Organizational Wellness

10 Great HR Management Certifications for 2023

Aug 4, 2023
Last Updated May 24, 2024

Workplaces are constantly changing, and industries are shifting every day. To keep up with all the changes, many professionals turn to certifications as a way to signal to the world that they know their stuff.  

Most people have heard about tech certifications, business certificates, and even SEO certifications, but what about HR management certifications? With reportedly 5,000 industry certifications out there, there’s something for everyone — including HR!

Human Resources is a complex industry full of fluctuations, so HR certifications exist to help people stay up-to-date. They’re a way to signal to the world that you know all the latest and greatest in HR. 

So what are the best certifications you can get in HR in 2023? 

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What Are the Most Common Types of HR Certifications?

When you’re looking for the best HR certifications, it helps to have a grasp on what the most common certifications are. 

There are four common types of HR certifications out there, and understanding the categories can help you determine what kind of certification might help excel your career: 

  • Entry-level. These certifications are the ones that can help you kickstart your HR career and get your foot in the door in an HR department. Certifications can help you get a job—but they need to be great certifications to really get you far. 
  • Career advancement. Once you’ve got a job, certifications can actually still help you. Getting career advancement certifications can help signal to your employers that you care about your work and about improving. It also gives you an edge over other candidates when you’re looking for promotions or progression opportunities. 
  • Specialty. Specialty certifications are skills-based certifications. They show that you have a certain level of competency in a particular skill that’s needed for a position. Here’s a quick example: a job requires proficiency in Spanish. A Spanish certification is an easy way to show that employer you are definitely qualified, and you don’t have to try and quantify your Spanish skills for them. 
  • International. Every country has unique requirements for professions. International certifications show you understand those for a particular country and are prepared to work there. 

Essentially, these certifications are a recognition of your expertise. Depending on where you’re at in your career, you’ll choose certifications that meet your needs. They’re a way for you to communicate to employers what skills and competencies you have. 

The Importance of HR Certifications

Why do HR certifications matter? Getting certifications sends a strong message to employers and potential employers: you are passionate about what you do, and you’re qualified to do it. That gives you an edge in so many ways. It’s a way to stay ahead of the curve.

What does this edge look like? It looks like promotions, higher salaries, and more. Certified HR managers are promoted more quickly and fill more of the upper management positions. It makes sense. The certified individuals show a certain drive as well as capability for the positions. Certified HR professionals also make more money than their un-certified counterparts, another serious benefit of taking the time to get some certifications. 

So whether you’re looking to get started in a career or to push yourself over the edge for a C-suite position, HR certifications might be what you’re looking for! 

10 Great Certifications in HR Management

Let’s look at the 10 of the best certifications in HR management you can get in 2023 to boost your career—wherever your current level. There are three steps to get an HR certificate: 

  • Find your certification course. We’ll help you do just that below!
  • Prepare for the exam. You can get materials right from your certification provider. Be sure to study the flash cards, terms, and more, like a study group with a co-worker who’s also taking the course.
  • Take the exam. Once you pass, you get the certificate showing that you are qualified. 

  1. Professional in Human Resources (PHR) by HR Certification Institute (HRCI)

The Professional in Human Resources® (PHR) certificate is a program for HR professionals a few years into their careers who are looking for a boost. This certificate covers workforce planning and recruiting, employee relations, compensation, and benefits. 

To get this certificate, you must meet one of the following eligibility requirements: 

  • Have at least 1 year of HR experience and a Master’s degree or higher
  • Have at least 2 years of HR experience and a Bachelor’s degree
  • Have at least 4 years of HR experience and a high school diploma

When you’re ready to take the test, you will need to pay $100 to apply and then $395 for the exam itself. Once you pay for the exam, you can’t withdraw or receive a refund. 

Learn more about the PHR! 

  1. Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by HRCI

While the PHR is designed for entry-level HR professionals, the Senior Professional in Human Resources® (SPHR®) is a certification for seasoned experts who are looking to demonstrate their industry knowledge and expertise. After all, if you’re eligible for this certification, you really have been around HR for a long time and know your stuff. 

To be eligible for the SPHR, you need to meet one of the following requirements: 

  • Have at least 4 years of professional-level HR experience and a Master’s degree or higher
  • Have at least 5 years of professional-level HR experience and a Bachelor’s degree
  • Have at least 7 years of professional-level HR experience and a high school diploma

Once you’re ready for the SPHR, you’ll pay a $100 application fee and a $495 test fee. This certification is considered a career advancement certificate. 

Learn more about the SPHR!

  1. Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) by HRCI

Global Professional in Human Resources® (GPHR) is the final step for anyone who wants to climb the international certification ladder. This certificate signals that you’re ready to work outside the US or in international teams. 

To qualify for the GPHR, you have to have global HR experience. What does that mean? Global HR experience is defined as having direct, cross-border HR responsibilities for two or more countries or regions. That could involve working internationally or on international teams. 

