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Business professionals who work in human resources (HR) departments at corporations and government offices are responsible for managing employee payroll and benefits, overseeing labor relations, and training new workers. Many workers are able to gain entry-level employment with high-school diplomas and minimal work experience, though individuals who wish to obtain advanced HR jobs are typically required to obtain bachelor's or master's degrees, complete extensive on-the-job training, and get HR certification from nationally recognized professional organizations.
In the United States, associations such as the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), World at Work, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offer individuals the opportunity to get HR certification in specific divisions. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is the leading authority in training and certifying professionals for HR positions in the United Kingdom. Many other countries rely on organizations very similar to the ASTD, SHRM, and CIPD to provide specialized certification for HR professionals. Most accredited organizations require individuals to pay fees or apply for membership before they are permitted to take exams and get HR certification. The costs are usually considered nominal, however, when compared to the employment opportunities and pay benefits that accompany professional certification.
Individuals in the United States who want to be involved in hiring, training, and placing new employees can improve their credentials and their opportunities for advancement by obtaining certification from the ASTD. Professionals with some work experience can take a written exam administered by ASTD officials at a designated testing site to get HR certification. Individuals who prove their knowledge and understanding of the principles, laws, and techniques of training receive the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance Certification.
World at Work is a nonprofit organization that recognizes HR professionals with expertise in managing benefits, compensation, performance, and career development. Many businesses consider World at Work membership and certification to be very important qualifiers when selecting new employees, and some companies even require that their HR staff pursue such credentials. The organization allows individuals to take certification tests at designated facilities or online through the World at Work website.
Professionals who wish to obtain top HR positions in the United States can benefit significantly by obtaining special credentials from the SHRM. An individual can get HR certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources by meeting experience requirements and passing an extensive written test. The society also offers prestigious certification for professionals who wish to work overseas or handle international labor relations. Such individuals can earn Global Professional in Human Resources credentials by exhibiting comprehensive knowledge of international laws, regulations, and procedures.