If you are an HR professional, earning an MBA degree or HR certification has certainly crossed your mind as a way to advance in your career. Both are typical options. However, which one, MBA or a certification is a way to grow? Is there a sure option that will guarantee you success?
We compare the two options and see which one trumps the other.
Do hiring managers prefer an MBA or a certification?
Clearly, after working in HR for some time, MBA would look like an ideal option. The trustworthiness of certifications is always questionable. Among several certifications, the inability to verify the credibility of the certifying institution is always a concern. In this scenario, earning an MBA degree from a recognized or accredited seems like a perfect decision.
On top of this, the skill and knowledge gained from a certification always has the possibility to get redundant. So recertification becomes mandatory. In simple words, benefits of pursuing an MBA trumps earning an HR certification for professionals.
So what is an ideal option —MBA or certification?
Honestly, truth can’t be farther than this. In 2014, Software Advice conducted a survey among certain job postings related to HR. Here’s what it found in the survey —
- 42 percent of jobs required or preferred an HR certification
- 28 percent of listed HR jobs required or preferred an MBA. Graduate education wasn’t required at all.
Overall, both options MBA and HR certifications are fulfilling in this sense, and both can help advance an HR career. However, the above deductions don’t take you anywhere, and the answer to the question – whether you should be pursuing an MBA or an HR certification is yet not clear.
So let’s take the case of certifications
While considering the two options, The cost is an important factor. The cost of an MBA for an average B-school can go as much as $260,000, according to Investopedia’s Marvin Dumon.
While the cost of an HR certification lies anywhere between $300 to $500.
The other question here is – whether MBA is required at all for pursuing a career in HR. In the aforementioned survey by Software Advice, 85 percent of job postings in the aforementioned survey required a bachelor’s degree or preferred an MBA. However, no jobs listed MBA as mandatory.
Let’s look at an MBA
Today HR is very different from the way it was years ago. From an administrative function, it has turned into a strategic function. This requires HR professionals now to be acquainted with metrics, collective bargaining, and project management. Some HRs believe that an HR certification doesn’t prepare candidates sufficiently. Thus, a long-term MBA is required.
MBAs prepare you for other roles including HR. In addition to HR principles, it teaches business strategy, financial accounting, marketing management, and leadership techniques. As HR is increasingly getting complex, these are skills are required by all workers and not just higher management professionals.
In a nutshell, HR certification and MBA can be both rewarding. So check your options and see what suits you best.