Today a number of professional organizations represent general, as well as spe­cialized, areas of HRM. The professional association with the largest member­ship–more than 47,000–is the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Affiliated with SHRM are more than 400 local chapters in major cit­ies throughout the United States, many of which sponsor student conferences, seminars, and workshops.


The national annual meeting of the society is held in a different city each year. The society publishes HR Magazine (formerly Personnel Administrator) and HR News (formerly Resource), as well as various books and bul­letins. While HR Magazine is available to the general public and is found in most libraries, HR News is generally available only by personal or organizational sub­scription.

SHRM frequently collaborates with the U.S. Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) in conducting surveys in various areas of HRM.

Other leading professional associations in the field include the Interna­tional Personnel Management Association, the International Association for Personnel Women, the American Management Association (AMA), and the Conference Board (CB). AMA and CB are prominent nonprofit organizations that provide publications and educational services relating to HRM and other functional areas.

Organizations that represent specialized areas of interest in­clude the Human Resource Planning Society, the American Compensation As­sociation, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, the American Society for Training and Development, the Association for Industrial Research, and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology of the American Psychological Association. For professors in the field, there is the Per­sonnel and Human Resources Division of the Academy of Management.

All of these organizations sponsor meetings and workshops that promote the profes­sional growth of their members. They also provide opportunities for contact with other organizations, including government agencies. Most have excellent websites for you to review.


The professionalization of a field generally leads to some form of certifica­tion for practitioners to enhance their status and to recognize their competency. The Human Resource Certification Institute of SHRM has developed such a program for professionals in HRM. The program offers two types of certification, each of which reflects the number of specialties and the amount of experience and/or academic training possessed by the recipient.



recognition of having met

certain professional standards


To qualify for either certification, an applicant must provide verification of experience and pass an intensive four-hour written examination to demonstrate mastery of knowledge. The certifications, which must be renewed every three years, serve largely to indicate the qualifications of recipients and encourage others to qualify for certification.

There are other certifying agencies with specific certification designations in the areas of compensation, employee benefits, and safety and health. As the reputations of these programs grow and the pro­grams become more widely recognized by top management, certification will be­come an important qualification for individuals seeking positions in HRM.


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