SPHR (Senior Professional HR)
Objective: To provide certification for more experienced HR professionals on more strategic and policy level competencies. Who will benefit: More senior level HR professionals or those who’ve been in the profession for more than several years. Who issues it: The Human Resource Certification Institute (http://www.shrm.org/hrci). Time it takes to prepare for the exam: Self-paced. Costs: $285 for Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) members; $325 for non-members.
University/College Certificate Programs in Human Resources Management
Objective: To provide HR professionals an academic program in human resources management that covers basic HR competencies, such as fundamentals of HRM, recruitment, retention, compensation, training and development and HR information systems. Who will benefit: Current and future HR professionals seeking to prepare for increased responsibility and promotion, and wanting to matriculate in an academic institution. Who issues it: Colleges and universities nationwide. Requirements: Usually 6 to 10 courses, taken over a period of time appropriate for each student. Costs: Depends on the institution. Some may charge between $175-300 per course. Others may charge a flat fee up to $2,000.
HRM Professional Development Leadership Program Certificate
Objective: To provide HR professionals with change-management leadership skills, such as understanding business process, team behavior, communication and developing analytical skills. Who will benefit: Mid-level HR professionals in the federal government. Who issues it: The International Personnel Management Association (IPMA). Visit http://www.ipma-hr.org Time to complete requirements: The program is conducted in five sessions. Costs: $900 for federal section members; $915 for IPMA members; $1015 for non-members.
CERP (Certified Employee Relations Professional)
Objective: To provide certification of HR professionals who have achieved competency in the use of the Internet and knowledge of employment law. Who will benefit: Any HR professional who wishes to document his or her competencies in technology and employment law. Who issues it: Positive Employee Relations Council (http://www.perc.net/PHRC.html). Time it takes to prepare for the exam: Self-paced. Costs: $95.