2 Minutes with Tim! SHRM-SCP or HRCI-SPHR?

Hey! guys, I’m trying a new platform out this week called Anchor.FM which allows me to post audio right on my blog, and if you have the Anchor App which you can download for free from the App Store for iPhone, you can easily respond back.

Here’s how it works – I have 2 minutes to tell you anything I want. You have one minute to tell me I’m full of hot air! It’s really that easy. Check it out! Either way, you can listen by just pushing the play button below.

This week, I decided to discuss if you should get your SHRM-SCP or HRCI-SPHR. I was asked this question this week via private message and thought others would love to join the conversation.

Let me know what you think about the audio post in the comments!  Anchor is made for people like me – a face made for radio!

I love the idea and think it could be a great way to post every once in a while, or a regular Thursday edition, who knows!

22 thoughts on “2 Minutes with Tim! SHRM-SCP or HRCI-SPHR?

  1. I think you make some good points, though I think that the HRCI is more established. I recently switched jobs and found that throughout the application process the majority of automated applications did not recognize SHRM, but did recognize HRCI. Also, as far as recognition goes, the employers I talked to didn’t know either, but recognized SPHR. With that being said – my money is on HRCI.

  2. All of these comments still have not helped me to pursue one over the other, HRCI or SHRM. But, leaning toward HRCI because it is accredited. Am I way off base?

    • You are correct. HRCI’s exams are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). SHRM will tell you that their versions are, too, but it’s through some obscure entity that no one has ever heard of. The PHR and SPHR continue to be the gold standard.

    • Jim,

      I think the question is not necessarily about which accreditation is better. Both are accredited, both will argue there’s is better. The question is which one is better for your career. I’ve said all along that 99% of HR leaders hiring will ask for the “SHRM” certification believing SHRM is the one who does the SPHR or PHR, not really caring if you have one or the other, as long as you have a ‘SHRM’ certification. Longterm I believe SHRM’s will win out with employers because of brand recognition.


  3. Hi Tim:

    I’m glad you put your opinion out there. I have my PHR and SHRM-CP and have always been ‘up and down’ and all over the place on this question. For now, I am going to politely disagree 🙂 I think from a ‘company hiring HR Candidates’ perspective, most of them have heard of the SPHR/PHR certification because it’s been around longer and they have been in their job descriptions since before time. I think it’s more of a common lingo concept than anything. This new SHRM-SCP/CP is a great idea and I’m a huge “SHRM-ie” but the market may see a lag in the development and adaption of this new cert.

    Thanks, J.

  4. Just left a response. Nice switch. Left my response on the recording. BTW: If your Anchor picture is you on a Michigan lake, that will be me in July.

  5. Tim, providing an “easier” exam was/is better for the profession? A set of freebie letters that so many “professionals” were willing to add to their names without earning them. Very sad indeed. Not to mention that once you took the pathway and “accepted” those letters, SHRM won’t let you remove them (they told several of my friends who took the pathway just to see what it was about that they (SHRM) needed to assign the letters for marketing purposes). I believe you make some pretty poor assumptions about the strength of HRCI. You’re entitled to your opinion but think you might want to check some facts.

    • Linda –

      I didn’t say it was better for the profession. I said it was better for SHRM to get people to switch.

      It will all be okay. We’ll all still be respected in the morning. SHRM will adjust the certification. BTW- HRCI’s pass rate in the 90%’s is also way to high.

      If we really want to our certification to be respected don’t we want a pass rate similar to the Bar Exam (48.6% pass overall, 61% for first-timers)?


  6. Glad you introduced the question. I would like to know as well. My PHR is up for renewal within a year and I was just wondering if I wanted to keep both.

    I had my PHR when SHRM-CP came around. I did the 1 hour free testing and my thinking when finishing was the PHR test was better. It touched more areas through out the HR spectrum. SHRM-CP ask a lot of questions…”From this Story, which answer is more correct.” My answers fell between correct or second correct answer. BUT both were correct, both would have worked. One answer may have been more information than the other but the second best could lead up to the rest of the first part during the discussion in the story with the others in the story.

    I love that HRCI has added aPHR to their 7 certifications. It allows the serious HR professional but not yet qualified a way to show they are serious about their career.

