The HR world was taken on a wild ride this past spring when the Society of Human Resources announced a new HR certification program that is set to begin in January 2015. HR professionals dashed to their desks in hopes to find out more information and how this would impact them and their current certifications.

The certification program name was recently announced at SHRM’s Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando. The two new certifications are; SHRM Certified Professional and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP).

The past few months have left many HR professionals confused and skeptical about why the new certification additions. Professionals have scoured the internet trying to find answers to their questions and main concerns.

President and CEO of SHRM, Henry G. Jackson assures HR professionals in a statement, “The new certification will have no impact on any of the HR Certification Institute’s portfolio of certifications, although SHRM will no longer be supplying the HRCI’s Learning System preparation material.” When asked why these changes, Jackson stated, “Business demands have changed and SHRM, as the leader in HR professional development, has the responsibility of ensuring our members have the tools and resources they need to meet those expectations.”

Among many reasons to this huge change in the HR certification world, we have uncovered the top reasons for these new certifications are:

  • To establish a certification that is highly relevant to employers and meets the needs of business.
  • To grow certification in the HR profession, this has currently plateaued in the U.S. at around 12 percent.
  • To elevate the profession and create a universal standard for HR.

To try and put an end to this confusion, here are some specific highlights from the new SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP certifications that we gathered from the annual conference:

  • SHRM’s competency-based certification will differ from others: most certification exams are knowledge-based, and SHRM’s new competency-based certification is focused on teaching and testing the practical, real-life information HR professionals need to excel in their careers. So to narrow it down, this will include knowledge, skills, and competencies. The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP will more closely measure not only what you know, but how you apply that knowledge in the situations you face every day.
  • Competency-based makes more sense for certification: as businesses continue to grow, jobs globally will be replaced by technology or huge changes to business operations are being made. This means that the standards in practicing good HR beyond basic knowledge will help HR professionals to demonstrate the unique and critical value of HR.

But even with these more than obvious positive outcomes, there is still some concern as to why the current certifications could not have been tweaked.

According to SHRM, if you currently hold a HRCI credential, you will be in good standing and eligible for either the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP by taking an online tutorial. Highlights to this are:

  • If you hold an HR senior generalist certification, such as an SPHR, GPHR or HRMP, you will be eligible for the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).
  • If you hold an HR generalist certification, such as a PHR or HRBP, you will be eligible for the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).

Most importantly, you will not lose or have to give up any of your current credentials in order to obtain the new SHRM Certification. And although pricing has not yet been announced, the online tutorial will begin on January 2, 2015.

If there are any updates or announcements made to the new SHRM certifications, we will be sure to post them here. If you have any questions or concerns, please visit the SHRM FAQ page.

What do you think about SHRM’s new HR certification? Please add your comments below.

About the Author

Angela Caban is a columnist and published author. She has over 8 years of professional experience in Human Resources, focusing on labor and employee relations. She currently is an instructor for Ed4Online where she teaches what she loves most, Human Resource Essentials. Angela has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. She resides in New Jersey with her family.