You also must meet one of the following descriptors:

  • Have at least two years of experience in a global professional-level HR position and a Master’s degree or higher
  • Have at least three years of experience in a professional-level HR position (at least two in global HR) and a Bachelor’s degree
  • Have at least four years of experience* in a professional-level HR position (at least two in global HR) and a high school diploma

The application fee is $100, and the test fee is $495. 

Learn more about the GPHR!

  1. Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

The SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM®-CP) certificate is offered by Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) for professionals who have been in the industry for a few years and are looking to progress to management. The eligibility requirements for SHRM-CP will vary depending on if you graduated with an HR degree or not.

If you have an HR-related degree: 

  • You must be working in any HR position and have a Master’s degree OR
  • Have at least 1 year of experience in an HR role and have a Bachelor’s degree OR
  • Have at least 3 years in an HR role and less than a Bachelor’s degree

If you don’t have an HR-related degree: 

  • Have at least 1 year of HR experience  and a graduate degree OR
  • Have at least 2 years of HR experience and a Bachelor’s degree OR
  • Have at least 3 years of HR experience and less than a Bachelor’s degree

The application fee is $50. Then the test fee will vary depending on if you’re a member of SHRM or not. If you are, it’s $410. If you’re not a member, it’s $510. 

Learn more about the SHRM-CP!

  1. Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) by SHRM

The SHRM Senior Certified Professional® (SHRM–SCP®) is a certificate for seasoned professionals looking to make the jump to C-suite in the next few years. It’s a strong career advancement certificate. Like all SHRM certifications, the qualifications will vary depending on if you hold an HR-related degree.

If you hold an HR-related degree, you must fulfill ONE of the requirements: 

  • Have at least 3 years of HR experience and a graduate degree
  • Have at least 4 years of HR experience and a Bachelor’s degree
  • Have at least 6 years of HR experience and less than a Bachelor’s degree

If you don’t have an HR-related degree, you must fulfill ONE of the requirements: 

  • Have at least 4 years of HR experience and a graduate degree
  • Have at least 5 years of HR experience and a Bachelor’s degree
  • Have at least 7 years of HR experience and less than a Bachelor’s degree

The application fee is $50. The test fee depends on if you’re an SHRM member or not. If you’re a member, it’s $410. If you’re not, it’s $510. 

Learn more about the SHRM-SCP!

  1. Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) by WorldatWork

The Certified Compensation Professional certification is a full-length course that takes about 160 hours to complete. You have to complete 10 courses and 10 exams to receive the full certification. It’s a bit on the pricey side: $13,500 for members or $19,290 for non-members. It’s worth asking if your employer will cover some of the cost as part of your professional development given the additional value it will help you provide the organization. 

The good news is that there are no eligibility requirements! It’s aimed at mid-level HR professionals looking to improve their knowledge, but technically, if you pay the cost, take the courses, and pass the exam, you can get CCP certified. 

Learn more about the CCP! 

  1. Certified Benefits Professional (CBP) by WorldatWork

Benefits are vital to retaining your employees, so getting more training on how to provide that is awesome—for you, your organization, and everyone at your organization. In fact, 93% of respondents in a 2024 survey said that they consider benefits as important as salary. This certification can help you provide great benefits for everyone at your organization. 

To get the CBP, there are no eligibility requirements, but it’s aimed at entry-level or mid-level HR professionals. There are 7 courses and exams you need to take to receive the full certification. It costs $9,450 for members and $13,503 for non-members—so definitely ask your employer to contribute! 

Learn more about the CBP!

  1. Professional in HR - International (PHRi) by HRCI

If you want the PHR certification but work internationally, there may be a better choice for you: the Professional in Human Resources (PHR®) — International™. It’s the same as the PHR except it’s targeted at those who work internationally or in international teams. Unlike the GPHR, this certification is aimed for entry-level professionals.

To be eligible for the course, you must meet ONE of the following requirements:

  • Have at least 1 year of HR experience and a Master’s degree or global equivalent
  • Have at least 2 years of HR experience and a Bachelor’s degree or global equivalent 
  • Have at least 4 years of HR experience and a high school diploma or global equivalent

The application costs $100, and the test costs $395. 

Learn more about the PHRi! 

  1. Associate Professional in Human Resources (APHR) by HRCI

The Associate Professional in Human Resources™ (APHR) is the perfect certification for anyone without HR-related work experience. It’s an ideal certificate for a recent graduate, and it might be your way to stand out from the crowd. You can study for and take the exam before graduating. It’s can also help you make a mid-career shift into HR. 

Here are the only eligibility requirements for the APHR: 

  • Have a high school diploma or global equivalent
  • Submit an application for approval
  • Pass a predetermined assessment
  • Upon completion, you must acquire a certain number of continued education and professional development credits every three years or pass the assessment again

The application costs $100, and the exam costs $300. 

Learn more about the APHR!

