SHRM Board Approves Plan for New HR Certification Based on Competencies

May 12, 2014

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Board of Directors of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has approved a plan to create a competency-based certification program for human resource professionals.

The new HR certification is based on the SHRM HR Competency Model, which consists of nine primary competency domains defined with behavioral proficiency standards across four professional levels – entry, middle, senior and executive. The new certification will be the first of its kind focused on teaching and the testing of practical, real-life information that HR professionals need to excel in their careers.

“The differentiator for HR professionals will not be what you know, but what you can do with what you know,” said SHRM Board Chair Bette Francis. “SHRM has a responsibility to lead the profession toward a certification process that proves competencies. That will benefit the individual, the profession and employers by aligning HR with the changing demands of business.”

Over the last three years, SHRM conducted and validated research on behavioral competencies and developed its own competency model to serve as a foundational resource for all HR professionals. SHRM is currently working on a certification program that will create a testing regime and governance model to provide integrity to the exam process.

SHRM plans to offer the first exam for the new competency-based certification in mid-2015. However, to ensure that no applicants or other stakeholders are disadvantaged by the transition, SHRM will continue to support the PHR and SPHR certification programs through the December 2014-January 2015 test window. Other exams also will be supported through their last test window periods in 2014.

“We have been working toward this for several years and are taking steps to ensure a smooth transition for SHRM members and HR professionals,” said SHRM CEO and President Henry G. (Hank) Jackson. “We are creating a clear pathway for HR professionals who are already certified under knowledge-based credentials so they can move to the new SHRM competency-based certification. This certification will be relevant to all career levels, across all industries, and organizations around the world.”

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Media: For more information, contact Kate Kennedy of SHRM Media Relations at 703-535-6260 and

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at


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