HR Certification Preparation
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HR Certification Partners

Decide to Pursue Certification

Make the Case for Support

Determine Eligibility

Choose a Learning Option

Apply for Exam

Remaining Certified

The Future of HR is Here

HR Certification is the driving force behind effective business outcomes and talent management for HR professionals across industries, sectors and organization size.

Certification is a career-long commitment that demonstrates dedication, credibility and a mastery of the principles of human resources to your employers, clients, staff members and professional peers around the globe. Certification attests to the investment you have made in your HR career and holds a recognized place in the profession.

To become certified, you must meet strict professional experience and educational requirements before taking the exam. To remain certified, you must stay current in the HR profession and recertify every three years.

How Certification Differs from a Certificate Program

Compared with certificate programs, certification has three main advantages:

  • requires specific work experience, competency and education
  • requires recertification, which makes sure that you stay current in the HR profession through continuing education
  • allows you to put the letters after your name

In other words, certification typically consists of the three "E"s: education, experience and examination. All HRCI Certifications have earned program wide accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

6 Reasons Why You Should Pursue HR Certification

  1. Credentials are offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and by HR Certification Institute. SHRM is the world’s largest HR membership organization and HRCI is the largest HR certification organization in the world. PIHRA is proud to partner with both.

  2. HR certification exams test your knowledge AND how you use that knowledge to demonstrate your proficiency as a business leader.

  3. HR certification programs meet the needs of employers worldwide, driving business through the globally recognized competencies for HR professionals around the world.

  4. Increase your salary by more than $20,000 with an HR credential. Fortune 500 employers are seeking HR certified professionals from every sector and industry.

  5. PIHRA’s recertification program provides a broad scope of eligible recertification activities, allowing you to determine your professional development needs based on your specific career path.

  6. HR certifications are relevant to your job, keeping you up to date in your profession.

Make the case for training support

You know the benefits that HR certification would bring to you and your organization. Now it’s time to ask for the support of your manager. PIHRA can help!

Before you approach your supervisor, consider how this training will not only benefit you and your career, but the entire organization. Be prepared to discuss how HR management training can help you meet challenges and influence business objectives related to current initiatives at your company or within your department. Answer how much your training will cost in terms of out-of-pocket expenses and determine whether training will qualify for tuition reimbursement, state-funded training grants or assistance programs. Start with your department training budget and go from there.

Download the Top Five Reasons My Employer Will Benefit flyer and use the email template to help you draft a letter to your supervisor. Revise and edit as necessary.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must meet specific educational and work experience criteria at the time they submit their application in order to be eligible to sit for an HR Certification exam.The requirements for both HRCI and SHRM are provided below.


Credential Less than a Bachelor's Degree* Bachelor's Degree Graduate Degree
HR-Related Program Non-HR Program HR-Related Degree Non-HR Degree HR-Related Degree Non-HR Degree
SHRM-CP 3 years in HR role 4 years in HR role 1 year in HR
2 years in HR role Currently in HR role 1 year in HR role
SHRM-SCP 6 years in HR role 7 years in HR role 4 years in HR role 5 years in HR role 3 years in HR
4 years in HR role

*Less than a bachelor’s degree includes: working toward a bachelor’s degree; associate’s degree; some college; qualifying HR certificate program; high school diploma; or GED.

For more details on SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP exam eligibility, click here.





  • A minimum of 1 year of experience in a professional-level HR position with a Master's degree or higher, OR
  • A minimum of 2 years of experience in a professional-level HR position with a Bachelor's degree, OR
  • A minimum of 4 years of experience in a professional-level HR position with less than a Bachelor's degree


  • A minimum of 4 years of experience in a professional-level HR position with a Master’s degree or higher, OR
  • A minimum of 5 years of experience in a professional-level HR position with a Bachelor’s degree, OR
  • A minimum of 7 years of experience in a professional-level HR position with less than a Bachelor's degree

Still unsure which HRCI certification is right for you? Click the image below to try HRCI's interactive form.

Need additional answers? Try FAQs from HRCI and SHRM.


