HR Certifications” and “HR certificate” are the most searched options online for HR professionals looking for career growth on a serious note! After all, it matters a lot, at least for aspiring ones, to learn new things and earn credit for their efforts.
But hold on! If you use both the terms interchangeably, refrain. Even though many consider certification and certificate synonymous, ideally, they’re not. HR Certifications and HR certificate programs aren’t the two opposite sides of a coin at all, they’re two different concepts altogether! And like different concepts, both are meant to serve different purposes.
If we go by definitions, professional HR certifications refer to a completely voluntary process through which a non-governmental body provides time-specific recognition and credential to a professional after thoroughly examining that she or he has met all the standardized and predetermined criteria set by the body.
An HR certificate, on the other hand, signifies a training program focusing on a specialized topic. On successful completion of the course, along with an assessment, participants are conferred with a certificate.
According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), a HR certificate program gives non-degree training and instruction, with the prime objective being to assist participants in gaining specific skills and knowledge. However, for ICE, an HR certification program is all about assessing the skills and knowledge of a professional that he or she has acquired previously. Its primary aim is to validate a professional’s competence in HR with the help of a conformity assessment system.
An analysis of types of rewards received by participants also helps in recognizing the differences between HR certification and HR certificate programs. Following the completion of some specific learning outcomes, a certificate is provided. HR Certification candidates, on the other hand, earn designations recognizing their achievement in meeting the knowledge, competencies or skills established by the specific certification body. In such cases, an independent evaluation of these competencies is the major focus.
Certification or Certificate: What’s the right option to opt for?
Certification and certificate—both programs can hold great significance to specializations on one’s career. However, the following tips help in choosing the right program.
· Find out the program that focuses on a rigorous evaluation to get the certificate or certification
· Look for the programs that are approved/accredited by any third-party organization
· Do a bit of research (read the reviews of other participants) before opting for one
For HR professionals, both certification and certificate options are available to choose from. One has to be well informed and select the program wisely on the basis of one’s professional requirements and goals.