SHRM certification: Everything You Need to Know

SHRM certification: Everything You Need to Know

​The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is an internationally renowned organization that provides HR professionals with knowledge and guidance. The Society offers a variety of certifications tailored to HR professionals at various career levels. If you want to further your career in human resources, acquiring an SHRM certification might be a wonderful option. Here is what you need to know.

Related: Best Online Certificate in Human Resources

What is the SHRM certification?

The SHRM certification is accreditation for those pursuing a career in human resource management or for those performing general HR-related tasks at work. The certification includes the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) certifications.

According to the SHRM Certification handbook, these certifications allow HR professionals to demonstrate mastery of the fundamental competencies required for success in today's challenging business environment. An SHRM certification can increase credibility by attesting to your proficiency in important human resources topics. Your resume will stand out if you have this certification when looking for human resource employment.

According to SHRM, the SHRM certification was launched in January 2015 and has become the preeminent professional credential in the human resources sector, with over 101,550 professionals have been certified. Professionals in 105 countries have acquired SHRM certification, and over 53,000 HR job ads in 2016 stated a preference for those with SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP qualifications.

SHRM certification

Related: HR Analytics Certification

Why get an SHRM Certification?


These credentials demonstrate a person's expertise in the HR profession.

The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications are being sought by approximately 15% of job posts that are HR related.

SHRM certification is valuable because those who obtain it must demonstrate not only knowledge but also the ability to use that information in situations based on real-life events involving HR professionals. According to SHRM, 7 out of 10 exam takers believed the questions were relevant to their current circumstances.

Those who hold the SHRM Certification report earning 15% more than their peers who do not hold the SHRM Certification. Employers understand that the exams required for SHRM certification are grounded in the contemporary HR situation. They are based on the competencies and knowledge that HR professionals require to succeed.

It makes sense for you to be one of the 34% of HR professionals who, according to a 2018 PayScale survey, hold at least one certificate. If your career goals extend beyond your current position to the executive ranks, it is important to note that high-level HR managers are very likely to have  SHRM Certification. Therefore, obtaining SHRM certification can demonstrate to your present and potential employers that you place a high value on human resources.

SHRM certification requirements and eligibility

SHRM recommends that applicants applying for certification have basic knowledge of Human Resources. SHRM requires applicants to be in roles that are HR related, or the applicant performs HR work that has an operational focus, for example, putting policies into practice or being the point person for HR daily.

The following is a breakdown provided by USF's Office of Corporate Training and Professional Education on the eligibility for the two certifications:

You should apply for the SHRM-CP if you:

  • Do not have a bachelor's degree but have worked in HR for at least three years
  • Have a bachelor's degree and at least a year of experience working in HR
  • Have attained a graduate degree and work in human resources

You should apply for the SHRM-SCP if you:

  • Do not have a bachelor's degree, but at least six years of experience working in HR
  • Have a bachelor's degree and at least four years of experience working in HR
  • Have a graduate degree and at least three years of experience working in HR

SHRM offers a certification self-assessment tool as well. The tool assists professionals in making better career decisions. The tool will recommend the appropriate exam based on your answers to all questions: the SHRM-CP or the SHRM-SCP. For those not yet qualified for SHRM certification, it will recommend the SHRM Specialty Credential.

Related: Is Tertiary Education Still a Worthwhile Investment?

How to get SHRM Certification?

The Society of Human Resources Management offers the certification. The two certifications the Society of Human Resource Management offers are SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP. These certifications can be obtained by passing an online test and the required education courses. To apply for the certification, you may follow the following steps:

  1. Navigate to and click on the APPLY button.
  2. Set up a user account. Enter your name as it appears on your original, unexpired government-issued picture ID.
  3. If you are a SHRM member, use your SHRM membership's single sign-on (SSO) e-mail address.
  4. Select the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certification exam during an open registration window.
  5. Fill out the application form with information about your eligibility, job, and demographics.
  6. Fill out and submit any necessary documents for testing accommodations.
  7. Sign the affirmation statement acknowledging your agreement to the following:
  • SHRM Certification Candidate Agreement
  • SHRM Bylaws & Code of Ethics
  • SHRM Privacy Policy

Related: HR Analytics Education: Which Competencies Should (and do)we Develop?

