[Steve Bruce interviewed Mary Power, Executive Director of the HR Certification Institute, on November 22.]
"Our Value of Certification studies clearly show the advantages of certification," says Mary Power, Executive Director of the HR Certification Institute. For example, 96 percent of hiring employers said certification is an advantage for applicants and 91 percent thought it was an advantage for HR managers seeking promotions.
Powers, in an exclusive interview with HRDA, discussed the revamped eligibility criteria for HRCI's exams, and the value of the certification to HR managers and their employers.
Eligibility for Certification Benefits Made More Stringent
HRDA: What brought about the changes in eligibility requirements?
Power: These changes are a result of the evaluations that we do systematically. Every few years, we do a "practice analysis" for each of the exams. This is a rigorous evaluation to make sure that what is on our tests stays relevant to what's happening in the real world of HR. In addition, we do benchmarking on a regular basis to make sure that our eligibility requirements and our recertification requirements are in line with professional certification standards and appropriate for our profession.
Our recent clarification of the eligibility requirements will help to steer people toward the appropriate test for their particular level of experience and their particular position.
HRDA: Specifically, what's changed?
Power: Essentially the old eligibility standard was "two years of professional (exempt-level) HR work experience" for PHR, SPHR, and GPHR. The new eligibility requirements (which take effect beginning with the May-June 2011 exam testing period) provide different requirements for the three exams and differentiate based on degree held.
Here are the new requirements:
PHR (Professional in Human Resources) Eligibility
1 year of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher
2 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Bachelor’s degree
4 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree
SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) Eligibility
4 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher
5 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with a Bachelor’s degree
7 years of demonstrated professional HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree
GPHR (Global Professional in Human Resources) Eligibility
2 years of demonstrated global professional HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher
3 years of demonstrated professional HR experience (with 2 of the 3 being global HR experience) with a Bachelor’s degree
4 years of demonstrated professional HR experience (with 2 of the 4 being global HR experience) with less than a Bachelor’s degree
Note: For California Certification, applicants must possess a current PHR or SPHR certification.
HRDA: Can people still become certified under the old requirements?
Power: We've just closed the next round of testing, and that means if you haven't applied at this point, you'll have to apply under the new rules.
HRDA: In general, the new requirements demand more years of experience than the old rules, except for PHR eligibility, where those with masters' degrees now need only one year of experience.
Power: Yes, that's true for the PHR exam. However, we've found that the people with the Master's degrees or higher generally have practical experience from internships or project management that enhance that one year of experience.
HRDA: What does this change in requirements mean for HR managers who are already certified?
Power: This change will enhance the value of their credential.
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Value of Certification
HRDA: What sort of statistics do you have to indicate the value of certification, to both the company and the individual?
Power: There are clear indicators that certification provides benefits for both companies and individuals. We study this carefully and have just released the results of our VOC—Value of Certification—study.
From the company standpoint, participants in the study reported improvements that were attributed to certification in customer satisfaction, employee engagement, turnover, and profits.
In addition, companies said that certification:
Meanwhile, certified individuals reported seeking certification because it has a strong reputation, and also to:
HRDA: Are there many companies that will hire only certified HR applicants?
Power: We don't have a formal study on this, but our anecdotal evidence suggests that during the current downturn, when companies can be more selective, some are only considering certified candidates for their open positions.
HRDA: Can you guarantee that a certified candidate is a better candidate?
Power: I always say it's not a guarantee, but an indicator. One interesting development that backs up that idea is this: We're seeing more and more companies that consider certification as part of their risk management program. Certification indicates a mastery of the laws.
HRDA: Where can HR managers go for more information?
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