Most industries are made up of professionals, and those professionals often include organizations to assist in advancing their fields. Those organizations often develop tests or examinations to consider people’s skills, knowledge, and capabilities in their industry. With an adequately rigid exam, a certification can become a valuable asset. People who maintain those certifications become more sought-after than their counterparts who have not passed the exam.
What Is HRCI?
HRCI (Human Resource Certification Institute) is a U.S. credentialing organization delivering certifications to HR generalists, administrators, and managers. The certificates are awarded upon completing competency exams covering Human Resource Management (HRM) practices, policies, and principles. Human Resource professionals strive for HRCI certifications to boost career opportunities, professional credibility, and compensation rates.
aPHR, PHR, and SPHR are three certifications submitted by HRCI, the Human Resources Certification Institute. HRCI is not entirely as large or as old as SHRM, though they are in the modern-day somewhat similar organizations, and they are both headquartered in the same city.
In actuality, they show many more than three certifications:
- aPHR: Associate Professional in Human Resources, sought at newcomers to the HR industry beginning their careers.
- PHR: Professional in Human Resources, desired at established HR employees who want to progress in their careers.
- SPHR: Senior Professional in Human Resources, preferred at established professionals looking to move into the upper ranks of HR executives.
- GPHR: Global Professional in Human Resources, a certification for top-level executives who primarily work with multinational corporations and have globalized problems.
All of these different certifications have other requirements for education and experience levels. They all have a $100 application fee and a price to take the exam, ranging from $300 to $500 depending on the exam.
HRCI is unique because they offer the introductory certification aPHR, all the methods up to high-end executive certifications in GPHR, with many options in between. SHRM does not provide quite as much interpretation. This is good in that it gives a good impression of the skills and abilities of the person with the certification. On the other hand, it means a professional in HR will require to progress through many more certificates and spend much more money doing so throughout their career.
What Is SHRM?
SHRM-CP is a certification offered by SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management. SHRM is an acknowledged authority in the human resources space, and its content is frequently cited on this blog and many others. They comprehend what they are talking about and are one of the largest human resources organizations in the world.
SHRM offers two certifications, of which SHRM-CP is the first. The other is SHRM-SCP. SHRM promotes their certificates as:
- Competency-based. Rather than testing your ability to memories facts and strategies, they test how well you can implement them. The exams are updated routinely to include facts about how these modern workplaces work, rather than an outdated view of how they should work.
The SHRM certifications are helpful in any industry and country rather than within specific boundaries. Thousands of employers desire human resources employees with credentials, and SHRM-CP is often cited as “in-demand” certification. The exam is also accredited.
The exam price differences are $300 for early bird members, $400 for early bird non-members, $375 for non-early members, and $475 for non-early non-members.
How Do These HRCI vs SHRM Certifications Compare?
Each certification has its niche. They are all valuable, but which one is more valuable often depends on your plans as a human resources professional.
SHRM certifications are broadly recognized. The organization SHRM is one of the largest and has global membership. Their certifications test many soft skills, and they are often well-rounded certifications that prepare you for a long career in human resources.
SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP are suitable certifications if you intend to work in a large organization with large HR teams or reliable teams for other related HR parts, such as legal and compliance. Since the SHRM exams do not cover legalities, compliance policies, and specifics quite as much, they are better suited to generalists and administrators.
The PHR certifications offered by HRCI are more granular, which means they better indicate the prospective employee’s skill level. When you have aPHR but not PHR, an employer knows you have basic skills and experience but have not reached a group of professional achievements they might want in an experienced hire. Likewise, if you have PHR but not SPHR, they understand you are experienced but not senior-level.
The long and the short of it is that neither certification is genuinely better than the other. They are similar in many ways, and they are better than not having a certification at all. However, if you are interested in different areas of human resources, like international or legal HR, you may be more helpful to earn PHR certifications over SHRM. Conversely, if you are in an organization that is a member of the SHRM and determines its atmosphere, the SHRM certifications may be more valuable.