  1. Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) by Association for Talent Development (ATD)

The Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) is a speciality certification designed for HR professionals who work in employee talent development. It’s aimed at those a few years into their careers looking to jumpstart into management. To be eligible for the CPTD, you have to meet one of the following requirements: 

  • Have at least 5 years of full-time professional work experience in talent development or related fields AND completed 60 hours of professional development in talent development within the last five years
  • Have at least 4 years of full-time professional work experience in talent development or related fields AND have the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) certification and be in good standing
  • Have at least 4 years of full-time professional work experience in talent development or related fields AND successful completion of an ATD Master Series program

The exam costs $975 for ATD members and $1,350 for non-members. 

Learn more about the CPTD! 

Who Should Look into Getting Certified?

So who should be looking into getting certified? Anyone can get one of the certifications if they meet the requirements and will put in the work, but who would it most benefit? These are some of the scenarios where you might consider getting certified: 

  • HR graduates entering the job market. If you’re a recent graduate looking for a job, a certification can help you stand out from the crowd and get you into your first job. 
  • Professionals in their first HR role. Once you’ve landed an industry job, that’s not the end of your career development. You’ll probably want to advance, and certifications can help you get there. Once you have a few years under your belt, you’re eligible for so many of the certifications. They can help you land your dream management position. 
  • Experienced professionals looking for new opportunities. Maybe you want to advance, specialize, or switch into global HR and move abroad. Whatever new opportunities you’re looking for, certifications are a tool to help you move there. 
  • Certified professionals looking to upskill. Skilled professionals are valuable. Certified professionals are the ones who can prove they have the skills. So if you’re looking to upskill, these certifications can help you do that. 

Take Your Wellness Offerings to the Next Level

HR certifications are a tool you have to progress and develop in your career. They help you stand out from the crowd, enabling you to gain skills that can boost your career. Certifications in HR management can allow you to achieve the goals you set for yourself or your organization.

Developing your HR team isn’t the only way to improve your organization. When looking to improve your department performance, take a close look at the wellness programs you’re offering. We’ve found that 78% of HR leaders report their wellness program reduces the cost of providing healthcare benefits. 

An investment in your employees health can lower healthcare costs by getting more team members in the “low-risk” health category. Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to help you prioritize your support for your team members.

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!

References

  1. Association for Talent Development. (n.d.). Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD). ATD. Retrieved July 3, 2023 from https://www.td.org/certification/cptd/introduction.   
  2. HRCI. (n.d.) Global Professional in Human Resources. Retrieved July 3, 2023 from https://www.hrci.org/certifications/individual-certifications/gphr
  3. HRCI. (n.d.) Senior Professional in Human Resources. Retrieved July 3, 2023 from https://www.hrci.org/certifications/individual-certifications/sphr.  
  4. HRCI. (n.d.). Professional in Human Resources - International. Retrieved July 3, 2023 from https://www.hrci.org/certifications/individual-certifications/phri.  
  5. HRCI. (n.d.). Professional in Human Resources. Retrieved July 3, 2023 from https://www.hrci.org/certifications/individual-certifications/phr.  
  6. Indeed. (2023, March 10). 6 Online Certifications To Advance Your Career. Indeed. Retrieved July 3, 2023 from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/certifications-to-advance-your-career#:~:text=A%20certification%20can%20help%20with,professional%20growth%20within%20your%20profession
  7. Miller-Merrell, J. (2020, June 1). Salary Averages for HR Leaders by Human Resources Certification Type. Retrieved July 3, 2023 from https://workology.com/salary-averages-for-hr-leaders-by-human-resources-certification-type/#Salary_Range_for_HR_Professionals_with_HRCI_Certification.  
  8. Pope, L. (2023, May 3). 12 Types of HR Certifications: Know the Cost and Eligibility. Retrieved July 3, 2023 from https://www.g2.com/articles/hr-certification.  
  9. SHRM. (n.d.). Eligibility Criteria. Retrieved July 3, 2023 from https://www.shrm.org/certification/get-certified/Pages/eligibility-criteria.aspx.  
  10. Undercover Recruiter. (2022, March 23). Does Certification Help You Get a Better Job? Retrieved July 3, 2023 from https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/certification-help-better-job/.  
  11. Van Noy, M. (2020 September). Identifying High Quality Industry Certifications. Rutgers Education and Employment Research Center. Retrieved July 3, 2023 from https://smlr.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/Documents/Centers/EERC/identifying_high_quality_industry_certifications_issue_brief_110820_final.pdf.  
  12. WorldatWork. (n.d.) CERTIFIED COMPENSATION PROFESSIONAL | CCP®. Retrieved July 3, 2023 from https://worldatwork.org/learn/certifications/certified-compensation-professional-ccp.  
  13. WorldatWork. (n.d.). CERTIFIED BENEFITS PROFESSIONAL | CBP®. Retrieved July 3, 2023 from https://worldatwork.org/learn/certifications/certified-benefits-professionals-cbp

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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