The New SHRM Certifications

I have to admit that I was skeptical.

When the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) announced it would launch its own certifications that would rival the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certifications, I wondered what SHRM was thinking. For years, the PHR and SPHR have been recognized as the “gold standard” of HR Generalist certifications.  Now it appeared SHRM was withdrawing its support of these certifications, in favor of its own – an interesting decision, I thought.

SHRM is currently offering two, competency-based certifications – SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) – both designed for HR Generalists. Much more information can be found here. The SHRM-CP is geared to a professional with entry to mid-level HR experience and the SHRM-SCP toward those with advanced HR experience. Both of these certifications have educational and experience requirements in order to be qualified – click here.

Then I discovered that SHRM would offer holders of the PHR and SPHR the opportunity to achieve SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP by taking a tutorial and completing the online registration for the SHRM Certification site. Those who have taken the PHR and SPHR know how tough those tests are and to be able to achieve a new certification WITHOUT having to take the test is a blessing! The criteria for the SHRM certification is relatively simple for PHR/SPHR holders, here is what is needed:

  • Have the PHR or SPHR designation in good standing
  • Be a member of SHRM

If you meet these two criteria, you can apply to get the SHRM certification that aligns to your current PHR or SPHR (SHRM-CP for PHR and SHRM-SCP for SPHR). The application process is easy – here are the steps.

  1. Visit (this takes you to and click “Apply Now.”
  2. Create your account including indicating your current certification status. This takes about 5 minutes to complete.
  3. A confirmation email will be sent to you following the completion of your account (the subject of the one I received was “Profile Setup Confirmation”). This confirmation email includes disclaimers and requires you to review the Code of Ethics, etc. This took less than 5 minutes to complete.
  4. After completion of the above email, another email link will be sent to you within a few days with the subject “Online Tutorial Pathway.” The link takes you to an interactive online tutorial explaining the certification, in depth, and requires you to complete both a competency assessment and a brief analysis of 3 cases followed by 3 questions each. The tutorial took me 45 minutes.
  5. Almost immediately after completing the tutorial, I received an email indicating that I had completed the required steps. It included a timeframe for when the certification request would be processed.
  6. Later that same day, I received the email stating that I was now certified SHMR-SCP. Voila!

The whole process took less than one hour and required no payment. The recertification requirements include completing 60 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) within the next 3 years and payment of $100. More about the recertification requirements can be found here. If you currently do not have the PHR or SPHR, you would follow the same process to apply to take the exam.

Visit for more details.


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