Learning Options

PIHRA has partnered with Southern California Universities to offer you the options you need. Whether virtual or in-person, we assembled a list of class offerings for you to get certified today. And in most cases, as a PIHRA member, you receive an additional discount.

The classes below are offered through third parties and full details regarding cost, materials, date & time can be found by clicking the corresponding registration link below.

Learning Options Partner

Irvine - Tuesdays

In person, 12 week

Brandman University
16355 Laguna Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92618
Registration closed



In person, 12 week

Brandman University

16355 Laguna Canyon Road

Irvine, CA 92618

Registration closed



Virtual, 12 week

Brandman University

Online Class with On Demand Access

Registration Now Open



Los Angeles

In person, 12 week

Cal State Downtown Los Angeles

801 S. Grand Avenue, 6th Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90017

Registration closed



Virtual, 7 or 9 week 

Online Class

Registration Opening Soon



Los Angeles

In person, 3 day

Convene LA

777 South Figueroa Street

Los Angeles, CA 90017

Registration Now Open



Through our partners, PIHRA now offers both HRCI and SHRM exam preparation courses. Now offering:





HR Essentials

*PHR/SPHR classes require a separate purchase of learning materials. Please view individual class details for information. Please email us at with questions.


Applying to Take An Exam

You have made the important decision to pursue HR certification. Congratulations! Now you must decide which exam to take.We know this can be confusing and suggest you read the information below as well as explore the links provided for up-to-date information from both SHRM and HRCI.

With regard to the SHRM credential, even if you are eligible to sit for the SHRM-SCP exam, you may still choose to pursue the SHRM-CP. This certification is designed for HR professionals who are engaged primarily in an operational role—implementing policies, serving as the HR point of contact for staff and stakeholders, and/or performing day-to-day HR functions. If this is your focus, the SHRM-CP is likely your best option.

The SHRM-SCP certification is designed for HR professionals at a senior level who operate primarily in a strategic role—developing policies and strategies, overseeing the execution of HR operations, analyzing performance metrics, and/or contributing to the alignment of HR strategies to organizational goals.

However, if you are pursuing a certification offered by HRCI, there are seven to choose from. Rather than detail that information here, please visit to learn which certification may be right for you. Once you've selected your course, exam dates for all seven HRCI certifications are available, on any day of the year, at approved testing centers. Learn more about


HRCI now offers year round testing. Therefore, the window below is for SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP only:

Spring Window: May 1, 2018 - Jul 15, 2018
Applications Accepted: Jan 2 - Mar 23
Late Application Deadline: Apr 13

Fall Window: Dec 1, 2018 - Feb 15, 2019
Applications Accepted: May 14 - Oct 19
Late Application Deadline: Nov 9
Please note: The exam application deadlines close at 11:59 PM, ET.

The seminars offered are not a substitute for certification examination. If you wish to take any of the 9  examinations available, you must complete a separate application form via SHRM OR HRCI. Please note, there are also application fees for the exams which are separate from the fee you will pay for an exam preparation course.


Recertification Guidelines

Not only is PIHRA a SHRM Education Partner, there for you when you start the process . . . we are also a Recertification Provider and will help you to maintain your valuable credential you worked so hard to obtain.

All certifications are valid for three years. Recertification is required every three years through demonstrated professional development (preferred method) or retaking the exam.

Time Frame
3-year recertification period.
The recertification period begins the date that a candidate takes and passes the exam.
The recertification period ends on the last day of a credential holder’s birth month, at least 3 years from the date the candidate becomes certified.
During the first recertification period, some credential holders may have a slightly longer period.

Required Number of Credits
60 professional development credits (PDC)

Qualifying Recertification Activities
All activities must be related to human resource topic areas or related competencies consistent with the areas outlined in the Body of Competency and Knowledge (BoCK).

PIHRA offers more than 200 opportunities each year to obtain recertification credits. Most popular are the California HR Conference, Legal Update, monthly webinars, and monthly meetings in a community near you.

Recertification Opportunities

Contact Us

Professionals In Human Resources Association (PIHRA)
1515 W 190th St, Ste 530
Gardena, CA 90248
+1(310) 416-1210
Fax +1(310) 416-9055