HRCI Recertification: Yes, I’m $100 Poorer, But It’s All Good

It’s that time of the year again!

No, I’m not talking about firecrackers, backyard barbecues, and patriotic speech time (aka July 4th). I’m talking about recertification time, people! Three years have passed far too quickly, and I must now (literally) pay the piper.

Here are a few thoughts I had while completing my SPHR recertification application:

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  • I’m pretty sure SHRM knows that the only reason I pay my annual membership fee is for the 10 HRCI credit hours I’ll receive. As it happens, it’s also time to renew my membership, and for the life of me, I can’t think of any other reason to pay SHRM $180 of my well-earned money. I can access most of the articles I want on the website for free and I’ve never attended the annual conference, so I don’t care too much about any discount there (although maybe I’ll go next year to meet some of the nice folks I’ve encountered while writing for TLNT), and frankly, SHRM is not the only game in town for good HR information—not even (hint). However, I do appreciate those 10 HRCI credits. It’s less work for me all the way around, and I can get into that.
  • I’m glad that HRCI recognizes blog posts as an acceptable publishing venture, but I’m a little put out by this caveat:Posts must contain facts/data and not be an editorial or opinion piece.” Seriously? I guess the drier the better, huh? We can call it “academic” and all go home happy. I happen to think that with 25 years of work experience, my opinions about the workplace actually count for something, but who cares what I think, right? Certainly not HRCI.
  • Is there any HR professional who goes through this process and can reference any activity that didn’t occur in the last 18 months?  Every time I recertify (and this is the third time), I can’t remember anything that occurred in the first 18 months of the new recertification period, even with the assistance of the handy-dandy HRCI online services database. (I don’t know whose idea that was by the way, but thank you.)
  • I get that HRCI is giving HR professionals incentive to be well rounded, but I’ve always been puzzled why a little more credit isn’t given for on-the-job experience. Right now the maximum credit allowance is 20 hours, which is a third of the overall 60 credit hours needed for SPHR recertification. I understand the whole “be a part of the elite network of HR professionals, blah, blah, blah” thing, but come on, HRCI! Some of this just seems aspirational for aspiration’s sake. You can be an exemplary member of the profession by simply doing your job well. That’s what I think, anyway. Oh right. HRCI doesn’t give a fig what I think.
  • Even though I’m seeing more and more job postings requiring certification, I’m all but certain (based on the complaints I hear in the field) that far too many of these employers don’t have a clue what certification entails nor do they really care to draw on all their HR professional’s expertise.

Still, I’m proud to have earned my SPHR title. Seriously. It’s an honest-to-goodness achievement, and I don’t regret the cost or the time or the effort I expended to get it — even if no one else seems to care but HRCI, SHRM, and me.

Crystal Spraggins, SPHR, is an HR consultant and freelance writer who lives in Philadelphia. She also writes at her blog, HR BlogVOCATE. For the past 15 years, Crystal has focused on building HR departments in small- to mid-sized companies under the philosophy that "HR is not for wimps." She is also the CEO and Founder of Work It Out! and partners with HRCVision, a full-service HR consultant practice specializing in leadership and diversity training. Contact her at