A Brief History

In the late 1960s, a study at Cornell University found that a profession is defined by five characteristics:

  1. A profession must be full time.
  2. Schools and curricula must be aimed specifically at teaching the basic ideas of the profession, and there must be a defined common body of knowledge.
  3. A profession must have a national professional association.
  4. A profession must have a certification program.
  5. A profession must have a code of ethics.

Based on this definition, the American Society of Personnel Administration set out to create a set of criteria that would define HR Management as a profession. As part of this process, ASPA (now known as the Society for Human Resource Management) approved the formation of a task force to study the possibility of an HR accreditation. In 1973, based on the task force’s recommendations, the ASPA Accreditation Institute (AAI) was born.

AAI administered the first HR exams in 1976. As the HR profession matured, the accreditation program changed.

Today, the AAI is known as the HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®). The HR Certification Institute® is a global leader in developing rigorous exams to demonstrate mastery and real-world application of forward-thinking HR practices, policies and principles. Since 1976, the Institute has awarded hundreds of thousands of HR credentials to highly accomplished HR professionals from around the world who have successfully passed our exams and uphold the highest standards of the HR profession.