In case you’re new, I love talking about the HR certification exams. Like it? Great. Don’t? Well, there will be other topics coming along shortly, so stick around. And if you’re preparing to take the exam, then I recommend you check out the Rock the PHR guide!

In an old article I wrote about my process of taking the PHR exam, I included a graph that showed the pass rates for the PHR, SPHR, and GPHR exams.  The green line stands for PHR, the red for SPHR, and the blue for the relatively new GPHR exam.  It isn’t the best picture, but it should illustrate my point that as time has gone on, the pass rates have fallen much for the PHR exam.  The SPHR has fallen less, but it’s still hovering around the 50% mark.  Maybe because it’s so “easy?”

This shows a downward trend in pass rates.

This shows a downward trend in pass rates for PHR & fairly steady rates for SPHR.

In response to the post yesterday, Kerry of the (fantastic) Clue Wagon blog said:

Honestly, I don\’t get why we\’re still having this debate over certification. I\’ve been listening to this since the Clinton administration, and it doesn\’t seem to progress.

If you think certification is useless, don\’t get certified, and don\’t factor it into your HR hires. If you think it\’s useful, pass the test and hire people who have passed as well. There\’s room for everyone. We don\’t all have to agree on this.

As I\’ve said elsewhere, my number one beef about HR is the navel gazing. I don\’t want to talk about tests. I want to talk about how to help companies succeed (especially now). We do a real disservice to people who are new to HR by encouraging them to focus on “the profession” instead of “the work.”

HR people spend a crazy amount of time talking about the innards of HR. How about we shut up and go help run our companies?

That is a great point.  Just because someone doesn’t think the process is useful doesn’t mean we all have to hear about it.  A friend told me yesterday in reference to the original debate, “Either give a solution or shut up. Stop whining.” I agree wholeheartedly.

A fellow Twitter user, @hroncall, is stirring up a debate today. The basic question postulated is this:

Does a SHRM certification make HR less prestigious?

He believes that in order to get a SPHR certification, candidates must complete a process like that of a pilot or an eagle scout, requiring not only a test, but also a demonstration of accumulated knowledge, skills, and abilities.

The tweet heard round the world

The tweet heard round the world

With more than 10 people (at the time of this post) firing back at the original poster, it\’s clearly a hot debate.  What do you think?  I may have been less inclined to respond six months ago, but now that I have my PHR certification, I think this topic deserves to be discussed!  The certification process is pretty difficult, but that isn’t good enough for some people that think just anyone can get a certification.

My first post is going to be a useful one.  I just completed the first UpstartHR free resource-the PHR Study Guide.  Actually, I had written it a while back, but I have updated it somewhat, added some helpful links, and created a portable document that could be passed out freely to others looking to take the PHR exam.  Check it out on the UpstartHR Free Resources page.

Look for more great info on the horizon from UpstartHR.