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SHRM Read for Recertification Credit Program

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Read. Write. Recertify.

Reading for recertification credit is a great way to broaden knowledge and earn SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® professional development credits (PDCs) along the way.

Here is information you need to write a successful essay and earn credit toward recertification.

1. Read the program FAQs

Read this page for detailed information about the program, approved books, and essay activity.

2. Choose a book

Select from the list of more than 100 approved books on a range of HR, management, and business topics.

Not every book in the SHRMStore is approved for recertification credit. Please make sure your book appears on the list before you start reading.

Obtain the book from your favorite bookseller or library in your preferred format (print, e-book, audiobook, etc.)

Also, check the list of books leaving the program (see below) so you can plan ahead.

3. Write your essay

Be sure to read the essay tips below before you start writing.

4. Register for the essay activity

The essay activity is free and open to all SHRM-certified professionals.

When you have finished reading the book, follow the how-to guide to register for the eLearning essay activity.

Important! Your essay cannot earn SHRM Certification PDCs unless you have registered for the related eLearning activity as explained in the how-to guide.

5. Submit your essay

After registering for the essay activity, return to the how-to guide for upload instructions.

When SHRM accepts your essay (please allow up to 7 calendar days), your eLearning account will be updated the same day and your Certification PDC history shortly thereafter.

You can also self-report your activity to SHRM Certification as explained in the how-to guide.

Program FAQs

About the Program

You can earn three professional development credits (PDCs) toward recertification by reading an approved book then writing an essay that meets the program criteria and is accepted.

Currently, the SHRM Certification Recertification Requirements Handbook does not indicate a limit for the number of PDCs earned through self-paced and instructor-led activities which include the Read-for-Recertification Credit program. 


Important! SHRM Certification can change this policy so always check the current handbook for guidance as you plan your recertification activities.

Yes. If your essay is accepted, you will earn three PDCs for reading and writing about any of the books in the program. 

Books can be added to the program throughout the year so be sure to check the list for updates.

Books that no longer meet the program criteria are removed throughout the year. The titles are posted on this page as they are selected for removal.

You can obtain the book from your favorite bookseller or library. 

Yes. You can access the book in any format.

SHRM Certification may select your essay for auditing and contact you for more information at your time of recertification.

Essay Activity Registration

Nothing. All book essay activities in eLearning are free. The registration process requires that you add the activity to your cart and check out but the price is zero and you will NOT be charged for the registration.

No. You can obtain the book from your favorite bookseller or library.

No. Your essay cannot earn SHRM Certification PDCs unless you first register for the book's eLearning essay activity through the SHRMStore. Please register now then allow up to 20 minutes for the activity to appear in your SHRM eLearning account.

No. The activity form does not count words, check spelling and grammar, or save draft versions of your essay.

Essay Writing

Please answer the question "What lessons have you learned by reading this book and how will you apply them in your work?"  Do not review, recap, or summarize the book. Instead, write about how the information has changed or will change your work, professional relationships, career plans, and perspective.


For inspiration, skim this participant essay the program accepted.

About 500 words. Non-narrative text such as the book title, author name, chapter headings, etc. does not count.

Try to submit your essay as soon as you finish reading the book; books no longer meeting the program criteria are removed throughout the year.

No need. You are not writing about the book, only about the ways in which the book inspired your own ideas, behaviors, and plans.

Essay Upload

After you receive email confirming your successful registration, follow the steps in the how-to guide to upload your essay.

No. The first version you submit is the only version that will be considered.

Essay Evaluation

Please allow up to 7 calendar days from the date you submit your essay. 

The relevance and thoroughness of your reply to the question are most important. There is no evaluation of punctuation or other technical aspects of your writing. 


Reasons why the program might contact you about your essay include: 

  • The book is not approved for recertification credit
  • The essay does not match the book title on the submission form
  • The essay uses extensive quotes or text from the book
  • The essay does not answer the question
  • The essay falls far short of the target 500 words.

Reporting PDCs

Your PDC history is typically updated within a day of acceptance. To update your PDC history immediately, self-report your activity to SHRM Certification by following the how-to guide.

Due to a system change for book essay activities, your recent essay participation displays "status = attended" and "completed = yes" while the pass/fail field remains blank. There is no impact on your earned PDCs.

Suggest a Book

At this time, the program consults a variety of sources to select books that reflect and advance the SHRM Competency Model and SHRM Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge™ (SHRM BASK™).

Other Questions?

Please contact us at

Books Leaving the Program

Books no longer meeting the program criteria are removed throughout the year. Register now and take up to one year from your registration date to complete the activity.

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