HR Membership Associations You Should Join

Whether you’re just starting your HR career, looking to network with other professionals, seeking a professional certification, or need an outside source for industry trends, joining an established HR association or organization is a great way to expand your exposure to the field.

But how do you sort through the different options? We’ve done some of the due diligence for you and listed out the top six national groups that are open for membership.* These groups span all HR focus areas and roles, and some even provide support for those with global HR responsibilities.

Remember, in addition to this list, there are also many local chapters to consider. Local groups tend to provide information tailored to your location, of course. You should definitely seek those out as well.

While many of these groups have a cost associated with them, you can think about the ROI in terms of your personal career growth and development. Between access to resources, other experienced professionals, and continuing education, they’re a way to keep yourself knowledgeable and actively engaged in HR—beyond your current role and company.

Finally, ask your employer if they would be willing to fully or partially cover the cost of membership. Given that this professional development positively impacts your performance and contributions to the workplace, it might be worthwhile for your company to provide a financial incentive.

SHRM: Society for Human Resource Management Logo

1. Society for Human Resources Management  

For any and all HR professionals, especially a great “first” membership for those just starting out.

  • Summary: “The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR professional society, representing 285,000 members in more than 165 countries. For nearly seven decades, the Society has been the leading provider of resources serving the needs of HR professionals and advancing the practice of human resource management.”
  • Membership Fees: $40/Year - Student, $199/Year - Professional, $99/Year - Global Online
  • Conferences: Yes, Throughout the Year
  • Continuing Education: Yes
  • Certifications: Yes, Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) & Senior Certified Professional (Certified Professional SHRM-SCP)

Association for Talent Development logo

2. Association for Talent Development 

For those interested in organizational development and/or learning & development.

  • Summary: “The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The association was previously known as the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).”
  • Membership Fees: $229/Year - Professional Member, $329/Year - Professional Plus Member
  • Conferences: Yes, Throughout the Year
  • Continuing Education: Yes
  • Certifications: Yes, Certified Professional in Learning & Performance (CPLP)

Human Capital Institute logo

3. Human Capital Institute  

For those interested in talent management throughout the talent lifecycle.

  • Summary: “HCI knows that today’s HR professionals are constantly seeking the cutting-edge talent practices that can help their companies beat out the competition. Our members have access to our aggregated, open-source human capital best practices from prominent companies, thought leaders, and academic research. Access this information with your HCI membership and connect to over 195,000 talent leaders worldwide.”
  • Membership Fees: Free - Community Membership; Fee associated with Corporate Membership
  • Conferences: Yes, Throughout the Year
  • Continuing Education: Yes
  • Certifications: Yes, Human Capital Strategist (HCS) Certification, Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) Certification, Strategic HR Business Partners (sHRBP) Certification, Talent Acquisition Strategist (TAS) Certification & Performance Management Innovation (PMI) Certification

World at Work logo

4. WorldatWork 

For those interested in total rewards—be it compensation and/or benefits.

  • Summary: “If you are a professional in the field of compensation, sales compensation, executive compensation, benefits, work-life or total rewards, WorldatWork is your human resources association. As a member, you get training from the leading experts in the field, exclusive member-only resources, peer networking opportunities and valuable career guidance, all at substantial savings over non-members.”
  • Membership Fees: $350/Year
  • Conferences: Yes, Throughout the Year
  • Continuing Education: Yes
  • Certifications: Yes, Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), Certified Benefits Professional (CBP), Certified Sales Compensation Professional (CSCP) & Certified Executive Compensation Professional (CSCP), etc.

American Payroll Association logo

5. American Payroll Association

For those interested in payroll administration and practice.                                                         

  • Summary: “Established in 1982, the American Payroll Association is the nation's leader in payroll education, publications, and training. APA conducts payroll training conferences and seminars across the country and publishes a complete library of resource texts and newsletters. Representing more than 20,000 members, APA is the industry's highly respected and collective voice in Washington, D.C.”
  • Membership Fees: $219/Year
  • Conferences: Yes, Throughout the Year
  • Continuing Education: Yes
  • Certifications: Yes - Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) & Certified Payroll Certification (CPC)

Society for Industrial & Organization Psychology logo

6. Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology 

For those interested in I/O psychology.

  • Summary: “SIOP is the premier membership organization for those practicing and teaching I-O psychology.  While an independent organization with its own governance, SIOP is also a division within the American Psychological Association and an organizational affiliate of the Association for Psychological Science.”
  • Membership Fees: $50/Year - Student, $100/Year - Professional
  • Conferences: Yes
  • Continuing Education: Yes, Credits towards SHRM Certifications
  • Certifications: No

*Namely is not directly affiliated with nor endorses any of the organizations above.

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