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As you may have heard, SHRM has announced its own certification credentials, the SHRM-CP (Certified Professional) and the SHRM-SCP (Senior Certified Professional). These credentials will come into effect in 2015 and will exist along with the current credentials that are used by about 130,000 HR professionals, the PHR, SPHR and GPHR.

It’s important to first understand that the existing PHR/SPHR/GPHR does not come from SHRM. The PHR/SPHR/GPHR are products of the HR Certification Institute (HRCI).  HRCI was formed in 1976 as a separate entity from SHRM in order to design a certification module for HR professionals without a conflict of interest with SHRM. SHRM has supported the HRCI certifications by providing learning modules for those who are preparing to take the PHR/SPHR/GPHR exams.

In June 2014, SHRM announced that they were creating a separate set of credentials, the SHRM-CP and the SHRM-SCP. These certifications will exist along with the current HRCI credentials and will differ from the PHR/SPHR/GPHR primarily through the use of a competency based testing model and different education/experience requirements.

Details on the HRCI certification program can be found here:

Details on the SHRM certification program can be found here:

Advancing the HR Profession

In keeping with SHRM’s mission of serving and advancing the HR profession, SHRM developed the SHRM Competency Model.

SHRM’s Competency Model identifies what it means to be a successful HR professional—across the performance continuum, around the globe, from early to executive career levels. The competency model and the resources developed based on the model provide the foundation for talent management throughout the HR lifecycle.

The Premier Evidence-Based HR Competency Model

SHRM competencies support HR professionals and their organizations in identifying and developing high-quality HR practitioners who have the critical competencies needed to work our most pressing people issues of today and to deliver HR strategy to enable businesses to evolve in the future.
SHRM's Competency Model comprises nine competencies: one technical competency and eight behavioral competencies.  The model identifies the foundational competencies HR professionals need for success:

  • at the entry, mid, senior, and executive levels of experience;
  • in small, medium, and large sized organizations;
  • in private, public, non-profit, and not-for-profit sectors; and
  • in organizations with multinational and domestic operations
Click Here for more Information!


Q: Will the SHRM certification replace the HRCI certification?

A: HRCI has indicated that they will continue to offer their product as they have been doing.

Q: Why did SHRM create this new certification?

A:  The official reason from SHRM is that they wanted to create a certification that better reflects the qualifications and more accurately tests the knowledge to be successful in the HR field. HRCI maintains that their certification remains the standard. While both organizations have avoided explicitly saying that they are in competition with each other, both have clearly indicated that they each feel that their respective product is the best one for the HR professional.


Q:  What if I’m not yet certified? Which one should I choose, or should I choose both?

A:  That is something everyone must decide for him or herself. I recommend reviewing information on both certifications and choosing the one (or both or neither) that makes the most sense for your personal and professional goals.


Q:  Is it true if I hold my PHR/SPHR/GPHR, that I can obtain the new SHRM certification without having to take the SHRM certification exam?

A:  Yes, SHRM has said that anyone holding the PHR/SPHR/GPHR by the end of the Winter 2014 testing window (January 31, 2015), will be eligible to earn the corresponding SHRM certification by signing a form indicating that your HRCI certification is currently in good standing, signing the SHRM code of ethics and viewing an online tutorial and taking a short quiz. That offer is available through December 31, 2015.

Q:  So do I have to give up my HRCI certification to obtain the new SHRM certification?

A:  No, you can hold both concurrently, provided you maintain them with any required fees and continuing education.


Q:  When can I take the SHRM certification exam?

A:  According to SHRM, applications will begin being accepted in January 2015 for the “Spring/Summer” testing window. They do not specify the dates that will make up that testing window.


Q:  What about recertification credits? How will that work for the new SHRM certification?

A:  SHRM has stated that in 2015, recertification credits that have been approved for the HRCI certification will count towards the SHRM recertification as well.

As of this date, a decision has not been made regarding recertification credits going forward about whether they will continue to accept credits that have HRCI approval or if they will design their own approval process that programs will need to apply for separately.

SHRM- CP and SHRM-SCP CERTIFICATIONS Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why has SHRM created its own credentials?
A: SHRM is committed to ensuring that the certification HR professionals achieve is the best in class and distinguishes them in the marketplace. Therefore, SHRM determined that it was necessary to move forward independently with the development of a competency-based certification, which is urgently needed for the advancement of the HR profession and HR practitioners.

