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Prove your expertise and knowledge in all the verticals of the HR profession with the SHRM certification. It helps you become a globally recognized HR expert for effective human resource management.

Unlike doctors, engineers, lawyers, or teachers, human resource (HR) managers or executives need not obtain any specialized license to do their jobs. But, you may see many prestigious and premium HR position vacancies are only looking for SHRM certified candidates. 

Sometimes, you will even see employers mention that SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certification is the eligibility criteria if you want to apply for an HR manager post. So, you might be wondering what this certification course is and how to go about it.

Continue reading to find out all you need to know about the SHRM accreditation process so that you can become one of the top paid HR managers and make the workplace more sustainable for both employers and employees.

What Is SHRM Certification?

SHRM, also known as the Society for Human Resource Management, is the largest association for HR professionals, experts, and business executives. SHRM has more than 300,000 members spread across 165 countries. Businesses, governments, and corporations around the world consider SHRM as the authority for everything about managing human resources.

This non-profit membership organization of HRs devotes its resources to promote, connect, and educate HR professionals to improve workplaces. As a part of its education program, it offers paid certification programs SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP.

Irrespective of the industry, country, and region, all the employers consider SHRM certification as a premiere and absolute certification in HR that one can get. Globally top enterprises value this certification since it is not memory-based but a competency-based certification process.     

What are the types of SHRM Certification?

SHRM has two HR professional certifications, namely, SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP. Both the accreditations are paid examinations. Certified HR experts and executives often add accreditations as a prefix to their names.

SHRM has been in the service of HR professionals for more than 70 years. It offers comprehensive learning and training resources so that HRs can move ahead in their careers, add value to their workplaces, and devise strategies for advanced HR management. The followings are the two behavioral-competency based exams for HRs:


SHRM-Certified Professional or SHRM-CP is the first accreditation in your journey to a complete SHRM-certified HR professional career. If you are a company HR and mostly work at the operational level, this certification is appropriate for you.

This certification will test you on the followings:

  • Foundational HR knowledge
  • Operating HR technology tools
  • Collecting data
  • Supervising compliance and ethics
  • Taking disciplinary actions

Hence, if you are an HR responsible for enforcing company rules and regulations, running payroll, carrying out day-to-day HR tasks, or responsible for interacting with employees as an HR business partner, then your skills are suitable for SHRM-CP accreditation.


SHRM-Senior Certified Professional or SHRM-SCP is the second or final level exam to become a full-service SHRM certified HR. 

The exam will examine your abilities on: 

  • Authoring strategic HR decisions
  • Performing workforce scheduling tasks
  • Creating organization policy for the entire company
  • Supervising integrated HR operations
  • Employee engagement and retention
  • Leading an HR enterprise   

Therefore, if you are working as the executive HR or willing to perform a leadership role in HR, you must pass this test.

Eligibility Criteria for Various SHRM Certifications

First off, if you are working as an HR in a business and want to get a verifiable accreditation for career growth or promotion at the same company, you can take this test.

Secondly, if you are a student pursuing a degree course in HR and want to validate your HR skills, you may enroll for the SHRM exam. The followings are exam-wise eligibility criteria:

Qualifications for SHRM-CP

  • A student of business management with HR as a specialization.
  • An HR professional pursuing higher studies in Human Resource Management.
  • Working as an HR associate and performing day-to-day HR tasks.
  • If you do not work as an HR or do not pursue any HRM courses but hold or pursue a program that is academically aligned with Human Resource Management, you can appear for the test.  

Qualifications for SHRM-SCP

  • If you are working as an HR and possess provable experience working as a strategic-level HR for at least three years, you can appear for the test.
  • You are also eligible if you have held the SHRM-CP certification for at least three years. You also need to demonstrate that you are working in strategic-level HR projects under someone’s supervision or waiting to be transitioned to a strategic-level position.
  • All the test-takers also must prove that they have worked in strategic-level HR/HR-related projects for 1,000 hours in a calendar year. You can not compare 1 year of experience with 1,000 hours of strategic-level HR work.
  • Your projects could be in an organization as a salaried employee, part-time consulting work, full-time consultation, or freelance HR professionals working on hourly projects.     

An Overview of the SHRM Examination

SHRM certification has two testing options: test from home via remote proctoring software or test at a Prometric Test Center.

SHRM usually conducts the exam twice a year: May 1 to July 15 and December 1 to February 15. However, the exam span may change each year along with the registration date. Hence, visit the Exam Windows and Fees page whenever you decide to take the test.

There are different exam fees for SHRM accreditation and are subject to change from year to year. Usually, the fee is between $149 for the SHRM members and $475 for non-members.

Once you register, it is time to prepare for the exam. You may also prepare before registering by subscribing to third-party courses.

For SHRM-based preparation, you can start with SHRM BASK, SHRM Learning System, join a study group at the local SHRM chapter, etc.

The exam is a computer-based test that lasts for up to 4 hours. You will get 134 questions, and the average time to answer a question is 1.79 minutes. You must secure 200 marks to pass the test. Once you submit your test, SHRM informs the result instantly.

The exam syllabus will cover 9 behavioral competencies of an HR like Leadership, Relationship Management, Communication, Consultation, etc.

The SHRM test syllabus also includes 14 functional areas of an HR personnel. Examples are HR Strategic Planning, Talent Acquisition, Total Rewards, Technology Management, U.S. Employment Law & Regulations, etc.           

How to Maintain the Validity of an SHRM Certification

The SHRM exam certification status follows a three-year cycle process. You need to get recertification before the expiry of this cycle. The certified status cycle begins on the date when you have passed the exam and expires after 3 years and on the last day of the birth month. 

