Top 11 Human Resources Generalist Certifications
This article provides an overview of the top certifications for human resources generalists, including information on their requirements and benefits.
Published 19 min read
Certifications are an important way for a Human Resources Generalist to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in the field. In addition to providing credibility, certifications can show employers that an individual has taken the initiative to stay current on HR topics and is committed to professional development. Certifications also provide recognition that an individual has achieved a higher level of expertise, which can help them stand out from other job seekers. Moreover, some certifications may offer access to exclusive resources, such as job boards and networking opportunities, which can be invaluable for advancing one's career.
The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Human Resources Generalists and explain how they can enhance a human resources generalist's career.
What are Human Resources Generalist Certifications?
Human Resources Generalist Certification (HRGC) is a professional certification program designed to help human resources professionals demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field of HR. The certification can help individuals increase their career potential by providing them with recognition for their expertise in the HR profession. It also helps employers identify candidates with the necessary qualifications for employment and can be used to evaluate current employees for promotions or advancement opportunities.
The HRGC certification is based on a comprehensive body of knowledge that covers all areas of human resources management including recruitment, selection, compensation and benefits, employee relations, labor relations, training and development, performance management, organizational development, and compliance. This certification requires successful completion of an examination which evaluates an individual’s understanding of key concepts in the field.
Having this certification gives individuals a competitive edge when it comes to job searching and promotions as they are able to demonstrate their proficiency in the field of Human Resources Management. It also provides employers with assurance that any candidate who holds this certification will possess the necessary experience and knowledge required to be successful in this role. Finally, having this certification will provide individuals with access to continuing education opportunities which will help them stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices within Human Resources Management.
Pro Tip: Before pursuing a human resources generalist certification, be sure to research the different certifications available, as well as the requirements for each one. Be sure to also look into any prerequisites or continuing education requirements that might be necessary in order to maintain your certification.
Related: What does a Human Resources Generalist do?
Top 11 Human Resources Generalist Certifications
Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Human Resources Generalists today.
1. Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certification
Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification is a professional certification for individuals who work in the field of human resources. It is offered by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). The PHR certification demonstrates an individual's knowledge and competency in the areas of strategic management, workforce planning and employment, compensation and benefits, employee development, and risk management.
In order to obtain the PHR certification, an individual must pass an exam administered by HRCI. The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as labor relations, employment law, compensation and benefits, employee development and training, performance management, organizational design and development, staffing selection and placement, total rewards systems, risk management and safety compliance. The exam takes approximately three hours to complete.
The cost of the PHR certification varies depending on whether or not you are a member of HRCI. For non-members, the cost is $395 USD; for members it is $295 USD. There are also additional costs associated with study materials such as books or online courses which can range from $100-$500 USD depending on what type of material you choose to use.
Once you have passed the exam you will receive your PHR certification within 6-8 weeks after completion. The certification is valid for three years at which point you must renew it by taking continuing education credits or retaking the exam.
2. Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Certification
The Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification is a professional credential offered by the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). It is designed for experienced human resources professionals who are looking to demonstrate their expertise and knowledge in the field. The SPHR certification is considered one of the most prestigious certifications available, and it is recognized as an industry standard for senior-level HR professionals.
In order to obtain the SPHR certification, applicants must have at least four years of experience in a professional-level HR position and pass an exam administered by HRCI. The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as strategic management, workforce planning and employment, employee and labor relations, compensation and benefits, human resource development, risk management, and total rewards. The exam typically takes about four hours to complete.
The cost of obtaining the SPHR certification varies depending on how you choose to register for the exam. If you register through HRCI’s website or through your employer’s corporate membership program, it will cost $400 USD plus applicable taxes. If you register through a third party testing center or other approved organization, it will cost $495 USD plus applicable taxes.
Once you have passed the exam and obtained your certification, it is valid for three years from the date of issue. After three years, you must renew your certification by completing 60 hours of continuing education credits over a two year period or retake the exam.
3. SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) Certification
SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) Certification is a professional credential for human resource professionals. It is offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. The SHRM-CP certification demonstrates that an individual has the knowledge and skills needed to effectively manage an organization’s human resources.
It typically takes six months to a year to prepare for and pass the SHRM-CP exam. To get certified, individuals must first join SHRM as a professional member, then complete an online application form and submit it along with supporting documents such as transcripts and work experience. After submitting the application, individuals must pass a multiple-choice exam that tests their knowledge of HR topics such as recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits.
The cost of becoming SHRM-CP certified varies depending on whether or not you are already a SHRM member. If you are already a SHRM member, the cost is $300; if you are not yet a member, it will cost $400. Additionally, there may be additional costs associated with studying for and taking the exam such as study materials and test fees.
4. SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) Certification
The SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) certification is a professional credential offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). It is designed to recognize HR professionals who have advanced knowledge and skills in the areas of human resource management, including employee relations, compensation and benefits, recruitment and selection, training and development, labor relations, organizational development, and strategic planning.
