Cause the Effect You Want: Part III—The Five Steps of Certification

Start with the end in mind: learn, earn your SHRM credential, sustain it through recertification.

By Jeanne L. Morris and Nancy A. Woolever, SHRM-SCP May 19, 2022
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Cause the Effect You Want: Part III—The Five Steps of Certification

This three-part series provides an overview of the professional development options available through SHRM Educational Programs and how they can help you Cause the Effect you want—in your career, your organization and your profession.

Today, we'll review the five essential steps to achieving and maintaining SHRM certification.Last month, we discussed the SHRM People Manager Qualification (PMQ), and in March we explored the SHRM Specialty Credential Program.

There are few better ways to cause a positive effect in your organization than to become SHRM-certified.

SHRM Certification is now in its eighth year, and over the years, we have gathered a great deal of useful information on the program and its participants: Who are the candidates seeking a SHRM-CP or a SHRM-SCP? What are their goals and motivations? Which are the best ways to prepare for the exam? How do SHRM credentials affect HR professionals' career development?

Our latest research study conducted in 2021 reveals interesting data about what it means to hold a SHRM certification:

  • Most executives surveyed—92 percent—agree that it will be important for an HR professional to be SHRM-certified in the future.
  • Most HR professionals surveyed—81 percent—agree that having a SHRM certification increases the likelihood of getting a job in the field of HR.
  • Most respondents—71 percent—agree that having a SHRM certification increases the likelihood of getting a promotion in the field of HR.
  • Most respondents—82 percent—agree that SHRM certification adds to the overall credibility of the HR department.
  • Salaries are 15 percent higher for SHRM-CP credential-holders and 14 percent higher for SHRM-SCP credential-holders (compared to HR professionals without a SHRM credential).

The SHRM Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge provides the framework for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP credentials and exams. Passing the exam and holding a SHRM certification tells the global business community that you are a recognized expert and leader in the HR field, having demonstrated the behavioral competencies and functional proficiencies required for effective job performance. Your SHRM credential proves your value to colleagues and employers. It's your road map for achieving vital outcomes that lead to individual and organizational successes.

To get started—to move SHRM certification from your "to-do list" to your "today list"—we present a tried-and-true process that boils down to five steps.

The Five Steps of SHRM Certification

  1. SIGN UP for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP exam.
  2. SCHEDULE your exam date and commit to it.
  3. STUDY for the exam, exploring all preparation options.
  4. SIT for your exam on test day.
  5. SUSTAIN your credential once you earn it.

The final step, SUSTAIN, is the most important, because that's where a key component of SHRM certification—commitment to lifelong learning—begins. Step 5 embodies what we mean when we say, "start with the end in mind."

Continuing education intersects with professional development through a wealth of opportunities, especially those offered through SHRM educational programs and events, which can help you effect positive change in your career and organization. For instance, through the SHRM Specialty Credential Program and the PMQ, you can leverage and apply what you learn to your work projects, thereby earning recertification credits to maintain your credential.

Put the five steps of SHRM certification into action: SIGN UP during the next application period, which starts on June 1. Then SCHEDULE your test during the next exam window, which runs from of Dec. 1, 2022, through Feb. 15, 2023. These STUDY options can help you prepare for the test with a variety of proven resources and methods. When it's time to SIT for your SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP exam, you'll be ready.

Make an impact on your workplace by causing the effect you want to see with SHRM certification. Create a better workplace and a better world.

Jeanne L. Morris is vice president, education at SHRM. Nancy A. Woolever, SHRM-SCP, is vice president, certification at SHRM.

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