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About HRCI

Respect for the Trust and Integrity of HR Certification

By Clarissa A. Peterson, SPHR, GPHR
Chair of the HR Certification Institute Board of Directors and 
Chief Human Resources and Ethics Officer of Abt Associates
Last Monday, the announcement of a new proposed HR Certification by SHRM sparked waves of confusion and concern across the industry. As we’ve stated: the HR Certification Institute was not and is not involved in SHRM’s newly proposed “yet-unnamed certification.” 
As an SPHR and GPHR holder – I take SHRM’s proposed new certification very personally. Like the nearly 140,000 certificants worldwide, I worked very hard and I am proud of my letters. 
HRCI credentials are the gold standard certification that are sought-after, known, trusted and respected by HR professionals and the companies they serve in more than 100 countries worldwide. The HR Certification Institute’s exams are competency-based and professionally relevant, developed by leading HR professionals to ensure relevance in today’s workplace. HRCI will continue to certify, recertify and support HR professionals in their pursuit of professional excellence. Our certifications are tested, proven and accredited.
As Board Chair, I take issue with some statements circulating. Let’s be clear and set the record straight:
In 1976: The HR Certification Institute was founded as an independent entity to ensure the integrity of HR credentials and testing. This is part of the standards required by National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accreditation as a certifying body. 
December 2013: The SHRM Board proposed taking control over the HR Certification Institute. The offer included a desire to obtain an ownership interest in HRCI’s Body of Knowledge. HRCI’s Board rejected that offer because we felt it jeopardized our independence 
and accreditation. Most important, it wasn't in the best interest of our certificants. HRCI would not characterize the terms SHRM offered in their proposal as collaborative. 
January 2014: The HRCI Board, however, did provide a counter-proposal that respected the integrity of the HR Certification Institute. The proposal was ignored. 
February 2014: SHRM’s CEO resigned from our Board citing a “conflict of interest.” 
Last Monday May 12, 2014: SHRM announced the launch of a new, yet unnamed HR certification. HRCI was not given any notice about Monday’s announcement of a new certification, nor their plans to phase-out and discontinue test prep, nor their outreach to grandfather in our certificants into their unnamed and undefined “competency-based 
certification for human resource professionals.” 
May 19 (Yesterday): A SHRM executive notified HRCI that it would be excluded from the SHRM Annual Conference – an event the Institute has participated in for years. 
HRCI wants our current and future certificants, vendors and partners to know that we will continue to develop and administer the PHR®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHR/SPHR-CA®, PHRi™ and SPHRi™ and our other high-quality certification products to meet the needs of the HR profession around the world. The range of certifications offered by HRCI will continue to be regarded as the highest marks of professional distinction among HR professionals.
We have been here for 38 years. We are staying.
We look forward to continuing to grow and advance the integrity of HR Certification. 
Thank you for your support of the HR profession.