Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Are you certified?

Certified crazy? Yes, I feel like it some days but that is not what I am referring to. As an HR professional, have you obtained your PHR or SPHR certification? For non-HR readers, the PHR is the Professional in Human Resources certification and the SPHR is the Senior Professional in Human Resources certification. Certification is voluntary.  Certification sets those with the credentials apart from those without it and it offers professional and public recognition of an achievement.

I am certified as an SPHR and have been since 2003. In 2003, I felt as though I had hit a plateau in my career. I wanted to test myself, to challenge myself and to assess where I stood in my experience and skills in relation to others in the profession and against professional standards. The certification exam gave me the perfect opportunity to do so.

How was the exam? It was one of the hardest exams I have ever taken. When I left the exam room and my three number 2 pencils and two erasers behind, I honestly did not know how I did. This was not  one of those times in school when I thought I may not have gotten the "A" and would have to settle for the "B" but an honest, "I may be retaking that exam in 6 months," kind of feeling. The exam was thorough, it was tough and either I knew the information or I did not -guessing would not get me through safely.

Passing the exam and obtaining my certification was rewarding, validating and it just flat out felt good. I gained a lot from my endeavor and I feel that certification is important for those who want to progress in the field. How important? Important enough that I will be offering the opportunity to my staff. Important enough that I will commit education dollars from an already tight budget and provide the support needed for their preparation. Important enough that I will have to try to not show my disappointment if I do not have takers across the board. Important enough to require that my staff be certified? Yes, I am very serioulsy thinking about that.

I am willing to put my money where my mouth is - are you?