To become certified as a SHRM-SCP, an individual must have at least three years of experience in the HR field and pass an exam that covers topics such as HR law, employee relations, organizational behavior, talent management strategies and more. The exam consists of 170 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within three hours.
In order to prepare for the exam, individuals can take courses offered by SHRM or other accredited organizations. These courses typically cover all of the topics included on the exam. Additionally, individuals can purchase study materials from SHRM or other vendors to help them prepare for the exam.
The cost of becoming certified as a SHRM-SCP varies depending on whether you are a member of SHRM or not. For non-members it costs $300 for the application fee plus $300 for each attempt at taking the exam; whereas members pay only $200 for each attempt at taking the exam.
Overall it takes approximately six months to complete all steps necessary to become certified as a SHRM-SCP. This includes studying for the exam as well as completing any required courses or other preparation materials before taking it. After passing the exam you will receive your certification within four weeks.
5. WorldatWork Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) Certification
The WorldatWork Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) certification is a professional designation that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively design, implement, and administer compensation programs. The CCP certification is offered by WorldatWork, a global association of total rewards professionals.
To become certified as a CCP, candidates must first meet the eligibility requirements, which include having at least two years of professional experience in the field of compensation or related areas. Candidates must also complete an approved course or program in compensation or related areas and pass the CCP exam.
The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as job analysis and evaluation, pay structure design, incentive plans, executive compensation, international compensation, benefits administration, and more. The exam takes approximately 3 hours to complete and costs $495 USD for members of WorldatWork ($595 USD for non-members).
Once you have passed the exam and met all other eligibility requirements, you will be awarded the CCP certification. This certification is valid for three years from the date it was issued. To maintain your certification status after three years has elapsed, you must submit proof of continuing education credits earned through approved courses or programs in compensation or related areas.
6. Society for Human Resource Management Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) Certification
The Society for Human Resource Management Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) Certification is a professional certification program offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). It is designed to recognize and validate the knowledge, skills, and abilities of human resource professionals who have a global perspective on HR.
It takes approximately six months to complete the GPHR certification process. The process involves taking an online assessment, completing a series of self-study modules, attending a two-day workshop, and passing an exam.
To get the GPHR certification, you must first meet the eligibility requirements set by SHRM. These include having at least four years of professional experience in HR management or related fields; having a bachelor’s degree; and having completed at least 30 hours of continuing education in HR topics within the past three years. Once you have met these requirements, you can then register for the GPHR exam.
The cost of getting the GPHR certification varies depending on your location and which package you choose. Generally speaking, it will cost between $1,000-$2,000 USD to become certified. This includes registration fees for both the assessment and exam as well as any associated study materials or workshops that may be required.
7. International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) Certified Professional
The International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) Certified Professional is a certification program that recognizes the knowledge and skills of human resources professionals. It is designed to help HR practitioners demonstrate their competence in the field and advance their careers.
To become an IPMA-HR Certified Professional, applicants must have at least four years of professional experience in human resources or a related field. They must also pass an exam that covers topics such as strategic HR management, labor relations, recruitment and selection, compensation and benefits, employee relations, organizational development, and legal compliance.
It typically takes about six months to prepare for the certification exam. Applicants can use study materials from IPMA-HR or other sources to prepare for the exam. The cost of the certification exam varies depending on the applicant’s membership status with IPMA-HR. Non-members pay $495 while members pay $395.
8. National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) Certified HR Generalist
The National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) Certified HR Generalist is a professional certification program offered by NASWA. It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of competency in the field of human resources management. The certification is based on a comprehensive examination that covers all aspects of human resources management, including labor relations, compensation and benefits, staffing, training and development, and organizational development.
It typically takes six months to one year to prepare for the exam and earn the certification. To get the certification, you must first complete an application form and submit it to NASWA with all required materials such as transcripts or other evidence of your education. Once approved, you will receive an exam registration packet that includes information about the exam format and content. After studying for the exam and passing it successfully, you will receive your official certificate from NASWA.
The cost to obtain the NASWA Certified HR Generalist certification varies depending on where you take the exam. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $200-$400 USD for the application fee plus any additional fees associated with taking the exam at a test center.
9. American Staffing Association (ASA) Certified Staffing Professional
The American Staffing Association (ASA) Certified Staffing Professional (CSP) is a professional certification program that recognizes staffing professionals who demonstrate a high level of knowledge and expertise in the staffing industry. The CSP designation is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to the industry by completing an extensive training program and passing a comprehensive exam.
It takes approximately six months to complete the CSP program, depending on how much time you are able to commit to studying for the exam. To become certified, you must complete an approved course of study and pass a written examination. The course of study covers topics such as legal compliance, recruiting, interviewing, selection, retention, labor relations, safety, and other related topics.
