The field of human resources represents a competitive endeavor. You need every advantage to land the top jobs. The right certification can set you apart from the competition when you apply for an HR role.

But which ones to choose? Achieving these credentials can be time-consuming and expensive. You’d rather not get one that won’t actually push your career forward.  Here are some things to consider as you make your decision:

Why Should You Get a HR Certification?

An HR certification can accelerate your ascent up the corporate ladder. Studies have found that having the right credentials increases your chance of promotion.

Looking at the specific numbers, data compiled by Payscale showed that 63% of HR assistants with certifications received a promotion within five years. This compared to just 34% for people without certification.

Meanwhile, similar numbers for HR administrators showed the chance of promotion more than doubled for people holding the correct credentials.

Beyond your long-term career potential, you’ll likely receive a paycheck boost from your HR credentials. Another study conducted by Payscale showed an average pay bump of 31.6% from having HR certifications.

Those are the concrete career benefits from obtaining professional credentials. However, you receive other, more general advantages as well.

For instance, one study of people receiving certification found that 55% of U.S. HR professionals obtained their credentials to increase their personal knowledge. Other reasons that received high marks included the goal of keeping up to date in HR knowledge and to increase job confidence.

What Are the Best Certifications?

Knowing the value of certifications, in general, doesn’t help you choose the right one for your career. Here are a few possibilities to consider:

Professional in Human Resources (PHR)

Offered by the HR Certification Institute, or HRCI, the 90-minute exam for the PHR covers the technical details of operating in a human resource environment. Questions relate to things like labor relations, business management, and talent planning.

To be eligible for the exam, you need to have a pre-determined combination of professional experience and academic training. You have to meet one of the following set of requirements:

  • 1+ years of professional HR experience and a Master’s degree or higher
  • 2+ years of professional experience and a Bachelor’s degree
  • 4+ of professional experience and no degree

Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)

The SPHR exam represents the next level past the PHR. It moves beyond day-to-day operations and has more of an emphasis on organization-level concerns. This includes a heavy focus on leadership and strategy.

Like the PHR, the certification is distributed by the HRCI. It requires a two-and-a-half-hour test and one of the following set of prerequisites:

  • 4+ years of professional experience and a Master’s degree or higher
  • 5+ years of professional experience and a Bachelor’s degree
  • 7+ years of professional experience and no degree

SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

You can also get an HR certification from the Society for Human Resource Management, or SHRM. As with the HRCI credentials, this one has a sliding scale of requirements based on your degree and level of experience. Here it also matters if you received an HR-related degree or not.

At the far end, if you have less than a Bachelor’s degree and are not enrolled in a college-level HR program, you’ll need four years of professional experience to qualify. Meanwhile, an applicant with a graduate degree in an HR-related field just needs to be currently working in an HR role — a full year of experience is not necessary.

The SHRM-CP test is four hours long. The 160 questions are split into 95 knowledge questions and 65 situational judgment ones.

Need Help Finding Great HR Career Opportunities? Hiregy Can Help!

Certifications can set you apart from the competition when you apply for HR positions. However, you still need to find the perfect job for you. A top recruiter, like Hiregy, can help.

Contact Hiregy today to discover the ideal HR position for your skills and background.