hand writing Human Resources terms on chalk boardAccording to a recent survey by Payscale, HR professionals can add more than $20,000 to their annual salaries by getting specialized certifications. The study, “The Value of PHR and SPHR Certifications: Sugar Coating or Career Sweetener?” showed significant salary increases and career advancement opportunities for the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) workers with certifications.

“For the second year we have produced an in-depth report analyzing the impact of PHR and SPHR certifications on pay and career growth for HR positions,” Katie Bardaro, lead economist at PayScale, said. “Once again we found that holding one or both of these certifications is a surefire way to increase pay, as well as the propensity to be promoted to a higher position.”

After analyzing data from the nation’s 10 largest metros (New York, LA, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington D.C., Miami, Atlanta and Boston), results showed that HR workers with certifications have a higher median pay than those without certifications. Also, a higher percentage of certified employees received a promotion within five years versus those who didn’t have certifications. For example, the study revealed that 63 percent of certified HR Assistants were promoted within five years compared to 34 percent who didn’t have a certification. Likewise, 57 percent of certified HR Administrators were promoted, 30 percent more than the un-certified who received promotions.

Other findings include:

  • Almost 50 percent of VPs have either a PHR or SPHR.
  • SPHR is “trendier” for HR pros this year with certification rates at the highest career levels increasing from 2012 to 2013.
  • Although certified HR professionals were more likely to work at large companies in 2012, this year more work at SMBs.
  • VPs of HR have lower salaries this year than they did in 2012; salary increased for HR pros overall in 2013.
  • A whopping 80 percent of certified HR pros reported overall job satisfaction.



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