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Letter from SHRM Regarding the SHRM Professional Certification

    July 24, 2014

    Dear SHRM Member,

    During SHRM’s recent Annual Conference & Exhibition, we had more than 6,000 attendees stop by our SHRM Certification Lounge and exhibition booth to learn more about our new SHRM Certified Professional and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP) competency-based certifications. I was very encouraged by the interaction. Once our attendees had their questions answered, they understood the value a competency-based certification would have for them and their success as HR professionals.

    Since Annual Conference, we’ve continued to make progress as we prepare to roll out the SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP certifications to the profession next year. I want to take this opportunity to provide you with answers to some of the more common questions we received.

    1. Why are these new certifications being introduced?
    Business demands have changed and SHRM, as the leader in HR professional development, has the responsibility of ensuring our members have the tools and resources they need to meet those expectations. The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications will demonstrate proficiency in the core competencies that make you a successful HR professional in this changing global environment.

    2. How will SHRM’s competency-based certification differ from others?
    Most certification exams are knowledge-based—they test what you know. SHRM’s new competency-based certification is at the forefront of certifications that are focused on teaching and testing the practical, real-life information HR professionals need to excel in their careers and drive business outcomes today, including knowledge, skills, and competencies. The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP will more closely measure not only what you know, but how you apply that knowledge in the situations you face every day. This is the evolving standard in individual assessments and is being adopted by leading testing bodies. 

    3. Why does including competency make more sense for a certification? 
    At Annual Conference I stated that business futurists predict that if the pace of change continues, half of the jobs in the U.S. and around the world will be replaced by technology or changes to business operations.  By defining the standards for the practice of good HR beyond basic knowledge, and demonstrating our unique and critical value, we ensure the continued leadership role our profession plays in the business community.

    Competency-based assessments are needed to enhance our professional standards, and are being urgently sought by the business community and HR practitioners. Currently only 12 percent of HR professionals are certified— well under the levels found in other professions. SHRM recognized there was an opportunity to significantly enhance the relevance of HR certifications. This is why we began pursuing the development of a competency-based certification, which will not only test your HR technical knowledge, but also your behavioral competencies (See SHRM’s Competency Model). This sets a new and universal standard for the profession and better prepares HR professionals for the business changes that lie ahead.

    4. What will this mean for me if I have an HRCI credential?
    HR professionals with existing HR generalist certifications in good standing will be eligible for either the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP by taking an online tutorial beginning January 1, 2015.

    • If you hold an HR senior generalist certification, such as an SPHR®, GPHR® or HRMP®*, you will be eligible for the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).
    • If you hold an HR generalist certification, such as a PHR® or HRBP®*, you will be eligible for the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).

    You will not lose or have to give up any of your current credentials in order to obtain the new SHRM Certification.

    We’ll continue to communicate with you as new developments occur with the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications. Please visit, which we are constantly updating with new information and where you can ask us questions and learn more about competency-based certification.

    We appreciate your feedback; it helps us to make a better certification for you.

    We hope you're having a great summer.

    *PHR®, SPHR®, GPHR®, HRMP® or HRBP® are registered trademarks of the HR Certification Institute and are not SHRM certifications.

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    Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world's largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit us at

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