Ultimate guide for top HR certifications for a better career

Amelia Jackson
6 min readAug 24, 2021


For aspiring young professionals who are passionate about working with people, those choosing an HR career are the best choice. HR is considered among the popular career choices for many professionals. People have in recent years come to be recognized as the most necessary resource of companies and the crucial competitive differentiator in the marketplace. And as the team that directly manages their concerns, HR will continue to play a vital role. The role itself has changed from administrative to strategic, given the realization that people strategies must facilitate the attainment of organizational objectives and goals.

Academic prerequisites for an HR career usually comprise a minimum of an undergraduate degree in HR or related disciplines. For those professionals who are seeking higher positions which include HR leaders, a graduate degree in HR or related disciplines is recommended, combined with a required level of certain relevant work experience.

In this article, let’s understand the importance of an HR certification and what the top certifications are:

Importance of doing HR Certifications

HR Certification is a credential, which is issued by a reputed and respected institution, which acts as proof that whoever holds a certification in HR possesses the latest skills and other crucial aspects related to the HR field. It is a testament to an individual who has sound knowledge of HR strategy and management and is ready to take on challenging roles and higher responsibilities.

Certification in HR can be generic in their coverage, or they could cover certain, specialized topics. Some common fields of coverage are employee training and development, talent acquisition and development, ethics and empathy, and communication and conflict resolution.

For an HR professional, doing a certification in the field of HR is a great way to get the best jobs in the field in a well-reputed organization. Certification also ensures quicker growth in an HR professional’s career. And given the options available in certifications, there is something suitable for a beginner in HR and a mid- or senior-level professional.

Top HR certifications

Provided how vast the field is, it becomes essential to select the right certification. There are quite many choices that are available, which usually differ in their coverage, duration, and price. Here are some of the top HR certifications for breaking into the HR domain for beginners, mid-level professionals, and experienced professionals.

Top HR certifications for beginners

#1. Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR)

The Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR) is provided by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). This certification is positioned as the best choice for those professionals who are planning to begin their career journey into the world of HR. It is also suitable for those professionals in roles who are outside of the field of HR but are interested in the role and responsibility of managing people. The aPHR exam is completely online-based and offers 38 percent weightage to HR operations. The certification is valid for three years, and a person can maintain it via recertification credits or by taking the exam again.

#2. Talent Management Practitioner (TMP™)

The Talent Management Practitioner (TMP™) certification is offered by the Talent Management Institute (TMI). This certification proves the potentiality and knowledge of the certification holder as a modern practitioner in HR. This HR certification is the best pick for those who want to launch their career in the field of HR. This certification is specially designed for recent graduates and young professionals in HR.

TMP™ redo the understanding of the HR domain or the aspiring modern HR professional, it makes the holder an attractive hire for talent management and HR teams across global firms. TMP™ is based on the globally tested TMI Universal Knowledge Framework (TMI-UKF™) and is an assurance that the applicant knows and understands the techniques, theories, and tools of talent management. This certification is mostly chosen by the candidates who have done majors in fields like HRM, industrial psychology, labor relations, and personnel management.

Top HR certifications for mid-level professionals

#1. Professional in Human Resources (PHR)

Professional in Human Resources (PHR) from the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) is a great way to make an entry into the field of HR. The PHR certification provides coverage of the most crucial topics for a beginner in HR. It offers in-depth insights into the topics of labor relations, business management, talent acquisition and planning, total rewards, and learning and development. It shows that the applicant has good knowledge of the concepts of over operational, technical aspects of HR management, laws, and regulations in the US.

It is mainly designed for people who would have a logistical and tactical orientation, and have worked in program implementation, and is accountable to another HR professional within the firm. Every person must have a minimum of one year of work experience, along with a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

#2. Senior Talent Management Practitioner (STMP™)

Senior Talent Management Practitioner (STMP™) is offered by Talent Management Institute (TMI). STMP™ is the top HR certification for professionals who are in their mid-level careers. With this certification, an HR who is seeking opportunities to move upward in their high-demand Talent Management roles can be done. This certification proves the applicants are qualified specialists in HR competent in anchoring talent strategies with an eye on the future. Clearing the STMP™ exam shows the person possesses advanced skills in managing HR accountabilities, business complexities, and changing workforce dynamics.

#3. SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers Certified Professional (CP), which is specially designed for HR professionals who manage the implementation of strategies and policies, perform operational HR functions, and deliver HR services, this facilitates as the points of contact for stakeholders and staff. The exam is accredited by the Buros Center for Testing, a premier test review center which is located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The exam provides HR-related knowledge items, foundational knowledge items, situational judgment items, and field-test questions. The main areas that are covered in this are leadership, business, interpersonal matters, people, organization, and the workplace.

Top HR certifications for experienced professionals

#1. Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD)

Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) from the Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional certification that is designed for talent development professionals who have at least five years of professional experience. This certification shows the presence of knowledge and skill across the breadth of talent development, and its objective is to build personal and professional capabilities and to impact the firm’s capability.

#2. Global Talent Management Leader (GTML™)

Global Talent Management Leader (GTML™) provided by Talent Management Institute (TMI) is among the most prestigious and top HR certifications that facilitate quicker career growth and a rise up the HR ladder for HR and Talent Management professionals into global leadership roles. This certification program consists of learning material in Talent Management, which covers the art and the science of the discipline, and also advanced frameworks, techniques, and tools whose deployment leverages Talent Management to drive business effectively.

#3. SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers Senior Certified Professional (SCP) HR certification, which is designed for HR professionals who want to work in strategy development, leadership roles in HR, performance metric analysis, and strive to align HR strategies with the objectives of the company. Applicants can have differing levels of academic degrees along with at least 3–7 years of work experience to get this SHRM-SCP certification.

End Notes

Certifications that mainly offer insights related to diversity and inclusion, design thinking, and a growth mindset are all essential. HR professionals must enhance their communication skills to polish communications across digital communities. Certifications will become a strong asset for HR professionals who are building teams and culture.



Amelia Jackson

Human Resource Professional. Passionate about Human Resources. Writing has always been a passion with strong interest in talent management & HR Industry.