Resources for HR Certifications – Ask HR Bartender

This question comes from a reader looking to expand their professional knowledge:

I received my MBA four years ago and am currently looking at sitting for a professional exam to demonstrate my experience. I’ve been managing the HR department for my organization for the past 2 years now. What professional organizations offer certification exams?

There are several professional certifications in the human resources space. Here’s a list of the ones I see mentioned most often.

hr, human resources, certification, certified, SHRM, ASTD, HRCIThe HR Certification Institute administers the Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR).

The American Society for Training and Development offers a Certified Professional in Learning Performance (CPLP) credential.

WorldatWork is the certifying body for Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) and Certified Benefits Professional (CBP). They also have a designation Work-Life Certified Professional (WLCP).

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans in association with the Wharton Scholl of the University of Pennsylvania offers the Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) designation.

If you are in the UK, the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) offers several. Friend and fellow blogger Michael Carty started an interesting discussion about their value in his post “CIPD Qualifications: Essential for Getting Ahead in HR in 2012?” It’s a good read.

I’m sure there are more certifications available to HR pros. Let me know in the comments any others we should add to the list.

Image courtesy of Nancy Newell (Simutis)


  1. Erica T. says

    AIRS, which is a company of The Right Thing, offers several different recruiter certifications. The courses are quite useful, too.

  2. says

    If you are looking for longer term value from certification rather than a tactical test of your current set of skills in one area of the profession, stick to non-profit groups whose sole purpose is the certification.

  3. Maureen P. says

    There is another certification program that you should add to the list which is centred on HR competency development It is the international certification offered by IPMA-HR (and its sister organization IPMA-Canada). or There are over 4,000 people certified in 27 different countries.

  4. says

    Thanks for the comments and adding to the list.

    Gerry brings up an excellent point about doing your homework where certifications are concerned. It’s always wise to research not only the certification itself but the organization that grants the credential.

  5. says

    WorldatWork launched the Certified Executive Compensation Professional (CECP) designation in October 2010. The CECP is a competency-based certification for the Executive Compensation Professional, which is based on the ability to demonstrate knowledge, experience and critical skills in executive compensation. The exam was developed by a team of twenty executive compensation practitioners and consultants, based on a body of knowledge identified by a practice analysis survey of over 200 executive compensation practitioners in 2010. The exam team created 160 questions that are broken down into four knowledge domains (Strategy, Design, Administration and Evaluation). Because of the rigor of the exam it is recommended that those who want to sit for the exam have a minimum of three years of experience in the executive compensation field . As of the end of May, 104 CECP’s have been conferred