The Society for Human Resource Management offers a certification exam to applicants who meet certain educational and work criteria at the time of application. The requirement may be at little as one year or as much as seven years of experience in an HR role, and it varies based on the level of education and whether the applicant holds a degree in an HR-related field. The applicant does not have to be a member of the SHRM.
The required work experience may be through a direct role in HR or indirectly through consulting or education. HR-related fields for the degree requirement include Human Resource Management or Business Administration or Management with a concentration in Human Resources, Organizational Behavior, Organizational Development, Labor Relations or similar concentrations. In lieu of a college degree, the applicant may complete a certificate program from an accredited institution that covers the fundamentals of HR.
The certification exam includes knowledge and situational judgment questions, as well as field test items that do not count toward the exam score. Knowledge questions cover the domains of people, organizations, workplace and strategy. Situational judgment items cover decision-making skills and strategies. The exam randomly intersperses the ungraded field test items among the graded questions so the test-takers cannot identify them.