Update on SHRM Specialty Credentials

Recognition of expertise in focused areas of HR proves popular

By Jeanne Morris October 11, 2018

​Earlier this year, SHRM Education launched two new specialty credential programs, California Employment Law and Talent Acquisition, both of which have far exceeded preliminary projections as to their reception in the marketplace. 

The California State Council of SHRM (CalSHRM) and the University of La Verne in La Verne, Calif., for example, have added the California Employment Law specialty credential to their curricula in recognition of the value and credibility it creates for HR professionals. 

Michael Letizia, SHRM-SCP, president of Letizia HR Solutions Inc. and past state director of CalSHRM, said that the credential is a "strategic career investment. California employment laws are among some of the most complex in the world. This program provides California professionals [with] expertise that distinguishes them from others in the field, and [it] adds exceptional value to California business." 

Those who hold the credential demonstrate that they "have a deeper understanding of California law, can do the research, gain the knowledge and apply it," said Trisha Zulic, SHRM-SCP, senior director of business operations at WSA Distributing Inc. and incoming CalSHRM state director. "It's pertinent to the stability, effectiveness and future of HR." 

The SHRM Talent Acquisition specialty credential program began in late July. According to Tony Lee, SHRM's vice president of editorial, the field "has evolved so significantly in recent years that even experienced recruiters are having to rethink their approach to attracting talent." This credential enables professionals who work in any aspect of recruiting "to update their skills and prove ... that they have the cutting-edge ability needed to succeed in this heady environment," he said. 

A SHRM specialty credential recognizes one's competency-based professional development in a focused field of practice. Those who complete the requirements have demonstrated specialized knowledge in a complex and continually evolving topic area. Once earned, practitioners receive a certificate of accomplishment and a digital badge verifying their specialty. 

SHRM plans to launch a third specialty credential, focusing on People Analytics, by the end of 2018. Additional specialty credentials are expected in 2019 for HR departments of one and for U.S. immigration. 

A SHRM specialty credential is valid for three years from the date of completion. It cannot be recertified but can only be reissued following completion of the updated specialty credential learning program appropriate to it. 

SHRM certification is not required to be eligible for a SHRM specialty credential. 

SHRM certificants who complete a SHRM specialty credential program will have the designated number of professional development credits (PDCs) toward recertification of their SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP credential automatically uploaded to their SHRM Certification Portal. 

For more information, visit the SHRM specialty credential page, or e-mail Jeanne.morris@shrm.org

Jeanne Morris is SHRM's director, educational programs.


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