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How Long Does It Take to Get a SHRM Certification?

March-29-2024

How Long Does It Take to Get a SHRM Certification?

To advance your career in human resources, there are certifications that you can hold to stand out from the crowd. The SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) certifications prove that you’ve passed a comprehensive exam that tests all aspects of your HR knowledge.

Let’s talk about the time frame required to obtain a SHRM certification, taking into account factors that might affect how long it takes. We’ll look at the certification level you need, how much study and preparation time it takes, and how scheduling and approval happen.

What is SHRM?

The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) is a globally recognized nonprofit professional organization dedicated to the growth and development of human resource professionals. It offers industry-leading certifications, networking opportunities, educational resources, and advocacy for HR-related issues.

Certification Levels and Time Commitment

One of the most common questions HR professionals who want to expand their career face is “How long does it take to get a SHRM certification?” Often, many of us are balancing work and life while trying to advance our careers, so it’s a valid question.

There are different certification levels for HR professionals. The two most commonly sought-after ones are the SHRM-CP and the SHRM-SCP:

  1. SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP): This certification is ideal for HR professionals performing operational tasks such as policy implementation and day-to-day management.

  2. SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP): This advanced certification is designed for senior HR professionals involved in strategic tasks, including policy development and data analysis.

Although a SHRM certification is not a mandatory requirement to work in the HR industry, it is highly recognized and valued by employers across all sectors. An SHRM certification can enhance one's employability, increase earning potential, and validate one's expertise in applying HR principles to real-world situations.

SHRM-CP (SHRM Certified Professional) Certification

If you want to further a new career in HR, the SHRM-CP is the certification that would benefit you the most It’s designed for those who are early in their HR careers, showing you have a strong foundation in HR management and principles.

To qualify for the SHRM-CP certification, you would need to have a minimum of 3 years of working experience in an HR role if you have a bachelor’s degree. If you’re a non-degree holder, you would need 4 years of experience.

The exam covers various HR competencies such as HR strategic planning, employee relations, compensation and benefits, and talent acquisition.

SHRM-SCP (SHRM Senior Certified Professional) Certification


If you have more experience in human resources, the SHRM-SCP certification can further solidify your career as an HR professional. This certification is for HR professionals with multiple years of experience in senior HR roles.

It proves your ability to apply advanced HR knowledge and strategic principles in complex settings. This certification requires more time for studying and preparation compared to the SHRM-CP certification, and while it is four hours long, requires more up-front study than the SHRM-CP for most people.

If you’re aiming for the SHRM-SCP certification, you would need a minimum of 6 years of HR experience if you have a bachelor’s degree. If you’re not a degree holder, you need 7 years of HR experience.

The SHRM-CP certification exam focuses on advanced HR topics, such as organizational development, workforce planning, global HR, and HR metrics and measurement.

Studying and Preparation Time

SHRM offers a variety of exam preparation resources, including the SHRM Learning System and SHRM Certification Handbook. Applicants can choose to self-study or enroll in instructor-led courses. The preparation time largely depends on the individual's current knowledge level and the time they can dedicate to study.

Review the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (BoCK) as a primary study resource. This lets you understand the content areas and topics that may be covered in the certification exam.

How long does it take to get a SHRM certification when it comes to studying time? The average study time recommended by SHRM to prepare for the SHRM-CP exam is around 41 to 200 hours. On the other hand, the average recommended study time to prepare for the SHRM-SCP exam is around 41 to 80 hours. The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams each consist of 160 questions that test the competency level of HR principles.

Application and Approval Process

If you’re ready to register for the SHRM certification exam, there are eligibility requirements that you need to meet, as well as follow the application process. You generally should be able to provide education, work experience, and HR-related responsibilities. Here’s what you need to do:

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the certification, you will need to provide the necessary information: your educational background, years of work experience, HR-related responsibilities, and any SHRM chapter or membership affiliation. The eligibility criteria for SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP are based on the combination of one's educational qualifications and HR-related work experience. The specific requirements vary depending on whether one's degree is HR-related or not and if the degree is a bachelor's or graduate degree.

Complete and Submit the Application for Review

Fill out the online application form on the SHRM website. You’ll have to create an account and upload documentation, including the following: your resume, academic transcripts, and any other relevant certifications. Provide accurate and detailed information about your qualifications and experience as well.

Then, review your application and ensure that all details are correct. Submit this along with the application fee.

Once submitted, they will review your application and see if you’re eligible for the SHRM certification exam. The review process can take several weeks, so please submit your application well in advance of your desired exam date.

Authorization to Test (ATT) Letter

Once you’re approved, you’ll receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter via email. The ATT Letter will allow you to schedule your exam.

Should you feel prepared to embark on the certification journey, it's time to arrange your SHRM exam sitting. The exam is offered during specific periods within the year, allowing you to select the window that best aligns with your schedule: either May through July or December through February. It's important to note, however, that the availability of exam slots can differ based on your geographical location.

To secure your preferred exam date, it's wise to book well in advance. The sooner you lock in your date, the better your chances of securing a slot that fits seamlessly into your preparation schedule and study plans. Conversely, delaying your booking could lead to a scarcity of available dates. The earlier you prepare, the better off you will be when it comes to scheduling your exam.

Results

SHRM certification results usually become available after a few weeks. You’ll receive a digital certificate and digital badge, and your name will be listed in the SHRM Certification Directory.

You should factor this waiting period into your overall timeline for obtaining your SHRM certification. And, allow yourself ample time to receive and process the results before moving forward with any further steps in your professional development plan.

Prepare for Your SHRM Certification Exam Today

So, how long does it take to get a SHRM certification? Obtaining a SHRM certification requires time, dedication, and careful planning.

The exact duration may vary depending on multiple factors – the specific certification level, study and preparation time, exam schedule, and the application and approval process. During this period, invest in study resources, such as practice exams and prep courses. This will increase your chances of success.

Remember, an SHRM certification can open doors to exciting career opportunities in the field. So, start your journey today and take the first step towards becoming a SHRM-certified professional.

Ready to enhance your HR career? Prepare for success with SHRM practice tests and study guides. With our comprehensive resources, you'll be well-equipped to ace your SHRM certification exam. Don't wait, start studying today!



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