Some Nuts and Bolts of Recertification

How to reach your professional development credit goals, step by step

By Cornelia Springer Jun 8, 2017

​The HR profession is constantly evolving, so it is important for SHRM-certified professionals to evolve along with the field by advancing their HR competencies and knowledge. Recertifying demonstrates dedication to your career, your organization and the HR profession through lifelong education and self-improvement. 

To maintain your SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP credential, you must earn 60 professional development credits (PDCs) in three categories within a three-year period. The following is an outline of what you need to do and when and how to do it. For complete details, consult the SHRM Recertification Handbook and SHRM Certification Portal. (Log on at by entering your e-mail address and password.) 

Activities that Qualify for PDCs 

  • Always check to make sure that your professional development activities align to the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge so that you earn credits that count. The handbook has a detailed breakdown of eligible categories and PDC maximums within each category.
  • You're probably already engaging in activities that will earn PDCs! Review this list of the many ways to obtain recertification credits.
  • Find preapproved activities online in the portal. Search and filter the extensive listings by keyword, provider, location, program type, competency, functional area and date range. 

Tip: The SHRM Recertification Provider Program takes the guesswork out of which activities meet recertification requirements. Approved providers in the program—which include chapters, state councils, colleges, universities, education and/or training companies, and other organizations—may award PDCs for their offerings without further preapproval by SHRM. 

How to Enter PDCs into the Certification Portal 

  1. 1Keep track of your professional development activities.
  2. Log in to the SHRM Certification Portal.
  3. Click on "Add PDCs" and then choose the appropriate category of the activity:
    • Advance Your Education
    • Advance Your Organization
    • Advance Your Profession
  4. For activities in the Advance Your Education category:
    • Input the Activity ID. Click "Search" and view the populated activity details. Confirm that the information is correct. Click "Submit" to save the PDCs.
    • If no Activity ID is provided, manually input the information requested.
  5. For activities in the Advance Your Organization and Advance Your Profession categories:
    • Manually input the information requested. 

Tip: SHRM programs are especially easy—they're automatically entered into your portal! PDCs for the SHRM conferences, seminars and eLearning programs that you attend or participate in are auto-populated into your portal. (Please note that affiliate/chapter activities are not auto-populated.) 

How to Use the SHRM Certification App 

Download the free app for iOS and Android users from iTunes or Google Play. Search for "SHRM Certification" in the App Store, or visit to download. Here's what you can do on the app: 

  • Add PDCs under the "Your Education" tab.
  • Track all the activities you've already added to your record.
  • Search and filter approved activities by competency, date and location.
  • Discover upcoming activities in your area.
  • Find out when you're ready to apply for recertification. 

Read Your E-Mailed Progress Reports 

Look for regular status updates in your inbox to see where you are in your recertification journey: 

  • The e-mailed Recertification Progress Report tells you how many PDCs you've submitted for approval, up to the date of the notice. (Please note that PDCs entered after the date of the notice are not reflected in that total.)
  • Discrepancies between your report and your portal? Verify that you've logged in using the e-mail address specified in the report—that's the e-mail linked to your SHRM credential.
  • Questions? Contact for the quickest response. 

Tip: To get your most timely PDC balance, log in to the portal. 

How to Apply for Recertification 

You may apply for recertification after you've earned 60 PDCs and are at least one year into your three-year recertification period (which ends on the last day of your birth month). 

  • In the portal, click on "Apply for Recertification." This link will be visible after a year into your recertification period and once 60 PDCs have been entered.
  • Complete and submit the form (nonrefundable application fee required).
  • Once your recertification application is approved, the next three-year recertification period begins from your existing end date.

Tip: Retain documentation of your activities for up to six months after the end of your three-year recertification period. If you are randomly chosen for audit, you will have to verify the activities and PDCs on your recertification application with supporting documentation. 

Recertify by Retaking the Exam 

You have the option to maintain your SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP by retaking the certification exam. If you choose to do so, you must: 

  • Take the exam no earlier than within the last 12 months prior to the end of your three-year recertification period.
  • Recertify only at the certification level you currently hold.
  • Complete the exam application process (full examination fee required).

Cornelia Springer is director of SHRM certification services.


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