Why Certification – The Human Resource Edition

Human resources

Why Certification

If you are like me, and many people, you might have found yourself using 2020/2021 as an opportunity to ask yourself “what is next for me”. Well, assuming the answer is something other than moving to the Bahamas and running a charter fishing boat service, might I suggest CERTIFICATION. In today’s continuous professional development environment, there are some incredible certification options for the working HR professional. This particular blog will emphasize the Society for Human Resources Management certifications. However, this author celebrates any and all opportunities for certification!

The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)

Northern Illinois University (NIU) is truly proud to provide preparation courses which are intended to help a person achieve certification. The Human Resources certification that NIU preps people for is the SHRM Certified Professional (CP) and the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SCP). These certifications are backed by the largest HR Association in the entire world (SHRM). Become a member of the 100,000+ SHRM-certified professionals club!

Gain Current HR Knowledge

Getting your certification and maintaining it is like having a ‘freshness’ stamp on your resume. As certification has a 3-year term, by becoming and maintaining a certification, you will always be able to show that you have remained current in your knowledge of all-things-HR. Graduate degrees are wonderful, and NIU offers some wonderful programs. However, only certification with scheduled re-certification requirements will demonstrate a current knowledge status about all-things HR. Don’t risk becoming stale!

Secure That Next Great Job

Go ahead, pull up an HR job posting. Go ahead, I can wait. What do you see? You likely see ‘SHRM certification preferred’ or even ‘required’ in the Qualifications/Specifications section of the posting. If you are looking to change roles, move companies, expand your industry’s exposure, you are much more likely to achieve that dream job with your certification. Chief Executive Officers and Chief Human Resources Officers in-the-know want to hire certified individuals. Business Leaders read SHRM certification on your LinkedIn profile, and they already know you have a confirmed body of knowledge. You are immediately a foot or two ahead of the non-certified individual. Let your certification ‘break the ice’ with a possible employer!

 Make More Money

Money is not everything in life. Yet, it certainly makes a difference. I always say if you are having a bad day, it is nicer to be sad in a Lexus rather than sad while riding your bicycle to work because your car broke down. While there is not a lot of validated research, there is certainly significant anecdotal information out there about certification and pay. People with certifications typically achieve positions and promotions in part supported by an achieved certification status. People who are certified are often paid more than their non-certified counterparts. Some employers even pay their employees a one-time bonus for achieving certification.

Build a Sense of Accomplishment

I have been blessed to support thousands of people on their path towards certification success. As we become adults, we sometimes lose the opportunity to have that purest sense of “I did it”. Trust me, the comments I have heard or read from people becoming certified include “I didn’t think it was possible” “I could cry with relief” “I am so proud of myself” “This reminds me of what is possible in my life”. This sense of accomplishment is truly a feeling that money cannot buy. Yes, a Lexus is nice, but knowing your experience and studying paid off to become certified is truly priceless. Do something that you will add to your professional legacy!

Don’t Stop at SHRM Certification

Do not be surprised if after prepping for a certification exam, and achieving your certification, you find yourself saying ‘now what’. There are so many HR-adjacent certificates to consider. Whether it be in Project Management, Facilities Management, Health and Safety, there is a certification waiting for you. The good news is NIU offers quite a few prep classes for these certifications. Be the person that needs an oversized business card to list all of the certification acronyms following your name!

While I cannot say that becoming certified will provide you the job of your dreams and a home next to Oprah, I cannot say it will not do that for you…. You never know!! Get certified!

John Newton SHRM – SCP SPHR

Kindness is the bottom line.


To learn more about our Human Resources courses, click here.