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What Is SHRM Certification? Important Points HR Professionals Should Know.

Show your dedication to the field and prepare for advanced positions with certification from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

If you’re a human resource professional eager for career growth, certification is a great step and can be a competitive advantage as well. When you become a certified human resource professional, you’re showing others that you are dedicated to the field. The additional knowledge and skills sets that come with certifications often help to inspire trust and confidence in employers and co-workers. There are a number of recognized HR certifications, including those earned through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Developed as the result of an extensive research project undertaken in 2011, the SHRM Competency Model identifies behavioral and technical competencies that HR professionals need to succeed in the field. Building on the competency model, SHRM developed the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge™, which describes the requirements of SHRM’s two certification programs, the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP®) exam and the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP®) exam. The SHRM-CP® was created for early and mid-career HR professionals, while the SHRM-SCP® is targeted to senior-level professionals.

What Is SHRM Certification? Important Points HR Professionals Should Know.

Many master’s in human resource management programs base their programs on the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge™, preparing students to take the SHRM certification exams upon completion of the degree. Here’s a brief introduction of what is covered in these academic programs.

Behavioral Competencies

According to SHRM, a behavioral competency represents how a professional applies the HR knowledge he or she has mastered.1 SHRM has identified three clusters of behavioral competencies essential to the HR profession:

  • Leadership
    These skills include people management, adherence to ethical standards, and maintaining a clear vision for the HR department’s role within a company.

  • Interpersonal
    HR professionals must cultivate positive working relationships both inside and outside their company, and should be able to communicate clearly and effectively. Interpersonal competency also includes a grasp of intercultural communication skills and a willingness to promote workplace diversity.

  • Business
    The business competency requires HR professionals to develop a working knowledge of business, including operations, consultation within their organization, and the skills to conduct qualitative and quantitative research as needed.

HR Expertise

Defined as technical knowledge in the human resource field, HR expertise describes the essential body of information that HR professionals must master in order to perform well.1 HR expertise encompasses three areas: People, Organization, and Workplace.

  • People
    This functional area covers talent acquisition, employee engagement and retention, and strategic planning for HR. Students must master the skills needed to improve relationships between employees, retain outstanding workers, and attract new talent. This area also includes learning to assemble attractive benefits packages and systems of compensation.

  • Organization
    In the realm of organization, SHRM has identified skills related to organizational effectiveness, development of people and processes, and workforce management. The area also includes adroitness at dealing with employee and labor relations and managing technology.

  • Workplace
    This category contains issues such as diversity and inclusion, corporate social responsibility, and U.S. employment law and regulations. It also encompasses identifying, calculating, and managing risks.

If you’d like to add an SHRM certification to your HR credentials, consider pursuing an advanced degree in human resource management. Many programs, such as Walden University’s MS in Human Resource Management online, allow you to choose SHRM preparation as a capstone option. Students also benefit from an innovative curriculum that prepares graduates to be successful in this rapidly changing field.

Walden University is an accredited institution that offers an MS in Human Resource Management program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,