What is the SHRM Certification?

Not sure whether you should invest in the SHRM certification?

Well, different from lawyers, teachers, and doctors, HR professionals don’t need a certification in order to operate. But if you browse through HR positions on job boards, you will see that many companies prefer to hire SHRM certified professionals, or even require applicants to have certification.

But since the certification represents a significant investment of time and money, it is a good idea to understand all about it before making a decision.

What is the SHRM Certification?

The SHRM Certification is a global human resources credential offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a professional HR membership association.

The certification consists of a four-hour exam containing two types of multiple-choice questions: knowledge-based and scenario-based. The certification exam is accredited by the Buros Center for Testing, an institution that attests that the HR credentials meet the highest standards.

As the most widely recognized credential in the industry, many professionals all over the world pursue SHRM certification aiming for career growth and recognition.

The certification sets professionals apart from the crowd in recruiting situations, but it is also a great weapon when seeking a promotion. It not only shows employers that you have extensive knowledge but also demonstrates your commitment to developing as an HR professional.


The SHRM offers two types of exams, the SHRM-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and the SHRM-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). They are designed for different audiences, based on the level of experience in the field.

The SHRM-CP is designated for HR professionals who are engaged primarily in operational roles. So, if your responsibilities include policy and procedures implementation, employee relations coordination, and other day-to-day administrative tasks, the SHRM-CP is your best alternative.

If you operate on a senior role with a focus on strategic matters you might want to go for the SHRM-SCP. Keep in mind that strategic matters include major tasks such as aligning HR strategies with the organizational goals, managing people who implement HR operations, and developing policies based on the analysis of performance metrics, for example.

Even if you are on a senior role, you might not be eligible for the SHRM-SCP exam, or you might decide for yourself that you should go for the SHRM-CP first.

SHRM Eligibility Criteria

Both exams have rigorous eligibility criteria. All applicants must meet particular academic and work experience standards at the time they submit their application in order to be eligible for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP exam.

If you have a Bachelor’s degree in the HR field, you must be working for at least 1 year in an HR position to be eligible for the SHRM-Certified Professional exam, and at least 4 years to be able to sit for the SHRM-SCP exam.

You can check your eligibility for both exams below:

Keep in mind that the pass rate for the SHRM-SCP exam is around 50% while the pass rate for the SHRM-CP exam is 70%. This tells us that even HR professionals who qualify for the SHRM-SCP certification have a hard time succeeding. So, if you feel like your experience is not extensive enough yet, go for the SHRM-CP first.