To get started with the CSP program, you must first apply online through the ASA website. Once your application is accepted, you will be sent an access code which will allow you to register for the program and begin your studies. You can either take the courses online or attend one of ASA’s approved classroom-based courses.
The cost of becoming ASA Certified Staffing Professional varies depending on whether you choose to take a classroom-based course or an online course. Classroom-based courses typically cost between $1,500 - $2,000 while online courses range from $500 - $750. Additionally, there is also a one-time fee for taking the certification exam which currently stands at $250.
10. International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) Program
The Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) Program is an internationally recognized professional designation program offered by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP). The CEBS Program is designed to provide professionals with a comprehensive understanding of employee benefits and retirement planning. It consists of eight courses, each focusing on a different area of employee benefits and retirement planning. The program is designed for individuals who want to become experts in the field of employee benefits and retirement planning.
The CEBS Program takes approximately two years to complete, depending on the individual's pace. To earn the CEBS designation, students must complete all eight courses within five years. All courses are offered online or in-person at IFEBP locations around the world.
To get started with the CEBS Program, individuals must register for an account on IFEBP’s website and pay a non-refundable registration fee of $125 USD. After registering, students will be given access to course materials and must pass exams for each course in order to receive credit towards their CEBS designation.
The cost of the CEBS Program varies depending on how many courses are taken at once and whether they are taken online or in person. In general, it costs approximately $1,500 - $2,000 USD for all eight courses when taken online or $2,500 - $3,000 USD when taken in person.
11. National Human Resources Association’s HR Certification Institute’s Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR)
The National Human Resources Association’s HR Certification Institute’s Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR) is a certification program designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of entry-level human resources professionals. It is the first step in the HR Certification Institute's professional certification pathway and is intended for those who are just starting out in their HR career or those looking to gain an understanding of foundational HR concepts.
The aPHR certification requires candidates to complete a 3-hour exam that covers topics such as employment law, recruitment and selection, compensation and benefits, employee relations, safety and health, and organizational development. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. Candidates must score at least 70% on the exam to pass.
It typically takes about 6 months to prepare for the aPHR exam. During this time, candidates should become familiar with all of the topics covered on the exam by using study materials such as textbooks, online courses, practice tests, and other resources.
To get certified as an aPHR, candidates must first register with the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). Once registered, they can then purchase an exam voucher from HRCI which will allow them to take the exam at any authorized testing center. The cost of the exam voucher is $395 USD for HRCI members or $495 USD for non-members.
Do You Really Need a Human Resources Generalist Certificate?
The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including your personal goals, the type of job you are seeking and the requirements of the organization you plan to work for.
If you are looking for a job in Human Resources (HR), having a Human Resources Generalist Certificate may help you stand out from other applicants. This certificate demonstrates that you have specialized knowledge related to HR practices and procedures. It also provides evidence that you understand how to effectively manage personnel, recruit new employees and create effective policies and procedures.
Having this certification may also make it easier for employers to recognize your qualifications when considering multiple applicants for a position. It can also give them assurance that you have the necessary skillset to handle HR tasks. Additionally, having a Human Resources Generalist Certificate may make it easier for you to secure higher level positions within an organization or even become certified as an HR professional.
Ultimately, whether or not you need a Human Resources Generalist Certificate is up to you and your individual career goals. If you believe that obtaining one would benefit your career prospects and open up more opportunities for advancement, then it is definitely worth considering.
Related: Human Resources Generalist Resume Examples
FAQs About Human Resources Generalist Certifications
1. What is a Human Resources Generalist Certification?
Answer: A Human Resources Generalist Certification is a professional certification that demonstrates knowledge and expertise in the field of human resources. It is typically awarded by an accredited educational institution or professional organization after completion of an examination or coursework.
2. Who should pursue a Human Resources Generalist Certification?
Answer: Professionals working in the human resources field, such as HR specialists, managers, trainers, recruiters, and consultants, can benefit from obtaining a Human Resources Generalist Certification. This certification can also be beneficial for those seeking to enter the field of human resources with no prior experience.
3. How long does it take to earn a Human Resources Generalist Certification?
Answer: The length of time it takes to earn a Human Resources Generalist Certification will depend on the program and individual's learning pace. Generally speaking, most programs require about six months to one year of study and preparation for the certification exam.
4. What topics are covered in a Human Resources Generalist Certification program?
Answer: Common topics covered in a Human Resources Generalist Certification program include recruitment and selection practices, employee relations management, compensation and benefits administration, training and development strategies, state and federal labor laws, organizational behavior and development theories, performance management systems, job analysis techniques, safety practices in the workplace, conflict resolution methods, strategic planning principles and ethical considerations.
5. Are there any prerequisites for earning a Human Resources Generalist Certification?
Answer: Most programs do not require any prerequisites for earning a Human Resources Generalist Certification; however some may require applicants to have prior experience or education in the field of human resources or related areas such as business administration or psychology.