    Second, I personally feel that SHRM is pushing their agenda. You now cant be on a committee within a local SHRM unless you are a member of National SHRM. so, this year I left my voluntary committee because I am not a National SHRM member. My office only pays for one membership and that is for the manager. I dont want to pay for the membership out of my pocket.

    Not sure of the answer but love to see a good pole on this.

    • Lisa –

      Good comments! I think both orgs are pushing an agenda – and both are around money! Let’s not kid ourselves – non-profit is for tax purposes only. Both of these orgs are looking to turn a big profit – how else would they pay their officers so much!?


    • Thanks for your comments, Lisa. We’re really excited about the aPHR too and we have been overwhelmed by the response to the pilot. HRCI will continue to be here to protect your hard-earned PHR. Those are the letters employers overhwhelmingly continue to ask for by name — even on SHRM’s own job board.

      By the way, I worked for SHRM for 23 years and they used to be a truly great organization. They have changed in recent years. Yes, I now work for HRCI (since 2013) but I would leave it in a heartbeat if I felt it was not truly focused on advancing the HR profession. It’s not about the money, despite what Tim may think. That’s not who we are. Those who have spent time getting to know HRCI on the inside (like Linda Haft) know that, which is why she (voluntarily) advocates for us so staunchly. We aren’t going to lower our standards either, as some have suggested we should. We know our exams are hard. That’s one reason why they are so valued.

  7. I’m disappointed with you, Tim, that you have become a spokesperson for SHRM rather than for the profession. The HRCI designations are the only accredited and validated certifications. SHRM’s may never become accredited. Most companies don’t know about SHRM and quite frankly don’t care about whether or not their HR team are members (in fact, I sat in on conference calls with several large employers who said they would NEVER support their team being members of SHRM – mostly due to the debacle of the Finance standards SHRM tried to push through). They DO recognize the PHR and SPHR designations. HRCI is not going anywhere as the organization continues to be the gold standard for HR certification. I certainly wouldn’t hire someone because they have a diploma from a paper mill nor would I approve funds to acquire a degree from a unaccredited program/certification. To translate that to HR certification – why would I spend funds on an unaccredited SHRM certification when I can have the real deal letters next to my name? I hold myself to a higher standard than you apparently hold for yourself.

    • Ouch! They stung a bit!

      Let’s be perfectly clear, I’m not a SHRM spokesperson – SHRM and I don’t really even get along. They barely put up with me.

      I’ve railed against SHRM and their missteps all along the way. I am a business person, though, and I can see where all of this is going.

      The majority of non-HR people you ask, executives, when asked what is “the” HR certification across the world – almost none would say or know HRCI. Also, they wouldn’t know PHR or SPHR. The brand that is recognized is SHRM. That’s just a fact, and a huge advantage.

      I do respect your opinion, though, it’s a hot topic for sure.


      • Lisa, a good alternative to SHRM is the National HR Association. It’s been around since the 50s. Volunteers running it to better the profession. Not a lot of local chapters but you get good resources by becoming a national member. SHRM has done a number on the local chapters that used to be really good. They are penalizing them financially for not towing the line and are providing bounties to get members to take the SHRM exams. SHRM has lost a lot of members over this past year. I love to see more and more informal HR groups pop up around the country. My experience with those groups has been much more beneficial and productive.

  8. Tim HRCI is working with partners like us who have a global audience to get people into their certification. We offer both HRCI and SHRM cert and right now about 5% of the people we are preparing are taking the SHRM certifications. Our goal is to prepare them for what ever test they want to take and we currently have 100% pass rate on SHRM test takes and 93% on HRCI

    • Debbie,

      It’s to SHRM’s advantage to start off with an ‘easier’ exam, and make the transition smooth. Ultimately, HR pros will not choose to pay for two certs. One is going to win out. The one huge advantage HRCI has, is people hate taking exams, and would rather re-cert through just continuing ed. So, they’ll be able to bleed out slowly on those re-certs alone for a long while.


  9. Love this format! I can listen while doing other work, hard to do that when reading blog posts .

    I don’t subscribe to the Apple ecosystem though, so I guess I’ll have to wait for an Android app or maybe they’ll open up the mic to PCs?

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