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Best HR certifications for beginners – 2018


Over the last few years, there has been a growing understanding of the benefits of HR credentials within the industry. Competitiveness for HR jobs means that more professionals are listing HR certifications as “required” as opposed to “preferred” on their job postings.

The increasing number of certified HR professionals indicates that this type of qualification is now seen as mandatory for HR professionals who are expected to take on complex challenges in their careers. Whether engaging with talent management, payroll and employee benefits, or labor relations and risk management, the training and expertise required to pass the HR certification exams become a pre-requisite for employers and employees.


1. aPHR (HRCI)

HR Certification Institute®(HRCI®), with its main office in the U.S., is one of the premier credentialing organization of the human resources industry. For 40 years, it has set the standard for HR mastery and excellence around the globe. An independent, nonprofit organization, HRCI is dedicated to advancing the HR profession by developing and administering best-in-class accredited certifications

About aPHR - HRCI's Associate Professional in Human Resources™(aPHR™) is the perfect certification to help fast-track your career growth and provide you with the confidence to launch into the HR profession. The PHR is the first-ever HR certification designed for professionals who are just beginning their HR career journey and are looking to prove their knowledge of foundational Human Resources expertise.

To be eligible for the aPHR, you must have a high school diploma or global equivalent. No HR experience is required since this is a knowledge-based credential.

  • HR Operations (38%)
  • Recruitment and Selection (15%)
  • Compensation and Benefits (14%)
  • Human Resource Development and Retention (12%)
  • Employee Relations (16%)
  • Health, Safety, and Security (5%)


2. TMP (TMI)

Talent management Institute provides standards, credentials, knowledge, initiatives, and networks to lead the charge on the much-needed revolution of the methods in which organizations leverage their human capital for enduring growth and success. Talent Management Institute (TMI) looks to go much beyond merely fueling 21st century HR through Talent Management; it is working at making this emerging discipline the new engine for organizations’ bold march into the future.

About TMP - TMP™ is the best starter-qualification not just for breaking into Talent Management, but even to thrive in the human resource profession – whether you are a young HR professional, or you are graduating out of a university with a major in HR. While growth in traditionally-modelled HR is plateauing, the best jobs in HR increasingly demand proven knowledge of Talent Management. TMP™ makes you an attractive hire for a vast majority of HR recruiters today around the world.

Eligibility - Those with a Bachelor’s degree may apply if they have 2 years of experience in an HR role while holding an HR-related degree or 3 years of experience in an HR role while holding a non-HR degree. Meanwhile, the advanced programs are available to those who have completed a Master’s Degree in HR-related specialization, and are currently holding an HR role.

Curriculum -

  • Concepts & Perspectives in Talent Management
  • Elements of Strategy & Leadership
  • Critical Focus Areas of Talent Management Practice
  • International Talent Management Experiences & Insights


3. Student Membership (CIPD)

They are a professional body for experts in people at work. For over a 100 years, CIPD has been championing better work and working lives by setting professional standards for HR and people development, as well as driving positive, lasting change. With hubs in the UK, Ireland, Middle East and Asia, they are the career partner of choice for more than 145,000 members around the world. It is also the only body in the world that can award Chartered status to individual HR and L&D professionals, alongside independent research and insights that makes them trusted advisers to governments and employers.

About Student Membership (CIPD) - Student membership is for you if you:

  • are currently studying or about to study a CIPD-accredited qualification in HR or L&D
  • need immediate access to CIPD resources and support for your studies
  • want to progress to professional membership at the end of your studies.

Eligibility - Entry requirement is not set by the CIPD and would vary depending on your chosen study centres own entry criteria.

Curriculum -

  • Process of Job Analysis
  • Performance & Reward Management
  • Managing Employment Relations
  • Using Human Resource Information
  • Learning and Development Practitioner
  • Learning Through Coaching and Mentorin
  • Supporting change within Organizations



The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR professional society, representing 285,000 members in more than 165 countries. For nearly seven decades, the Society has been the leading provider of resources serving the needs of HR professionals and advancing the practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates.

About SHRM - CP - HR professionals who implement policies and strategies, serve as point of contact for staff and stakeholders, deliver HR services, and perform operational HR functions, should take the SHRM-CP exam.

Eligibility - Those with diplomas or certifications must have at least 3 years in an HR role if they possess qualifications in an HR program or 4 years in an HR role with qualifications in a non-HR program. The candidates who possess a Bachelor’s Degree require a year of experience, if enrolled in an HR-related degree or two years in an HR role, if they were a part of a non-HR degree. Those holding post-graduate degree require only a full-time position in an HR role if they have been part of an HR-related degree, or just a year in an HR-role if they have been part of a Non-HR degree.

Curriculum-The curriculum for SHRM-CP broadly contains the following and many more:

  • HR Competencies
  • Relationship Management
  • Communication
  • Talent Acquisition & Retention
  • Employee Engagement
  • Learning & Development
  • Structure of the HR Function
  • Organizational Effectiveness & Development
  • Workforce Management
  • Employee Relations
  • Technology & Data
  • Risk Management
  • Business & HR Strategy
  • Certification Fees
  • SHRM Member: $300* USD
  • Nonmember: $400* USD
  • *Includes $50 nonrefundable application fee.
  • Know More - https://www.shrm.org/


5. Student Membership (ATD)

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. ATD is a body that empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in organizations of all sizes and in all industry sectors.

About Student Membership (ATD) - ATD offers resources geared toward young professionals that help them advance their career. From content and tools to activities and projects, they are here to engage with young professionals to tackle today's toughest industry challenges and to grow as talent development professionals.

Eligibility -

  • Born in 1981 or later.
  • Working in the learning and talent development field.
  • Making a unique contribution to the profession.

If chosen as our One to Watch, each young leader will receive:

  • 1 year of complimentary ATD membership.
  • Feature in TD Magazine.
  • Feature for two months on ATD's One to Watch page.
  • Invitation to attend the award ceremony at the ATD International Conference & Exposition.


CONCLUSION - As the nature of talent management continues to evolve, the main method with which HR professionals and leaders can continue to compete in their industry is through the use of certifications and credentialising services provided from institutions of great reputation and merit as the ones that have been listed. By tapping into the body of knowledge from research driven certification programs, professionals can now diversify and grow dynamically as they advance in their career, and this pro-active approach towards their professional development looks to become a mainstream practice in the future as courses begin to get more specialized and employees are able to find more diverse and unique roles to fill in with the expertise they have acquired over the course of their professional career and development.