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Human Resources Certification FAQs

What are the benefits of HR certification?

Having an HR certification verifies your HR expertise. Most certifications must be renewed periodically, so certification also demonstrates that your knowledge and skills are up-to-date.

Some employers require certification, so HR certification can even improve your chances of being hired in an HR role. It can also increase your salary: HR job postings that require HR certification pay 25% more on average than those that do not require certification.

Job and salary data source: Burning Glass Labor Insight, last 12 months of U.S. HR job postings

Is there demand for HR certification?

There is high demand for HR professionals across industries and locations. Even in 2020 (when many employers delayed hiring and even laid off staff), an average of over 42,000 new HR jobs were posted each month.

While HR certification is not usually required for employment, it is in demand among employers. This is particularly true for more senior HR roles. For example, 30% of HR Manager job postings ask for HR certification. 

Job and salary data source: Burning Glass Labor Insight, last 12 months of U.S. HR job postings

What is SHRM certification?

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) credentials show that you are a recognized expert in the Human Resources field.

SHRM credentials are based on the SHRM Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge™ (SHRM BASK™), which describes the behavioral competencies and HR knowledge that HR professionals need for effective job performance.

SHRM offers two credentials: the SHRM-CP (Certified Professional) and SHRM-SCP (Senior Certified Professional). These credentials are awarded upon successfully passing a SHRM certification exam.

Who can take a SHRM certification exam?

SHRM streamlined their certification requirements in 2022. Previously, certification required a combination of education and experience. 

As of August 2022, SHRM describes eligibility as follows:

  • SHRM-CP "is intended for individuals that perform general HR/HR-related duties; or for currently enrolled students and individuals pursuing a career in Human Resource Management. Candidates for the SHRM-CP certification are not required to hold an HR title and do not need a degree or previous HR experience to apply; however, a basic working knowledge of HR practices and principles or a degree from an Academically Aligned program is recommended."
  • SHRM-SCP "is for individuals that have a work history of at least 3 years performing strategic level HR/HR-related duties; or for SHRM-CP credential holders who have held the credential for at least 3 years and are working in, or are in the process of transitioning to, a strategic level role. Candidates for the SHRM-SCP certification are not required to hold an HR title and do not need a degree to apply...Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they devoted at least 1,000 hours per calendar year (Jan. – Dec.) to strategic level HR/HR-related work." 

Certification requirements may change, so you should review the SHRM eligibility criteria for the most up-to-date requirements.

You must complete a SHRM application to demonstrate that you meet the eligibility criteria. If you do meet the criteria, SHRM will send you an "Authorization to Test" (ATT) letter with instructions for scheduling your exam.

Online and in-person testing options are available. 

Which SHRM exam should I take?

Check out SHRM's guide to "Selecting the Right HR Certification," which includes a quick quiz to help you choose the right exam.

When can I take a SHRM certification exam?

Exams are offered during certain time periods (SHRM calls them "exam windows"). So be sure to check the application and testing schedule.

How much does the exam cost?

As of August 2023, the SHRM exam cost $510. Exam fees will be lower if you are a SHRM member, register early to get the "Early-Bird" discount, or are eligible for a military or student discount.

Exam fees are subject to change, so be sure to check the SHRM Exam Fees for the latest information.

What is on the exam?

SHRM exams include "Knowledge" and "Situational" questions.

"Knowledge" questions assess your understanding of factual HR information.

"Situational Judgment" questions present you with work-related scenarios and ask you to identify the best solution. These questions test your judgment and decision-making skills and your ability to apply your HR knowledge.

Has the SHRM exam changed?

SHRM reviews and updates its standards approximately every 3-5 years. In 2022, SHRM revised its Body of Competency and Knowledge® (SHRM BoCK®), renaming it the SHRM Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge™ (SHRM BASK™). 

Because SHRM certification exams are based on the BASK/BoCK, when the BASK/BoCK changes, so does the exam.

How can I prepare for a SHRM exam?

The SHRM exams are challenging. According to SHRM, in the past year just over 2/3 of test-takers (67%) passed their SHRM-CP exam, and the percentage that passed the SHRM-SCP exam is even lower. 

But don't be discouraged! There are several options to help you prepare for these challenging exams, including:

  • Self-paced study: SHRM offers a self-study option that includes access to the comprehensive online SHRM Learning System, a practice exam and more. This can be a good option for those that want to study completely at their own pace. The cost for SHRM self-study is $795 for SHRM members and $995 for non-members.
  • Instructor-led study: These classes usually include scheduled assignments to keep you on track, plus instructor support to help you learn and understand the material. This is a good option for those who prefer to learn in a more structured environment, with scheduled assignments and deadlines.

What is University of Arizona SHRM Certification Exam Prep?

Our SHRM Certification Exam Prep course combines the convenience of SHRM self-study with the structure and support of an instructor-led class.

It includes 18 months of access to the SHRM Learning System (a $995 value), just like the SHRM self-study option. The class also includes weekly assignments such as reading, discussion questions and quizzes, to keep you on track to complete your study. You also have access to a SHRM-SCP instructor, who can answer questions and help you through the material.

The class is completely online, so you can prepare for your HR exam wherever you are located.

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Who can take University of Arizona SHRM Certification Exam Prep?

There are no education or work experience prerequisites for the course.

However, some prior HR knowledge and experience is recommended. SHRM recommends (but does not require) that SHRM-CP candidates have a "basic working knowledge of HR practices and principles or a degree from an Academically Aligned program."  

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