Why I Attend the SHRM Annual Conference to Help Me Recertify

SHRM instructor shares insights to inspire and motivate future and current credential-holders

By Paula Harvey, SHRM-SCP June 13, 2019
Why I Attend the SHRM Annual Conference to Help Me Recertify

​I truly value my SHRM-SCP certification. I was in the first group to attain it at the SHRM Leadership Conference in 2014. I feel it is my badge of honor, telling the world that HR is my profession and I know my stuff; I earned it to prove that to myself and others.

Last year I recertified for the first time. It was an easy process, using the SHRM Certification Portal on the SHRM website. Entering professional development credits (PDCs) is simple; the portal has a tracker so you know how many recertification credits you have earned so far.

To make sure I have the 60 credits I need every three years to recertify, I attend events at my local SHRM chapter, where I am a member, that include educational presentations (whenever I can—I live in Houston, where our horrendous traffic often makes it hard to attend events). I participate in webinars on topics useful for projects I am working on for my organization. I also submit special work projects for recertification credits when possible.

After I earned my first HR-related certification in 2001, I pledged to myself to try to attend the SHRM Annual Conference, as it was an affordable way to earn 17 or so recertification credits at one time. After attending that first conference in San Francisco, I was hooked! In addition to hearing from high-quality speakers who presented topics helpful to what I was doing at the time, I met representatives from vendors that could serve as resources for my projects. Over time I have built a network of HR friends who provide a shoulder to lean on and with whom I can discuss HR concerns because of the knowledge we gained at the conference. The SHRM conference has opened doors to me that I would not have been able to walk through otherwise.

As a very organized person, I map out a few weeks ahead of the conference which concurrent sessions I want to attend. I always choose at least two topics for each timeslot, in case one is full or not what I expected. Every night at the conference, I regroup and check on my progress in attaining the PDCs I want to earn. Sometimes I will change sessions based on recommendations from members of my HR network attending the conference.

What I love about my SHRM certification is that if you want to attend, for example, 17 hours of leadership sessions for recertification credit, you can do so, as long as the session content aligns with the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge. This allows SHRM-certified professionals to attend the programs that are most useful for their current jobs and projects.

I am a SHRM Learning System instructor and have been thrilled with the content and quality of the program for my students. It is important for an instructor to be well-versed in the SHRM Competency Model and the 15 functional areas of HR Expertise. I keep my knowledge fresh and up to date so that I can help prepare my students to be ready to take their SHRM certification exams. Of 27 students who are testing during the current window, over half have already passed! I hope they plan to attend future SHRM Annual Conferences.

Paula Harvey, M.B.A.-HRM, SHRM-SCP, is vice president of HR/Safety for Schulte Building Systems Inc. of Hockley, Texas. Over her long career she has served in numerous high-level volunteer leadership positions with various SHRM chapters, state and regional councils, and national organization panels, as well as with the SHRM Foundation.


For more information on SHRM Certification, and to register for the exam, please visit our website.

Already SHRM-certified? Be sure to maintain your credential by recertifying. Learn more about recertification activities here.



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