hr certifications hero

So it’s time for the upskiller to become the upskillee – in an environment where HR is so often the facilitator of workplace learning and education, it can be difficult to secure safe and reputable sources of upskilling for themselves. The HRCI or Human Resources Certification Institute is an HR credentialing institution offering education recognized as industry-standard. Holding an HR certification isn’t legally required to become an HR professional, however, becoming HR certified is a surefire way to show future employers that you are educated and capable in the field.  

What is HRCI certification?  

HRCI offers multiple types of certifications suited for individuals at any level of their HR career. The process of certification demonstrates a dedication to continued education.  

HRCI offers the following types of certifications: 

Associate Professional in Human Resources, or the aPHR. The aPHR is the starting point for many HRCI certifications. No previous human resource experience is necessary for the aPHR as it is designed for professionals who are just beginning their career journey in HR. The aPHR is also suitable for managers who do not work in HR but do manage teams of people. The aPHR exam covers compliance and risk management, employee relations, talent acquisition, learning and development, and compensation and benefits. 

Professional in Human Resources, or PHR. The HRCI certification PHR is offered for individuals who have a high level of HR education and some HR professional experience or individuals who have had on-the-job learning experiences with HR. The PHR is offered in three tracks – PHRI (International) and PHRca (specific to the state of California.) The PHR exam covers HR information management, employee and labor relations, employee engagement, business management, workforce planning and talent acquisition, learning and development, and total rewards.  

Global Professional in Human Resources, or GPHR. The GPHR is designed for individuals currently in or seeking an HR position that would oversee employee bases in multiple nations. It is a mid-level certification that has some overlap with the PHR (risk management and compliance, and total rewards) but mostly focuses on multinational HR responsibilities such as workplace culture, global mobility, strategic global human resources, and global talent management. 

Senior Professional in Human Resources, or SPHR. The SPHR is primarily designed for senior or c-suite leaders based in the U.S. whose primary responsibilities include planning HR policy rather than implementing it. That is – the SPHR is for the decision-makers! The SPHR exam covers HR information management, safety, and security, and it also covers total rewards and talent management, but it has a much larger focus on leadership and strategy as well as workforce planning and strategic talent acquisition than other HRCI certifications. The SPHR is also offered in an international track (the SPHRi). 

What are HRCI Certification costs? 

HRCI certification cost can vary based on the certification. The range of HRCI certification cost is from $350 to $495, in addition to a $100 application fee. Many employers are willing to reimburse HR professionals for the cost of the exam – inquire with your current HR leaders about available budget for upskilling and continued education. If you are the HR leader and you’re looking to make the case for continuing education to your C-Suite, check out our on-demand webinar for practical tips on breaking the cycle of poor support from executives when it comes to HR and L&D.  

HRCI Recertification 

HRCI certifications are valid for three years after the initial exam. To maintain an HRCI certification, HR professionals need to engage in a process known as recertification. There are multiple paths to recertification – it’s all about choosing the one that makes the most sense to them. The aPHR recertification requirements include 45 CEU (continuing education units), no requirement for specialized credit hours, and one ethics credit. The PHR certification requires 60 hours of CE credits with no required specialized credits, and one ethics credit. The PHRca also requires 60 hours of CE credits and it requires 15 specialized credits specific to California, alongside one ethics credit. The SPHR requires 60 CE credits, 15 specialized credits of Business, and one ethics credit. The GPHR requires 60 credits, 15 specialized credits of Global, and one ethics credit. 

Paths to recertification  

Recertify by exam 

HR professionals can choose to recertify by taking their exam a second time. This is a straightforward process that doesn’t require seeking out CEUs over the course of their recertification cycle.  

Recertify by Provider 

HRCI-approved providers offer recertification or exam prep courses that contain a unique activity ID number. BizLibrary is an HRCI-approved provider and we offer courses specifically designed for HRCI certifications within our content library!  

Recertify with Pre-approved Courses 

Attend a pre-approved HRCI course such as a webinar or development event that has an activity number. BizLibrary offers monthly webinars that have been pre-approved for HRCI credit.  

There are other ways to earn recertification credits as well – HRCI notes that credits can be earned through HR-related activities such as seminars, reading books, attending webinars and online courses, as well as on-the-job experience such as implementing a new program, serving as a presenter, and more. Check out more recertification resources at HRCI

HRCI vs SHRM Certification 

SHRM is another popular and industry-standard source for HR certifications. HRCI is a credentialing institution, whereas SHRM is a member-driven HR-focused organization that also offers certifications. SHRM offers two certifications, the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP, and a number of specialty credentials in topics such as HR Department of One, Talent Acquisitions, and Inclusive Workplace Culture. HRCI also offers specialty credentials, such as the HRCI DEI certification.  

Ultimately, there is no one correct answer when it comes to choosing a SHRM or HRCI certification. Many HR professionals choose to pursue both HRCI and SHRM certifications! This is because both certifications require CEUs, and many CEUs are applicable to both certifications. This is the case for many BizLibrary events, courses, and webinars – we are also partnered with SHRM and offer lots of CEU opportunities for HR professionals pursuing SHRM certifications.  So if you’re faced with a decision like HRCI vs SHRM certification – consider that you might not have to choose!  

BizLibrary and HR Certifications 

BizLibrary is partnered with HRCI (and SHRM!) which means that we offer courses, webinars, and events that are pre-approved for certification credit. Our training library has hundreds of courses that qualify for recertification. This is especially useful for organizations that utilize BizLibrary to upskill their workforce as a whole – we aren’t leaving HR behind! Upskill yourself as an HR professional while you use BizLibrary to provide compliance training, future-proof your workforce, develop your leaders, and more.  

Don't leave HR behind when it comes to upskilling

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