Majors and Certifications To Help You Stand Out in HR

Written by: James Ponds

Want to stand out in the human resources profession? Here is a guide to how various studies and certifications can benefit you in this field.

College Majors

To have the broadest base of knowledge, many people who pursue a career in human resources initially study another field. You may want to acquire a degree in business management in order to develop a fundamental base in all aspects of business. This can be a tremendous help if you are tasked with hiring, training and interacting across a range of departments. Being knowledgeable about finance, marketing, information systems and economics can also give you more influence in your organization.

You could also elect to pursue a master of legal studies, as knowledge of state and federal legal issues is an important asset in the field of HR. With a myriad of laws pertaining to labor relations already on the books and new regulations being enacted seemingly on a daily basis, having a solid background in the law can be very beneficial when it comes to implementing practices that safeguard your company and its employees.

You might also choose to study a behavioral field such as psychology; after all, the primary objective of those in human resources is to engage effectively with employees. Studying psychology may give you an understanding of how people behave and perform, which can ultimately make you more successful when instructing or motivating others.

HR Certifications

Once you’ve embarked on a career in human resources, a great way to get a leg up is by becoming a certified professional. Both the Human Resources Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management have programs designed for professionals at varying stages of their careers and studies.

After a couple of years of HR experience, you may benefit from obtaining a base-level certification such as the Professional in Human Resources. Passing this exam certifies that you are well versed in labor relations, business management and talent acquisition, among other things. Then with a combination of additional experience and education you may wish to pursue the Senior Professional in Human Resources certification. This can help you demonstrate your advanced knowledge of all HR areas, including leadership and strategy. SHRM’s Senior Certified Professional program can also help you prepare to move up in your field. Additionally, there are HR certifications specific to the state of California, as labor laws and practices in this state are often more complex than elsewhere.

Specialized Certifications

Beyond the general scope of human resources are several areas in which you can gain expertise. One such discipline is talent management, which encompasses acquiring and advancing the best possible candidates for your organization. If you have experience in this area and want to pursue certification, then consider obtaining the Associate Professional in Talent Development Credential. There is also the Certified Professional in Talent Development program, which can help you demonstrate that you have gained exemplary knowledge regarding developing the professional capabilities of others.

With so many companies expanding globally, becoming knowledgeable in HR matters outside of your home country can prove very beneficial. Certifications in international human resources are available from associate level up to senior; successful studies in these areas can make you a great asset if your company is considering expansion into other parts of the world.

Outside the scope of human resources itself, certifications in other fields can boost your expertise. Becoming a Project Management Professional can demonstrate your leadership skills, while passing the Certified Business Analysis Professional exam can show your expertise in analyzing business needs and developing solutions. Reaching the status of Certified Professional in Management may not only aid you as you engage with staff throughout your organization, but it can also help you build and guide the most effective HR department possible.

With targeted studies and certifications, you can get ahead in the field of human resources. The more knowledge and expertise you gain, the more valuable you will be within your company.

Related: What Benefits Should You Be Providing to Your Employees?