5 Reasons I Got My SHRM-SCP

I’ve been known to rail against the man (SHRM) once in a while.  I only do it, because I care.  If I didn’t care about my professional organization, I could really care less how bad they come off, or the bad decisions they make.  When they decided to ditch HRCI and bring HR certification in house, I thought they butchered the communication.  Maybe one of the worst rollouts I’ve ever seen by a professional organization.

I also thought, though, that it was a smart business decision.  Why let HRCI rake in all the dough, when you can do it just as well yourself.  In fact, I wish they would have just come out and said that, originally. We don’t see any reason why as stewards of our business, we should give all this cash to some other organization. I would have loved that!

So, at the time of that announcement, in May 2014, SHRM was going to force all HRCI certified members to pay and take the new SHRM certification. This made complete sense if SHRM was doing what they said they were doing, which was to create a ‘new’ assessment of HR based on competency, because that’s what was really needed for the profession.  I was cool with that, but I wasn’t going to pay and take another test.  I’ve reached a point in my career where I don’t need letters after my name to prove my proficiency.  So, I was riding the HRCI train until it ended.

‘Surprisingly’ SHRM changed direction last week and created a new pathway for already certified HRCI members to gain the new SHRM certification by following a simple process that takes about an hour, and costs nothing. Again, brilliant, now no one really has any reason not to get the new SHRM certification, and convert over.  It’s what they should have done originally, but they couldn’t because they were trying to keep up the illusion they needed a new and improved certification, not just a money grab. Thankfully, someone came to their senses, and grabbed the money!

All of that being said, here are the 5 reasons I decided to get my SHRM Sr. Certified Professional certification:

1. We all hate conflict, and I wasn’t picking sides in some fight over money. SHRM is my professional organization.  HRCI is basically a testing center. I’ll stick with SHRM.

2. No one knows HRCI. Everyone knows SHRM. Let’s get real for a second, up until May most people thought HRCI was a department within SHRM. No one had any idea they were a separate company, unless you were deeply involved in SHRM.  Outside our industry, no one knows HRCI. SHRM is a brand for HR.

3. Ultimately, SHRM is right. Competencies assessments are better than knowledge based assessments.  Anyone can memorize answers. It takes critical thinking to answer competency based assessments correctly.

4. It was free! I wasn’t going to pay a dime to get SHRM certified and tested.  Well, maybe a dime, but not a quarter.

5. It’s hard being a pimp. Running a professional organization like SHRM and getting everyone to move in one direction, is tough! I want HR to move forward. SHRM has an advantage because of its size and scope to make this happen. Ultimately, I love the career I chose and want to see the function move forward and not fractured.

Does Hank and the crew still need to get their shit together? Yes.  A first year communications student could have launched the new SHRM cert better.  It’s a common issue that crops up for SHRM continually, and obviously is a blind spot.  They need to fix that.  You don’t need more opinions on how it should be communicated, and more input. You just need to get the right input.

Not getting this right, the first time, made our industry look like a bunch of idiots, “same old HR”.  SHRM has to do better moving forward.

Now, go get your SHRM certification, you would be silly not to.


15 thoughts on “5 Reasons I Got My SHRM-SCP

  1. SHRM cert is the University of Phoenix of HR Certificates. Anybody comparing it to PHR/SPHR (which I see all the time) doesn’t know the HR field. Period.

    • Well, that’s a strong opinion for someone unwilling to use their real name and email! LOL!

      Maybe putting your name on it, would give more credibility to your feedback. Plus, stop hating on those good folks who got that paper from the Univ. of Phoenix!


  2. Can someone please advise on SHRM testing, can I re-take using the SHRM study material from 2016 for 2017? Is the material any different? The cost for these materials is so high.

  3. Hi quick question, planning to complete SHRM -SCP, thoughts on the most appropriate training resources? Obviously would prefer not to spend the $695 for the SHRM materials if anyone suggests plausible alternatives?



    • Brian,

      Not sure where you live, but a lot of local SHRM chapters will do a multi-week class to prepare for the exam, which is usually cheaper than this. I’ve even seen some colleges and universities do this for their student chapter as well, another good/cheaper alternative.


  4. I went ahead and took the 25 minute course from SHRM this past weekend to obtain my SHRM-SCP. I’m also keeping the recert hours up on my SPHR though. I think dual-certifications will be necessary until one wins and overtakes the other, which I think will happen in the next 5 years.

    My problem with the whole “not having to take the exam to qualify” is just that… I didn’t have to take the exam to qualify. If there are so many people with the SPHR designation that really don’t deserve it, what is the point of just moving them to another certification? Does SHRM not think they will do the work to stay certified? Let’s face it, recertification is a cake walk. There’s nothing difficult about getting 60 recert hours. I generally try to get my recert complete within the first 6 months of the 3 year period so that I don’t have to worry about it for three years. And I’d bet I’m not the only person that does that…

    So if the true thought process behind the new certification was to have a stricter process and make the letters mean more, well, the bull is out of the barn now, and anyone who has passed the inferior test in the past is bringing their inferior skills over with the new letters. (I hope everyone can read the sarcasm in this.)

    If the intent was to make the letters mean more, then make us take the exam. I would have gladly done so, had they given me one free shot at it. And after that one freebie, I think the expense should have been on my shoulders to pass the exam.

