Recertification: Get More Than 60!

Professional development does credit to you, so think beyond PDCs

By Sharlyn Lauby, SHRM-SCP Jun 8, 2017
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​To me, recertification is the most important part of SHRM certification because it reinforces a commitment to continuous learning about HR competencies. The "60" of this article's title, as readers of this newsletter know, is the number of recertification credits needed to maintain our SHRM credentials. 

If we've earned the required 60 professional development credits (PDCs) before the three-year window is over, it might be tempting to say, "Whew! I'm done." But the truth is that we shouldn't stop. There is always more learning to do. 

As a SHRM-SCP, I turn the process of recertifying into a game, setting goals for myself to get recertification points in each of the three PDC categories

  • Advance Your Education. Conferences, seminars, eLearning, webinars, etc. This category includes attending programs at local SHRM chapter meetings and reading HR books that have been preapproved for credit.
  • Advance Your Organization. Work projects that support organizational goals, such as designing a training program, revamping the company's performance management program, implementing a new technology solution and the like.
  • Advance Your Profession. Volunteering and thought leadership activities that contribute to the HR profession, such as organizational memberships, speaking at events and writing (including blogs!). 

To add a little extra challenge, I consult the SHRM Recertification Handbook to set goals within each category. For example, under Advance Your Education, I might aim to: 

  • Attend one webinar program a month.
  • Listen to one podcast each week.
  • Read one HR book for credit each quarter. 

The SHRM certification app (free on iTunes and Google Play) makes it very easy to keep track of your PDCs, allowing you to enter them as you earn them. People enjoy using the app, according to Cornelia Springer, SHRM's director of certification services. "Of the 52,000 individuals due to recertify in 2018, 12 percent have entered 60 or more PDCs," she says. "We attribute some of that [percentage] to the ease in online and mobile tracking." 

SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP credential-holders who do not earn 60 PDCs within the three-year period must retake the exam. Many SHRM-certified professionals may opt to retake the exam as a way to recertify, allowing them to participate in the rigor associated with studying and preparation. It's challenging. I get it. But not everyone will want to follow that path. 

Getting and maintaining SHRM certification is supposed to be challenging. Nevertheless, we can't confuse our recertification requirements with our real-life professional development. We shouldn't stop pursuing that development once we fulfill our "60 PDC" obligation. Such decisions shouldn't be made based on a number. 

We can use our recertification documentation for more than proving our PDCs. Share the information with your boss. Develop a particular competency. To stay relevant in our careers, we need to be learning all the time. Change the way you think about recertifying: It can make the process a piece of cake. 

Sharlyn Lauby, SHRM-SCP, is president of the ITM Group Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and an author, writer, speaker, consultant and top digital influencer. She is best known for HR Bartender, rated by the Stevie Awards as Best Business Blog and by SHRM as one of the top five HR blogs.

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