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The Difference Between SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP: A Guide

March-28-2024

The Difference Between SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP: A Guide

If you're pursuing a career in Human Resources (HR), you may have come across the acronyms SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP. The SHRM-CP (Society for Human Resource Management - Certified Professional) and SHRM-SCP (Society for Human Resource Management - Senior Certified Professional) are considered self-regulating qualifications that demonstrate mastery and dedication to the field of HR.

Human resource professionals need to understand and be aware of the differences so that they may choose their certification course in the appropriate manner: SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. These are the only internationally recognized certifications in the world offered by the largest HR professional society, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Defining SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP

One very common point of difference, but confusing at the same time for HR professionals, is between SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP. So, in order to make the right choice regarding career aspiration and professional growth, let's find out some major differences

SHRM-SCP (Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional)

SHRM-CP is an abbreviation for Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professionals. SHRM-CP certification is relevant for HR professionals who work at the operational HR functions level, effectively apply policies and strategies, serve as a point of contact for staff and stakeholders, deliver HR services, and perform operational HR functions. This certification validates knowledge and practices needed by HR professionals worldwide, regardless of the scale of the individual organization.

SHRM-CP (Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional)

The SHRM-SCP is designed for HR professionals developing strategies, leading the HR function, fostering influence in the community, analyzing performance metrics, and aligning organizational goals with HR strategies. It represents distinguished knowledge in the HR profession. This certification targets senior professionals with at least 6 or 7 years of work experience at a strategic level within the HR function.

The Difference Between SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP

Though SHRM provides options for SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP, the difference between SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP is the level of expertise and nature of job responsibilities for the two exams. Any professional HR experience of at least three years fulfills the eligibility requirement for sitting in the certification examination. This requirement is designed to ensure that candidates have a foundational understanding of human resource practices and principles before becoming certified.

To be eligible for the SHRM-CP exam, you need a combination of work experience and educational qualifications in HR. This can be something from having three years or less of related experience in the HR role, with less than a Bachelor's degree, to working in the role of an HR professional presently, with a degree at a Bachelor's level or above.

The eligibility for the SHRM-SCP exam includes a combination of educational level and HR experience. Professionals with less than a Bachelor's degree could work in an HR role for a minimum of six years and a maximum of four years with a Bachelor's or higher degree.

Focus and Coverage

The SHRM-CP certification places a strong emphasis on the technical and operational aspects of HR management. It is designed to equip HR professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively perform tasks related to compensation, talent acquisition, employee relations, and HR administration. Candidates preparing for the exam can expect to work on developing a deep understanding of HR practices, policies, and procedures.

On the other hand, the SHRM-SCP certification is tailored for HR professionals in senior roles and places a greater emphasis on strategic and leadership competencies. It equips candidates with the skills necessary to contribute to the development and execution of HR strategies that align with organizational goals. Candidates preparing for the SHRM-SCP exam can expect to focus on areas such as strategic planning, people development, organizational effectiveness, and workplace management.

Exam Content

The SHRM-CP (Certified Professional) test checks if you are prepared when it comes to the basics of HR. This test has multiple-choice questions designed to see if you understand key job-related concepts and if you can apply what you've learned in real-life HR situations.

On the other hand, the SHRM-SCP (Senior Certified Professional) test is more challenging. This test has multiple-choice questions but it adds in what they call situational judgment questions as well. These questions give you real-life HR situations to solve, like what you might face in top-level leadership roles. This test is designed to see how well you can use HR knowledge to make smart decisions and solve complex problems.

Career Opportunities

Obtaining the SHRM-CP certification expands an individual's career opportunities in the field of human resources. With the certification, individuals are eligible for a variety of HR roles that require a strong foundational understanding of HR practices.

Some of the career paths that candidates with the SHRM-CP certification can pursue include HR generalist, HR specialist, and HR coordinator positions. These roles typically involve performing various HR functions such as recruitment, employee relations, compensation, and HR administration.

On the other hand, attaining the SHRM-SCP certification opens doors to more senior HR leadership positions. This certification is designed for HR professionals who have extensive experience and possess advanced strategic and leadership competencies.

With the SHRM-SCP certification, individuals are well-equipped to take on roles such as HR director, HR manager, or VP of HR. These positions involve overseeing HR functions at a strategic level, developing and implementing HR strategies aligned with organizational goals, and shaping the overall HR direction of the organization.

Professional Development

Achieving the SHRM-CP certification illustrates an individual's commitment to professional development and staying abreast of current HR practices. Holding the certification demonstrates a dedication to continuous learning and a desire to enhance one's knowledge in the field of human resources.

Renewal Requirements

SHRM-CP-certified professionals have to renew their certification every three years. They do this by constantly learning and participating in activities that can further their professional development. This way, they are always up-to-date with the newest HR trends, techniques, and legal essentials. This helps them continue to be experts, able to offer valuable advice within their organizations.

On the other hand, the SHRM-SCP certification is for those who have achieved the highest skill levels in HR. Having this shows that a person has gone the extra mile in their career advancement, specifically focusing on gaining knowledge and skills in managing HR at a strategic level.

Like SHRM-CP holders, SHRM-SCP-certified professionals also have to renew their certification every three years to make sure they stay on top of HR practices. This ensures they continue to show their deep understanding of HR strategy, leadership, and how to make an organization successful.

Choose the Right Certification Path for Your HR Career

The difference between SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP stems from their focus, eligibility requirements, exam content, career opportunities, and professional development implications.

By understanding the distinctions between these two certifications, you can make an informed decision about which certification aligns with your career goals and takes you further in your HR profession.

Exam Edge offers comprehensive practice tests and study materials for both certifications, aiding your exam preparation and ensuring success in your certification journey. Prepare for your HR certification exams today.


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