How Much Money Can You Earn With an HR Certification? [Free Calculator]

money hr certification examHow much does an HR certification impact your salary? While it matters differently at every organization and for each person, let’s answer that question with some data.

Using data from we (hat tip to my youngest brother Barrett for his Excel wizardry) hacked together a calculator that shows you the median pay for job titles in HR as well as the adjusted rates based on whether the person has a PHR or SPHR certification (at the time of this data gathering there was no data on SHRM certifications, but assume similar levels of competency for PHR and SHRM-CP and SPHR and SHRM-SCP).

Additionally, we threw in a 10-year impact to show you the potential for what a certification could mean to your earnings over time. Again, this is a linear projection and does not take into account all the variables that could happen in your career, but it’s a good starting point when considering whether you’re going to prepare for the HR certification exams.

A few notes and caveats: 

  • Obviously this is data set is an aggregate of multiple markets and municipalities across the United States, so your own local area may vary in salary range, but it’s still good to get a ballpark impact regardless.
  • You’ll notice the VP of HR role is opposite of the rest. In other words, those people NOT having a certification in a VP role still outearn those with a PHR or SPHR. VPs are a very small portion of the overall HR population so that’s not a big issue, but be forewarned.
  • I can’t lock down editing on every cell without you losing your ability to calculate, so only touch the orange cells (title and current salary) when you are trying to calculate the impact on your pay.
  • If you type in the wrong space or mess up in some way, just reload the web page and it will go back to normal.
  • Feel free to hit me at with any questions or comments. Love to make this more helpful over time if you have ideas.
  • Interested in getting certified? I’ve helped hundreds of students pass the exams in the last 8 years with self-study courses for PHR or SPHR, audio courses, and recommendations for other study materials to fill in the gaps.

If you’re interested in taking the exams you can check out some of our research on the topic (or some of our resources listed above):