SHRM Certification Exams



The SHRM certification tests are computer-based and have multiple-choice questions. The exams span four hours and are timed. To assess your skill as an HR professional, you will be given a total of 160 questions, 95 of which will be knowledge items, and the remaining 65 will be situational judgment tasks. The questions assess your understanding and application of HR principles. The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP tests include a variety of HR subjects, such as People, Organization, Workplace, and Strategy.

Preparation for the SHRM certification exams

According to SHRM, preparation is not required for the SHRM certification exam. However, given the huge amount of content presented, some level of preparation is recommended and strongly encouraged. The SHRM Learning System is a fantastic resource for this.

What happens after the exam?

Candidates who pass the exam will receive a digital copy of a certificate of achievement with their exam results, as shown on the Candidate Score and Feedback Report. They can also order a framed certificate and other collateral pieces through SHRM's third-party awards provider.

The SHRM Certification Handbook is the major source of SHRM certification material and requires reading to participants in the SHRM certification process. All persons who go through this process must follow the policies, processes, and deadlines outlined in this handbook, and they must attest to this by signing the SHRM Certification Candidate Agreement when they apply. Click on the link below to download and read the handbook:

SHRM Certification Handbook

SHRM Certification cost

Click here to view the current fees for either of the two certifications offered by the Society of Human Resources Management.

Is Recertification available?

Yes! SHRM allows professionals to recertify. This way, professionals can retest and improve their skills, ensuring they stay relevant. Maintaining certification requires a lifelong commitment to learning about current human resource best practices.

Once certified, your recertification term starts the day you pass the exam and concludes after three years. You must finish your Recertification within three years. Credential holders who do not achieve this in the three years will be granted a 60-day grace period. However, the recertification price increases by $50, and your certification will be cancelled after the grace period if your Recertification is not completed by then.

For example:

  1. You begin the certification in July.
  2. You take and pass the exam on May 3, 2023.
  3. The first recertification cycle begins on May 3, 2023.
  4. The end date for this cycle will be July 31, 2026.
  5. The certification will be revoked on September 30, 2026.

There are two ways an HR professional can get Recertification which are:

Option 1: You can earn 60 Professional Development Credits within your 3-year recertification cycle. You can enter these PDCs in your SHRM certification portal, submit your completed recertification record before expiration, and pay the recertification processing fee. Qualifying activities include projects that advance your education, organization, or profession. The SHRM Recertification Requirements Handbook contains detailed information regarding qualified activities, PDC calculations and allocations, and policy/procedure specifics. Kindly click here to download and read the handbook.

Option 2: Retake the certification exam during your recertification cycle's final year. You must complete the application process, pay the exam cost, and test at your current certification level no sooner than 12 months before the end of your three-year recertification cycle are all required. If you fail the exam, your certificate is revoked, and you must reapply and pass the exam to regain it. You will be unable to pursue Recertification through PDCs.

Attempting Recertification through the PDCs during the grace period of 60 days will attract a late fee. You must pay both the recertification cost and the appropriate late fee if you complete your PDC requirements within the 60-day grace period between your end and expiry dates. To avoid the associated late fee, you must complete the requisite PDCs and submit a paid recertification application by the recertification end date (the month of your birth in year 3 of your recertification cycle).


SHRM certifications demonstrate expertise in the HR profession and impart leadership skills across various workplace circumstances. Pursuing an SHRM certification in HR enhances credibility and proficiency in HR tasks and enhances resume visibility in HR employment opportunities.

Natasha Chimphondah
This article was written by Natasha a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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