HR certifications – are they needed?

Meta description: An HR certification is a great choice for those looking to grow their careers in the domain of human resources and stay up to pace with the changing dimensions of the field.

There was a time when human resources (HR) was considered essentially as an administrative function. HR personnel would put up job postings, invite applications, screen resumes, conduct interviews, hire people, and pay their salaries, among other tasks considered routine. There was scarcely – if at all – a link with the organisational strategy, and the goal was merely to fill in an available job position.

Have things changed for HR?

HR today is a world apart from the past. Employment screening and queries on benefits are among traditional tasks that HR professionals still handle. However, their pivotal roles lie in high-level planning through charting strategic direction and shaping key policies by consulting with top company executives.

This also means that the demand now is for HR professionals who can help in managing different aspects of the organisation. Their responsibilities span recruiting, firing, compensation, team-building opportunities, disputes, and more. The shortage of talented professionals means intense competition for talent, and hence the need for highly qualified HR professionals to find such talent. In this situation, an HR certification could be a key step in a bright future for an HR career, changing it for the better.

What are certifications for HR professionals?

These are certifications offered by leading HR organisations, and are valuable credentials for an HR career. For employers and colleagues, a certified HR professional offers the trust of possessing the requisite knowledge and skills.

Is it important to get certified?

Choosing to get one of the best HR certifications is important for an HR professional. This is for the following reasons:

  • Certifications are considered when making a hiring decision.
  • Certified professionals inspire more confidence and trust than those not certified, and are often more motivated and knowledgeable too.
  • The financial performance and competitive advantage of organisations is positively impacted by the work of certified HR professionals.

Are certifications important for an HR career?

An HR certification is a long-term commitment to a rewarding career in HR, a sign to colleagues and the company itself that the candidate is serious and driven to make a successful career in HR. A number of factors make them important, as detailed below:

  • Augmenting the skillset: For improved performance, it is imperative for HR professionals to advance their knowledge and skills. A certified HR professional is up to speed with current topics and technology, and thereby helps in staying ahead of the curve.
  • A criterion for getting hired: It is increasingly common to see job openings for HR professionals mentioning that certifications are preferred or are even prerequisites for being considered. A certification helps you stand out from competition.
  • Potential for higher earnings: Professionals holding one of the best HR certifications can earn up to 93% more than their non-certified counterparts.
  • A chance to climb the career ladder: An HR professional with a certification is a prime candidate for a promotion or a growth in roles and responsibilities within the organisation or to other organisations as well.

Which certification should an HR professional choose?

A candidate looking to become a certified HR professional has a number of choices. Some of these are listed below:

  • Talent Management Practitioner (TMP): The TMP from the Talent Management Institute (TMI) is a good choice for young HR professionals moving into talent management, and serves as a top-up certification for those graduating with an HR major or a similar discipline. It helps to reengineer the understanding of the field as a modern professional, and is often picked by MBAs and HR personnel across specializations.
  • Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR): From the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), aPHR is designed for professionals just beginning their HR journey. It testifies to a foundational knowledge of human resources and is useful to fast track their career growth. No work experience is required, as this is a knowledge-based credential.
  • SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP): Offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), this is a useful HR certification for those who are engaged in policy and strategy implementation as well as serving as points of contact for staff and stakeholders, delivering HR services, and performing operational HR functions.
  • IPMA-HR Certified Professional (IPMA-CP): From the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR), this is designed for entry- or mid-level public sector HR professionals, demonstrating their superior knowledge and skills in all facets of HR through a knowledge-based exam.
  • People Analytics for HR (PAHR): This HR certification is offered by the Human Capital Institute (HCI), and is designed in line with the growing role of people analytics across the talent lifecycle. It offers the terminology, skills and knowledge needed to gain insights from data, thereby helping to make more evidence-based decisions.

A professional certification is clearly a highly valued credential for HR professionals around the world. So, get certified and see your career soar to new heights!

Ariaa Reeds is a professional writer and a blogger who writes for a variety of online publications.

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