HR Certification: The Effect on Pay and Career Trajectory

Have you ever wondered: should I earn an HR certification? Many busy professionals wonder if earning certification is worth the time and cost.

The short answer is, yes, it is worth it. Human resources is not a field requiring certification, but it often rewards it. Here’s a closer look.

Benefit of HR certification

Certification can benefit HR professionals at almost any stage in their career, but especially those who are eager to enter the field or advance quickly. Earning and maintaining certification is a way to prove your value and demonstrate your potential as an employee.

An HRCI-commissioned study found 96% of employers believe in the value of HR certifications. The same research revealed when reviewing job applications, employers tend to look more favorably on applicants who have earned certification. Whether as an applicant or candidate, certification can help professionals stand out.

Certification can also help you establish credibility as an expert in your field, as earning this credential requires proving levels of skill and knowledge.

HR certification can increase earning power

Earning your HR certification can also boost your earning potential. According to, HR certification can increase pay at all levels, from assistant to director. The study revealed at the manager level, certification starts to really make a difference: the gap between certified and uncertified professionals’ earnings can be as great as $10,000 annually.

Differences in pay between certified and uncertified professionals can also vary by market. The Payscale report revealed pay differences are greatest in some of the country’s largest markets, including Dallas. And with different levels of certification available, continuing to pursue professional development and recertification can matter to lifelong earning potential. Over 90% of senior professionals who hold advanced certification earn more than their uncertified counterparts.

HR certifications

There are two HR industry certifications, earned through exams. They are administered by the Society of Human Resource Professionals (SHRM) and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). Both are highly regarded in the industry.

Studying for HR Certification

Amid the personal and professional responsibilities many of us balance, it can be difficult to carve out the time to study for a certification exam—even when we know it’s going to help our career (and earning power).

To help members prepare, DallasHR offers study groups for the certification groups each fall and spring. The Spring 2021 Virtual HR Certification Test Prep Group is a nine-week study group open to members. It begins on March 9 and runs through May 4 and will be held virtually.

Members can join the group to prepare for both the HRCI (PHR or SPHR) and SHRM certifications (SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP). Study group participants can add on the SHRM Learning Materials at a discounted rate.

Make 2021 the year you earn or advance your certification—and let us help support you.

DallasHR is one of the largest SHRM affiliate chapter in the nation. With more than 2,000 engaged HR professionals, the Chapter has been Advancing the Value of HR since 1939 through cutting-edge education, fun networking events and opportunities to share best practices with others in the field of HR. The Chapter powers The HRSouthwest Conference, one of the largest regional HR events in the U.S. hosting more than 2,400 attendees in Fort Worth annually. DallasHR events are held in both Dallas and Collin Counties. Visit us at to join or to register and follow us at #DALLASHR, #HRSWC.