Posted by: Professionals In Human Resources Association (PIHRA) | August 29, 2011

Certification Adds Value for Your HR Career

Accredited by Institute for Credentialing Excellence, the HR Certification Institute (the Institute) promotes value for both certificants who hold its Professional in Human Resources (PHR®), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®) and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR®) certifications and for their employers and workplaces.

That value was revealed in a survey of 1,500-plus professionals, who stated that certification is highly valued because it reflects the practical and professional experience of the certified HR professionals, shows a commitment to lifelong learning and helps with career advancement. The survey also showed that 62 percent of the U.S. employer and 82 percent of Outside of U.S. employer respondents consider professionally certified employees to have a strong impact on a company’s profitability and that most professionals and employers feel that the demand for  professional certification in the HR field will grow in the next three to five years.

The objective of the research, conducted by the Institute and B2B International, was to understand the awareness, perceptions, and value of HR and other professional certifications, certificates, and degree programs by organizations of varying sizes from the United States and outside of the United States.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • Reputation of the awarding body, as well as experience-based exams, recertification and continued education are the key factors that make certification valuable.
  • Increases in employee engagement, employment satisfaction and productivity are the top ways of measuring the value of professional HR certification, as are reductions in staff churn, training and recruitment costs.

Employers see increasing and updating employees’ knowledge and demonstrating their commitment as the key advantages of professional HR certification. From an employer’s perspective, having employees gain professional HR certification brings numerous advantages to the organization and 97 percent of respondents believe that it is important for people in HR to be professionally certified. In addition, the survey found that:

  • More than half (56 percent) of respondents who are in charge of an HR department believe that having professionally certified employees has a positive impact on the profitability of their organization.
  • Ninety-six percent of employers feel that an HR certified candidate applying for a job would have an advantage over a non-HR certified candidate.
  • Sixty-nine percent of employers state that an HR certified person being considered as an independent consultant for an HR department would have a ‘very significant’ advantage over a non-certified individual.

Employers also felt that professional HR certification increases employees’ confidence in their ability to do their job and increases an organization’s reputation and demonstrates that it takes HR seriously.

There are more than 115,000 HR professionals who hold PHR, SPHR, GPHR or California credentials from the Institute. To mark its 35th Anniversary, the Institute reached out to some of its longest-standing certified HR professionals to learn why they chose to pursue their credentials. Each of these certified HR professionals – some of whom have recertified eight times – say that they have realized great value from certification.

Frances Hume, SPHR/GPHR and HR consultant, became certified in 1985 and has achieved recertification seven times. Hume shared, “To get outside validation that we know the HR body of knowledge, like CPAs know accounting… is like getting the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for HR professionals. It shows we ‘know’ the right things.”

According to Jack Milligan, SPHR/GPHR and HR consultant, who earned his first credential in 1985 and has recertified eight times, “In 1985, I saw certification as an opportunity to differentiate, and it provides a certain amount of exclusivity to those in the HR profession who choose to tackle this challenge.  In those days there was no prep class, there was no Learning System, and the only way to prepare was generalist experience and textual material from collegiate level courses. It was worth it.”

Milligan also said that that becoming certified indicates a commitment to life-long learning and self-motivation.

Milligan says, “If you are serious about a career in this business (HR) you must commit to professional certification.  It demonstrates a mastery of the body of knowledge as well as years of experience as an exempt level professional in the trade.  Without professional certification, you can’t make either statement and your career will be substantially limited.”

Rose Ann Javorek Kay, SPHR/GPHR, has held certification since 1990 and has recertified seven times. She feels that recertification is imperative to keeping current in the HR profession.

“The process of certification, and recertification, shows that HR professionals are exposed to the breadth of HR knowledge – even if they are specialists in one area.  It also shows that they are committed to staying current in the HR field.  Things change so quickly, much more quickly than when I began in this field 24 years ago,” said Kay.


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