According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for human resources professionals is expected to grow through 2024. As the competition for this job grows, HR professionals with valuable certifications may be more likely to stand out from other candidates.

We recently sat down with someone who knows.

jennifer stano

Jennifer Stano, D.M., PHR, SHRM-CP, serves as Senior HR Partner in the Office of Human Resources at Towson University. In her role, she works with a team of HR professionals on hiring new employees, reviewing job descriptions, and ensuring appropriate compensation.

So, is an HR certification actually worth it? Here’s what Jen had to say.

What is your role in TU’s Human Resources offices?

I serve as as senior HR partner in the Office of Human Resources at Towson University. In my role, I get to work with a great team of HR professionals on hiring new employees, reviewing job descriptions, and ensuring appropriate compensation.

What professional certifications do you have?

I received my Professional in Human Resources (PHR) in January 2010.  I received my Society of Human Resources Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) in March 2015.

How has the PHR certification helped your career?

Practically, many leadership jobs in HR require or prefer some level of certification, so it definitely qualifies me for positions that I am interested in. But I would say the day-to-day impact is even more apparent. While my current role is focused on just a few areas of HR, all HR functions are related and impact each other. Having my PHR has given me a foundation to understand the different aspects of HR so that I can approach issues holistically. Also, the PHR exam was really difficult! The process of studying for the exam (reading about common HR issues and ways to strategically approach them), taught me skills that I still use in providing HR solutions today. Finally, the PHR certification requires that I continue my professional development, so being engaged with conferences, webinars, and other opportunities for learning is a constant benefit to my career.

Did you have the PHR certification before you started working at TU?

I did.  My prior role was an HR Generalist and the PHR was an important validation for that role. At the time, it was also a personal goal of mine. I studied for and took the exam while on maternity leave with my second daughter. As I was growing my family, I wanted to stay engaged with my personal and professional growth.

What advice would you give to HR professionals looking to advance their careers?

I recommend that anyone looking to advance or try something new should stay open-minded; you never know where the next opportunity will arise. Having an HR certification is a great place to start. The process will provide a thorough learning of HR functions and the continued development will keep you engaged and networking with other HR professionals. Finally, it doesn’t hurt to have an HR certification when applying for new positions!

Our next instructor-led Human Resources Certification Prep Course begins soon. Our self-paced Human Resources Certification Prep Course is available anytime.