Q: What are the credentials?
A: The new SHRM credentials, SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP™) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP™), are competency and knowledge-based credentials that will be universally recognized.

Q: What is the foundation for the new SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP?
A: SHRM conducted an intensive research study to define the Competencies and Knowledge relevant to today's global HR professional. Through these efforts, a clear picture emerged of what is expected of future HR professionals and leaders. The SHRM Body of Competency & KnowledgeTM (SHRM BoCKTM)—designed to elevate the HR profession around the world—forms the foundation for the new SHRM certification.

Q: Who was involved in the research study?
A: This certification is the culmination of over three years of research, and based on the SHRM Competency Model, which was validated by more than 35,000 HR professionals around the world. These HR professionals identified the skills needed to grow and succeed in HR careers. Studies were conducted with four major corporations and four major research universities, including Walmart, Boeing, Michigan State University, Pennsylvania State University, Lusiada University (Lisbon, Portugal), and University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

Q: Do I have to retest if I already hold an HR generalist certification?
A: No, SHRM understands the time and energy you've invested in obtaining your existing credentials. Beginning January 5, 2015, HR professionals with existing HR generalist certifications (you must have obtained your certification on or before January 31, 2015) that are in good standing, will be eligible for SHRM certification—at no cost—by completing the following by December 31, 2015:

  • Document that your current certification is in good standing.
  • Sign the SHRM Code of Ethics.
  • Complete a brief online tutorial on HR competencies.

Q: What is the cost to take the exam?
A: The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams are each $300 for SHRM members and $400 for nonmembers. (This price includes a $50 nonrefundable processing fee.)

Q: When can I take the exam?
A: The first exam window will be May 1-July 15, 2015. Applications will be accepted January 5-March 14, 2015. The late application deadline is April 17 (a late fee of $75 will occur for applications submitted after March 14.) The winter exam window will be December 1, 2015-February 15, 2016. Applications will be accepted May 1-October 16, 2015. The late application deadline is November 13 (a late fee of $75 will occur for applications submitted after October 16.)

Q: Where can I take the exam?
A: The exam will be offered at test centers around the world via Prometric. Visit to find the exam location nearest you.

Q: Am I eligible for the new SHRM certification?
A: Eligibility for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP is determined based on a combination of education and experience:

Q: How long will the exam be? How many questions?
A: Candidates for the SHRM-CP exam will have 3 to 3-1/2 hours to answer a total of 160 questions. Candidates for the SHRM-SCP exam will have 3-1/2 to 4 hours to answer a total of 180 questions.

Q: How does the exam test HR Competencies?
A: Situational Judgment Tests (SJTs) measure Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other characteristics (KSAOs) and decision-making skills that cannot be easily measured by other aptitude tests (e.g., numerical, abstract or verbal). SJTs describe a work-related scenario that the test-taker might experience on the job and for each scenario, a variety of behavioral-based approaches to resolving the issue are suggested. Test-takers are asked to identify the most appropriate approach to resolving or addressing the scenario. Several questions may be based on the same scenario. SHRM has partnered with a premier test development organization with deep expertise in the design of situational judgment-based exams.

Q: Is there a credential for HR professionals whose organizational work is on a global scale?
A: There is not a separate credential—because the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP are applicable across geographic borders, industries, job titles, and career levels. The exams cover the new global Body of Competency and Knowledge and are relevant worldwide, giving professionals the recognition and flexibility to use their knowledge, skills and competencies anywhere their career takes them.

Q: What are the benefits of preparing for my exam with a SHRM Education Partner Program?
A: SHRM Education Partner programs combine the comprehensive SHRM Learning System® for SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP—together with a structured classroom environment that ensures you stay on track with your studies. The program will be led by an experienced and SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP certified instructor, and peer discussion will help reinforce your learning materials. Plus, tuition reimbursement may be available from your employer.

Q: Will I need to recertify once I’ve earned my SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP?
A: Yes, SHRM believes that recertification is key to ensuring that your knowledge is current and skills are sharp. Credential holders must earn 60 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) within a 3-year recertification period that ends on the last day of the credential holder’s birth month (or retake the certification exam at the end of the 3-year recertification period.) SHRM has addressed the needs of HR professionals by creating three avenues by which SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP credential holders earn recertification credits: Advance Your Education, Advance Your Organization, and Advance Your Profession. These categories parallel the SHRM BoCK’s three main elements of Effective Individual Performance, Successful Business Outcomes, and Advancing the HR Profession. View the full Recertification Handbook at 

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