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About the Author

Holly Fechtig has a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Northern Kentucky University.  She has strong background in Human Resources for nearly a decade with an emphasis in the following areas: Recruitment & Retention, Benefits Administration, HRIS/Project Management, Training & Development, Employment Law, HR Policies & Procedures, Performance Management and Onboarding.  She is an active career coach and an advocate for HR professionals pursuing their credentials through her local SHRM chapter.  Her certifications include, Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) as well as a Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist (CHRS).  To view her profile or connect with her on LinkedIn, please visit .

by Holly Fechtig, PHR, SHRM-CP, CHRS, Implementation Consultant, ADP

Florence, Kentucky, United States

In the next section, learn about the different schools, degrees, and certificates are available to HR professionals. The foundation to a solid HR career is a solid understanding of HR laws and best practices.

For me, taking the prep course leading up to the exam was so helpful and eye opening.  This allowed me to bounce ideas off of like-minded professionals.  The instructor was a tenured HR professional with experience in a variety of industries, including the public as well as private sector.  As a group, we were able to discuss examples and stories we’ve all encountered which assisted in being able to put things into perspective.  Since the exams offered by both HRCI as well as SHRM are competency based (according to my assessment, even though SHRM claims otherwise about HRCI’s exam), having these real life examples was invaluable.    

It is such a rewarding feeling to know that you’ve officially validated yourself as a subject matter expert in your line of work.  There are countless benefits that come along with acquiring your HR certification. 

  • Expands your knowledge, skills & abilities since the content covers various topics that may stretch beyond your day to day responsibilities in your role.

  • This definitely sends a message to employers that you are passionate about your profession.  

  • By requiring recertification every three years (or having to sit in on the exam again), this motivates us to maintain our continuing education credits as well as staying up-to-date and relevant in our industry.  

  • Makes it easier to sell yourself to a recruiter and can help to set you apart from the competition in the job market.  
  • I spoke with a peer recently that described her transition from the military to the private sector as being much easier once she obtained her HR credentials.

  • A recent study led by an independent third-party research organization was able to quantify some of the advantages we often thought were true but could never officially substantiate (HR Certification Trends).   

  • Certified HR professionals have a higher annual income, higher career satisfaction, greater career potential and are more often employed over their non-certified peers.  

  • It was also uncovered during this research that certified professionals perform better, have greater expertise and are more strategic.

These are pretty powerful statistics.  I think it’s worth mentioning that not having your certification does not mean you are any less qualified/skilled in your profession.  However, I certainly believe that there are significant benefits to obtaining your credentials.  

Based off of a lot of job postings I’ve seen recently as well as other related articles, many employers are listing a certification as a requirement.  Don’t let that hold you back from going after the job of your dreams.  Now is the time to make that commitment if you are looking to earn those letters you deserve.  I encourage you to take a look at your calendar over the next six months.  Research to see what preparation courses are offered in your local area (or online) and coordinate this in conjunction with the next exam window.  Take advantage of any reimbursements that your company may offer.  Some companies even give you an additional salary increase for your expanded knowledge. 

Sounds like a win/win to me.  

Holly Fechtig, PHR, SHRM-CP, CHRS

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Proud, committed, connected, competent, informed, successful, qualified, opportunity, confident, distinguished, employable, proven, expert, credible, focused, dedicated, equipped, validated, versatile.  When asked by HRCI on their LinkedIn page, in one word, this is how HR professionals described what being certified means to them.  

It’s evident that professionals who have earned the privilege of adding those extra letters onto the end of their signature line are extremely proud.  In my experience, there is a lot of work involved in preparing to sit in for one of the HR exams.  It would be exceedingly difficult to pass one of the offered exams without a plan in place.  This may include joining a study group, taking a prep course, reading through the body of knowledge, practice exams, flash cards, etc.