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The human resources department in an organization oversees the needs of its workers and ensures the company has qualified employees to fill all positions. Specialists handle company benefits, training programs, payroll and worker relations. Businesses rely on human resources specialists to recruit, hire and retain skilled employees to work in all areas of the company. Certification for a human resources specialist demonstrates the professional's skill and knowledge in the field.
The Day to Day
Human resources specialists meet with department managers to determine their employee needs, which include the number of workers and the education and skill requirements. Recruitment specialists place job listings, plan job fairs and seek workers to fill the available positions in companies. Once candidates apply for positions, the specialist conducts interviews and background checks before hiring the most qualified applicants for the positions. Other human resources specialists may focus on labor contract negotiations or the administration of employee benefits. Human resources specialists are available to answer employee questions regarding company policies, benefits and payroll.
Certification for human resources specialists is a voluntary process, but it may enhance employment opportunities, and some businesses prefer human resources professionals with credentials in the field. Organizations that certify human resources specialists require candidates to have a combination of education and experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers require human resources specialists have a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degree programs in human resources management include courses in employment law, compensation, benefits, training and employee development. Aspiring human resources specialists with a master's degree can obtain certification with fewer years of experience in the field. Master's degree programs include courses in international and global human resources and organizational behavior and require students to complete a capstone project or thesis to graduate.
Earn Your Stripes
The certification process requires the human resources specialist to have professional or management-level experience in the field. The BLS reports some human resources specialists begin their careers as assistants and move into recruiting or interviewing positions with experience. Human resources specialists without a degree may qualify for certification with professional-level experience in the field, according to the HR Certification Institute.
Organizations such as the HR Certification Institute and the International Public Management Association for Human Resources offer certifications for specialists. The HR Certification Institute offers the Professional in Human Resources certification for those working in human resources under the supervision of a professional in the field. To qualify for the credential, applicants must have at least one year of professional-level experience with a master’s degree, two years of experience with a bachelor’s degree or four years of experience with a high school diploma. The International Public Management Association for Human Resources offers the Certified Professional credential, which requires a graduate degree, two years of human resources experience and one year of experience in public-sector human resources. Candidates can also qualify with a bachelor’s degree and four years of experience, an associate degree and six years of experience, or no degree and eight years of experience. All applicants for the International Public Management Association for Human Resources must have a minimum of one year of public-sector human resources included in their experience. Applicants to both organizations who meet the eligibility requirements must pass an examination that tests their knowledge in the field to earn the credential.
Wait, There's More
The HR Certification Institute offers additional certifications for human resources professionals with more experience in the field. Professionals can advance to the Senior Professional in Human Resources, the Global Professional in Human Resources or the Human Resource Management Professional credentials. The additional credentials the HR Certification Institute offers require additional years of experience in a professional-level human resources position to meet the eligibility requirements.
- HR Certification Institute: Our HR Certifications
- HR Certification Institute: PHR
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Human Resources Specialists Do
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Human Resources Specialist
- International Public Management Association for Human Resources: Requirements IPMA-Certified Professional (IPMA-CP)
- Columbia Southern University: Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management
Luanne Kelchner works out of Daytona Beach, Florida and has been freelance writing full time since 2008. Her ghostwriting work has covered a variety of topics but mainly focuses on health and home improvement articles. Kelchner has a degree from Southern New Hampshire University in English language and literature.