The best way of recertifying is to earn 60 PDCs or Professional Development Credits. PDCs are SHRM-authorized activities and events. These events include the followings:

  • Educational workshops or programs
  • Conferences
  • University/College-level courses
  • SHRM Chapter programs
  • Viewing SHRM webcasts
  • Completing SHRM e-learning courses
  • Reading e-books and books approved by SHRM 

To keep your credentials active, you can either take the recertification test. It is the same test that you passed earlier. You will have to pay the similar fee that a new candidate is paying at the time of the registration. Just ensure that you are appearing and passing the recertification test before the existing credential’s expiry date.      

Here are some of the best learning resources for SHRM Certification preparation.

Essential Steps for HR Pros

Udemy is one of the leading online course platforms where you will get high-quality training material on the SHRM exam. One such resource is the SHRM Certification Exam Prep. The course aims at providing the groundwork so that you can understand how to start preparing for SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP examinations.

First off, the course covers the background of the SHRM exams, like a succinct introduction to the SHRM, BASK, or Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge. Secondly, it also introduces you to the concept on which the exam is conducted. For example, you will get familiar with the 14 Functional Areas and 9 Behavioral Competencies that you need to pass the exams.

Some of the notable learning outcomes of this course are:

  • Learn the strategy for exam preparation
  • Ability to the contrast between the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP
  • Find out more than one exam preparation option and choose one
  • Learn some test-taking tips
  • Know the entire certification process

In a nutshell, the course should function as a self-learning guide for SHRM accreditation.        

Prep to Pass The SHRM-CP Exam

Once you have learned the basics of the SHRM test, it is time for dedicated and rigorous learning. If you are coming with entry-level knowledge of the HR vertical, you can start your preparations by subscribing to Udemy’s Prep to Pass The SHRM-CP Exam course.

Here are the learning outcomes of this Udemy course: 

  • Storing command over HR foundational topics and learnings
  • Become confident to pass the behavioral competencies test
  • Get acquainted with the exam environment by taking mock tests
  • Develop confidence and grow answering pace by taking quizzes   

Authored by an actual SHRM-CP certified HR professional, it is one of the most comprehensive SHRM exam prep materials you can get for an affordable price. The course content includes video lessons, reading materials, quizzes, and a final mock test.

Certification Prep: SHRM-CP

LinkedIn Learning’s Certification Prep: SHRM-CP is yet another popular and elaborate online course that you can follow. The author divided the course into two parts. The first part is the basic knowledge of the SHRM certification process, exam tips, exam content, and a detailed study plan.

The second part deals with the HR management topics on which the SHRM organization conducts the exam. Hence, you will learn the HR fundamentals like leadership & navigation, ethical practices, communication, relationship management, business acumen, workplace, etc.

After each learning section, there will be a study quiz. Apart from all the learning materials, you get a project file and course completion certificate. Finally, you can access the course materials on smartphones and tablets along with computer web browsers.       

SHRM Certification Exam Preparation

HR Jetpack is a globally acclaimed brand for HR professional training. One of its hybrid training courses for SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP certifications is the SHRM Exam Preparation. We call it hybrid because you get instructor-led and self-paced learning opportunities by subscribing to this content.

The HR Jetpack’s course comes with interesting and intuitive course content. These are:

  • Live instructor-led online classes of over 36 hours discuss important concepts
  • You can also ask questions to clear doubts during the sessions
  • A basic and self-paced course to know the SHRM exam fundamentals
  • The Elimination Consideration of HR Jetpack helps to answer complex questions
  • Updated online learning materials for the current exam year
  • Digital or physical SHRM materials
  • A community of focused and talented HR peers

As per the content author and Jetpack, it is a complete package of learning content to pass both of the SHRM accreditation examinations. The open program comes with an organized content structure for effortless learning. 

Furthermore, it offers you guidance from an instructor. Moreover, the instructor-led sessions are flexible so that you can conveniently attend those classes even if you are working.       

SHRM Certification Prep

You can also look at this instructor-led training program from California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), known as SHRM Certification Prep. The institute conducts the live classes through Blackboard Learn, an online learning system. On the other hand, you can attend the classes through Zoom. All the live classes are mandatory.

The course comes with the following content and tools:

  • SHRM Learning System exam preparation tool
  • SHRM exam-friendly course structure and content
  • Course content access for 24/7
  • 2500+ practice questions
  • Quizzes, pretest, post-test, and mock SHRM exam
  • Personalized exam preparation tracking dashboard     

SHRM is also a partner of this course, and therefore you get access to the SHRM Learning System. It will help you retain knowledge, learn faster, and stay focused for the ultimate certification exam.

Final Words

If you want to distinguish yourself from your peers, supervisors, and those good HRs that manage today’s businesses, you need to get a certification. For HRs, there is no better certification than passing the SHRM Certification program. It gives you the strategic focus, knowledge, and competencies to effectively manage the HR business of any industry.

The above article will take you one step closer to SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certification and grab that world-class, premium, and leadership HR role you have dreamed of all your life.

HR management is not just passing exams; it is also about handling state-of-the-art software (HRMS) to manage HR processes effortlessly and quickly. Hence, you may also be interested in these best SaaS HRMS for startups and enterprises.

Also, look at how to get a PHR certificate.

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  • Bipasha Nath
    Bipasha has a decade of experience as a technical and creative writer. Holding degrees in English and Sociology and having worked with software development firms, she possesses a unique perspective on how technology intertwines with our…

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