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Do I Need Certifications to Work in Human Resources?


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Certifications Mean More in Larger Organizations

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Question: Do I Need Certifications to Work in Human Resources?

No, you don't need any kind of certification to work in the field of Human Resources. Increasingly, however, Human Resources professionals are seeking certification as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) through the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). There are additional certifications available through professional associations in such areas as Compensation and Benefits management.

Keep in mind, going forward, that you will be competing in the job market with people who have earned these certifications that will be valued in the job market depending upon the company’s requirements and depending upon the job.

In my experience, many companies recognize these certifications as measuring transactional and administrative-type functions. Companies looking for more strategic, financial, and organization development skills in their HR staff don't advertise these credentials as essential for applicants. In fact, many post these certifications as optional or decide not to require them at all.

But, consider your plans for your HR career. If you want to work in a large company or in a big city, HR certifications are more common. If you plan to become an HR consultant, speak regularly at SHRM and other conferences, and impress clients, make certification a priority. In smaller cities and in most small-to-mid-sized businesses, the HR certification is not necessary.

I recommend that people with this question talk to current HR people where you live and want to work to have a definitive answer about whether you need HR certifications.

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