Selecting the Right HR Certification

You have made the important decision to pursue SHRM certification. Congratulations! Now you must decide whether to apply for the SHRM-CP or the SHRM-SCP exam.

Your first and most important decision is to determine which level of the certification exam is the right one for you to take; then to check your eligibility. Simply answer the questions below, refer to the eligibility criteria to confirm that you meet them, and then apply online. Note: Per the eligibility criteria changes on January 1, 2022,  everyone who does not perform executive-level or strategic level must take the SHRM-CP.  Taking a specialty credential, if recommended by the Decision Tool, before applying for the SHRM-CP is optional.

Even if you are eligible to sit for the SHRM-SCP exam, you may still choose to pursue the SHRM-CP. This credential is designed for HR professionals who are engaged primarily in operational roles—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.

One approach to selecting the right exam is to read the SHRM BASK and assess which proficiency statements best represent the work you perform on a daily basis. If your daily work most resembles the proficiency statements listed for advanced professionals, then we suggest applying for the SHRM-SCP exam. If your daily work most resembles the proficiency statements listed for all professionals, then we suggest applying for the SHRM-CP exam.

International applicants also choose between the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP based on the credential most relevant to them. Please note that international exams may ask about employment law concepts rather than the employment laws of any particular country or region.  

For additional information e-mail certification@shrm.org.