There are a number of reasons a human resources professional may want to join an HR organization or association. Many such organizations assist in developing leadership skills, provide educational resources, and organize conferences and seminars by which HR professionals can network with others in their fields. Perhaps most importantly, joining a human resources association allows HR professionals to boost their credibility and advance their careers. But which organizations are worth joining? Keep scrolling for Human Resources MBA’s list of the 15 best organizations and associations for human resources professionals.

Related Resource: Entry Level Human Resources Jobs

Academy of Human Resource Development


HR associationsHuman resources professionals interested in furthering their HR knowledge and keeping up to date with the latest industry trends would do well to join the Academy of Human Resource Development. This global organization promotes “the study of human resource development theories, processes, and practices.” They also frequently send out educational resources and invitations to various networking opportunities. Members pay either $130 (students) or $220 (individuals) per year, and receive in exchange resources, publications, conference invites, award opportunities, and faculty mentoring projects.

American Payroll Association

The American Payroll Association (APA) has been a leading organization for HR professional since its founding in 1982. Aimed specifically at those who work in payroll, the APA offers its members conferences and seminars on the topic of payroll training, publications, and various educational resources. The association also offers Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) and Certified Payroll Certification (CPC). Individual memberships cost $219 per year.

Association for Manufacturing Excellence


The Association for Manufacturing Excellence is a great organization for those with a human resources position at a manufacturing company. Membership to this respected association costs just $150 for an individual, and once enrolled, members can “exchange best practices and network in order to advance their careers and improve the competitiveness and overall value of their organizations.” The association also hosts excellent conferences held throughout the country.

Association for Talent Development


As its name suggests, the Association for Talent Development is an organization for those professionals who recruit, train, and develop employees. ATD, as it’s known, offers members a number of conferences and other networking events each year. The association also produces an impressive amount of educational content in the form of webinars, books, and research. ATD membership fees range from $229 to $349 per year.

College and University Professional Association for Human Resources


Those who work in human resources within higher education are able to join the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR). This international HR association monitors trends within the field of higher education, conducts research, then shares news, updates, and various educational resources with its members.

Council for Global Immigration


Affiliated with the Society for Human Resources Management (which is also on our list of the best organizations and associations for human resources professionals), the Council for Global Immigration is for those who work specifically with employment-based immigration. Members of the Council always have access to up-to-date information on immigration policies to ensure their company or institution remains in compliance and able to attract top international talent.

HR People + Strategy


HR People + Strategy is associated with Society for Human Resources Management, the largest HR organization in the world and another entry on our list of the best organizations and associations for HR professionals. HR executives with 10 or more years of experience are invited to join HR People + Strategy. The organization focuses on developing talent, HR strategy and planning, and honing leadership skills. Membership costs range from $495 for an individual to $5,000 for an enterprise consisting of 12 members, and include next-level access to conferences, research and reports, and more.

Human Capital Institute


Human resources professionals are expected to keep up with the trends relating to recruiting and developing talent. That’s where the Human Capital Institute comes in. Members of this well-respected association have access to current academic research, HR mentors from prominent companies, a community of thoughtful leaders, and conferences held throughout the year. Community membership is free, though there are annual fees for corporate memberships, conferences, and certification programs.

International Association of Administrative Professionals


The International Association of Administrative Professionals has been a leading organization in the world of human resources since its founding in 1942. Today, IAAP has branches in 49 states, and works to provide HR professionals with the skills, knowledge, and insights necessary to keep up with an industry that changes rapidly and to advance their careers. IAAP members receive access to training programs, various certification programs, conferences and networking events, and advocacy, among other things.

International Association for Human Resources Information Management


The International Association for Human Resources Information Management (IHRIM) is one of the top membership organizations in the world for HR professionals working in information management. The association offers educational resources, professional certification, and uniquely, collaboration opportunities. Memberships cost $50 (students), $100 (faculty), $295 (individuals), or $2,800+ (corporations), and include job listings, conference invitations, access to a knowledgable community, webinars, and certifications, among other things.

International Public Management Association for Human Resources


The International Public Management Association for Human Resources, or IPMA-HR, has been around since 1906. The organization acts as a one-stop shop for the industry by providing news, educational resources, job opportunities, conference invites, training, and more. Though the international association does have a central governing body, there are more than 40 chapters throughout the United States, meaning members receive personalized attention and information most relevant to them.

National Association of African-Americans in Human Resources


This national association for HR professionals is specifically for African-Americans working in human resources. NAAAHR, as it’s known throughout the industry, describes itself as an “inspirational and unique career development and networking powerhouse.” Members receive myriad benefits, including networking opportunities, educational and professional development, mentorship and coaching, and more. And because the NAAAHR has regional groups, one-on-one and personalized access is easy to achieve. Membership costs range from $30 for a student to $125 for a professional. Corporations can register 10 members for $1,000 or purchase a “Corporate Elite” membership for $5,000.

National Human Resources Association


Though it’s smaller than some of the other HR organizations and associations on our list, the National Human Resources Association (NHRA) provides deeper, more intimate opportunities for HR professionals to learn and connect with others. The non-profit association is run entirely by volunteers. Thus, it emphasizes a “high focus on products and services that will bring bottom-line savings and value to organizations.” These “products and services” include small conferences, professional networking programs, and leadership development services. Membership costs vary by region, but range from about $50 (students) to $300 (corporations).

Society for Human Resources Management


With more than 275,000 members across 160 countries, Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) is the largest HR organization in the world. The group is dedicated to human resources management and, according to its website, seeks to “serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management.” SHRM produces publications and industry research; offers awards, scholarships, and certifications; and organizes conferences. Individuals who purchase a membership with SHRM receive customizable HR tools such as interview questions and job descriptions, an HR advisor service, an HR magazine subscription, weekly webcasts, and more. Membership costs range from $40/year for students to $190/year for professionals.



WorldatWork is an organization for HR professionals that deal with compensation, executive compensation, sales compensation, benefits, and/or work life. The goal of WorldatWork is to help its members advance their careers by taking advantage of networking opportunities and staying up to date on industry changes. To do this, WorldatWork offers various certification programs, including Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), Certified Sales Compensation Professional (CSCP), and Certified Benefits Professional (CBP), among others. Memberships cost $350 annually, and include conference invitations, training from leading experts, and valuable educational resources.