    If however, the intent of the new certification was money (which I believe to be true) then just say so. Its what everyone thinks anyway, so why not be transparent? I’ve held my SPHR since 1999, and had my PHR for a year prior to that. I actually took the SPHR four times for fun back in 2002, as we worked to build the exam future test takers would experience. I want people who have the designations to be smart and know their stuff so that the letters mean something to employers looking at my resume at some point in the future. If the last hire had the letters but didn’t have the knowledge, it hurts all of us.

    Rambling over… In a nutshell, I’ll laugh at the ease in which I recert, but I’ll recert both the SPHR and the SHRM-SCP. Just like everyone else.

  5. Tim, sorry I am a couple of days late but I wanted to make a couple of comments. First you make some excellent points on the new certification and the importance of competencies and am glad to see you have added the SHRM-SCP designation. I agree that there was some missteps in the rollout back in May but that is no secret to anyone who has followed this story. Hopefully there were lessons learned so future endeavors will not fact this problem.

    I do need to take issue with your implication that SHRM was going to force currently certified HR pros to pay to add the new certifications. That was never the intention as far as I understand it. In fact, in the May 12, 2015 announcement of the certifications, Hank Jackson (SHRM’s CEO) stated, “We have been working toward this for several years and are taking steps to ensure a smooth transition for SHRM members and HR professionals. We are creating a clear pathway for HR professionals who are already certified under knowledge-based credentials so they can move to the new SHRM competency-based certification.” The term “moved” was probably a wrong choice in that the SHRM-SCP and CP designations were not to replace any currently held PHR, SPHR or GPHR certifications.

    A week later, SHRM set up their web page with details on how currently certified professionals could obtain SHRM certification FOR FREE via the pathway, which thousand of HR pros have taken advantage of over the last 2 months.

    I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about the certifications, SHRM’s new Body of Competency and Knowledge, the Gateway tutorial which you took and the new Learning System for those pros who will test of the exam. I think it will be a great addition to the HR tool box.

    Has this whole process been bumpy, hell yes. Were lessons learned, I hope so. In the long run, I think the competency based certification will be a great addition to the HR professions.

    • JJ –

      Great comments, this is not what I and many others recall from the original message from SHRM. There was not an original ‘free’, no test, way to get the new SHRM certification. In fact, that was the major gripe of people was that they were going to have to re-test.

      But, I’ve been wrong before.


  6. Like lawyers,psychologists and teachers, HR professionals are often our own worst enemies. It is the support given to SHRM and by SHRM that makes any certification valuable. I was in one of the first groups to have to take the HCRI exam. On my opinion the process is still worthwhile, no matter how imperfect.

    btSHRM that makes any certification credible. I took my initial HCRI exams

  7. I agree with Jason B. I just certified with SHRM without proving anything. They handed the certification to me because I have the SPHR, which they view as inferior. I’m glad to be certified, it just seems they were more worried about winning certification holders over than they were guaranteeing that everyone with the new certification met the new criteria.

    • Jeremy,

      I don’t disagree with you guys. The only ‘real’ thing I did to get my SHRM-SCP was to have a SPHR!

      Ultimately, I wish SHRM would have said, “You have to re-test on the new SCP exam, but it’s free and we have study materials that are free, and you can take it for free as many times as you need!”

      I would have actually preferred that, because I would have felt like I earned it at that point.

      SHRM did what it had to do from a business standpoint, to ensure it was going to get the members to convert over. Am I smarter? No. But I have to get continuing ed credits or recert once it’s due. So, at that point, people will have to take the actual exam, or have the credits to recert. The hope would be SHRM would only give credits out for ‘competency’ based training. We know that won’t be true, but we can hope.


  8. Agree with Jason B. It’s not the HRCI name that’s known. It’s the PHR/SPHR/GPHR that’s stated as a desired trait in almost every HR job description.

    I also don’t blame SHRM for wanting a slice of the certification pie money, but the rollout was horrific and the attempt to minimize the significance of the current HRCI certification is what I believe pissed off so many people.

    • Lizzie,

      People do recognize PHR and SPHR, but more people recognize ‘SHRM’. I can’t tell you how many non-HR executives types I’ve been in front of that asked me, not did I have a PHR or SPHR certification, but did I have a SHRM certification. That’s my point. PHR and SPHR aren’t even SHRM certs, they are HRCI. People know SHRM as the HR world’s go to organization. Do they know what CP or SCP is? No. But they’ll automatically assume SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP is the real deal.


  9. The problem is that SHRM is giving away the certification to those who have not earned the certification. For the short- and mid-term, the vast majority of SHRM Certified professionals will not have passed this “better” “competency-based” test (which is still multiple-choice), but instead will have, at one point, passed the “inferior” “competency-based” (in HRCI’s words) test, and re-certified over and over.

    Which is just what they will do here, re-certify the SHRM certification by watching webinars and the like.

    Additionally, while the public may not know HRCI, they do know PHR. I feel that name recognition is important. I doubt many outside of HR know SHRM as well. Which is why I believe SHRM felt they needed to have a nationwide ad campaign in December.

    If you want to keep that name recognition, you would support and maintain your PHR/SHPR/GPHR, because switching sides will spell death for HRCI, and with it goes the recognition of those credentials. In it’s place comes an unverified replacement test, with no validity or reliability data available, with the vast majority of certified professionals never taking the test, and an organization that can’t even get it’s message out about the virtues of its new certification.

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