Are you ready to discover your college program?

An online human resources (HR) certificate offers condensed and targeted training that can lead to desirable careers.

Professionals with HR training can find employment in most industries and organizations. They can navigate the complexities of labor laws, enhance organizational culture, and develop programs to improve employee satisfaction and performance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 7% employment growth rate for these specialists from 2019-2029 — nearly twice as fast as the average rate for all occupations.

Though the field felt the negative impacts of COVID-19, HR professionals were integral to the organizational response during the pandemic. When the world recovers, HR specialists will help drive re-staffing, growth, and policymaking efforts.

While many HR professionals pursue higher degrees in the field, an online human resources certificate can equip graduates with the basic skills and credentials needed to enter the field at entry level. This page explores HR certificates in depth, highlighting available career pathways and ranking the best online human resources certificate programs.

Top Online Human Resources Certificate Programs 2021
#1 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
#2 Golden Gate University San Francisco, CA
#3 Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
#4 Judson University Elgin, IL
#5 Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ
#6 DeSales University Center Valley, PA
#7 Hampton University Hampton, VA
#8 Cedar Crest College Allentown, PA
#9 Champlain College Burlington, VT
#10 Benedictine University Lisle, IL

Featured Online Schools

The Best Online Human Resources Certificate Programs

University of Virginia true View School Profile Charlottesville, VA University of Virginia is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

A public research university located in Charlottesville, the University of Virginia offers an online certificate in human resource management through its School of Continuing and Professional Studies. This program benefits working professionals who wish to advance their current knowledge, increase their credentials, or make the transition from another field into human resources.

UVA’s human resources certificate online program requires 18 credits and takes a year to complete on a part-time schedule. The curriculum consists of five core courses and one elective course. Core courses include management of organizations; human resource management; organizational change and development; legal and ethical issues in human resources; and employee relations, engagement, and advocacy

For an elective, students choose a course on compensation and benefits or a course on strategic workforce planning. Each course holds approval from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) for 45 professional development credits, which contribute to a student’s eligibility to sit for the SHRM certificate. Certificates can enhance a graduate’s candidacy for a human resource management position and may increase earning potential

Applicants need a high school diploma or its equivalent to apply. Prospective students should also submit all previous transcripts, a letter of recommendation from an individual familiar with the candidate’s academic or professional abilities, a statement of purpose, and a resume. The program offers start dates in August, January, and May. Tuition is the same for in- and out-of-state residents. This certificate program is not eligible for financial aid

Golden Gate University true View School Profile San Francisco, CA Golden Gate University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

A private, nonprofit, sectarian university located in San Francisco, Golden Gate University offers an online certificate in human resource management that provides students with knowledge of management techniques and organizational structures. GGU presents the program entirely online, on campus, and in a hybrid format. Learners can choose to pursue the certificate alone or combine it with a degree.

GGU’s online human resource management certificate program requires 15 units and takes one year. Core courses include human resource management, labor-management relations, personnel recruitment, compensation decision-making, and training methods and administration. Students may choose to substitute one required course for a course on management principles, special topics in management, or an internship in management. With the internship option, learners must arrange their own placement in a job related to human resources with approval from the department chair

To apply to the certificate program, candidates must submit an application form and fee. Prospective students must also satisfy any prerequisite course requirements. Learners may enroll in courses as an open-enrollment student even before they receive formal admission. Transfer credits do not count toward a certificate program, but students may apply credits they earn through a certificate program toward a degree program at GGU

Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis true View School Profile Indianapolis, IN Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

The result of a merger in 1969, Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis is a public research university encompassing the core campus of Indiana University that also offers Purdue University degrees. The Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI provides an online human resource management certificate focused on showing how organizing, allocating, and developing staff can facilitate an organization’s success. The program also prepares students for the Professional in HR (PHR) Certificate Exam and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Assurance of Learning Exam.

IUPUI’s online human management certificate program requires 18 credits comprising three core courses and seven electives. Core courses include employment law, human resource management, and staffing organizations. IUPUI offers many certificate tracks for students to follow based on their areas of interest, such as a generalist HR track, a compensation and benefits track, and industry and manufacturing track. Learners can also create their own customized track from the offered electives. Students must maintain at least a C in all coursework to complete the program.

Certificate students do not need to pass specific departmental or program admission requirements in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology. To gain admission to the university, applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students should contact the certificate program advisor to determine which credits transfer into the program.

Judson University true View School Profile Elgin, IL Judson University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

An evangelical Christian liberal arts college, Judson University offers an online certificate program in human resource management for students who want to take a concentrated block of courses related to human resource management or advance their career in human resources

Learners who have obtained or are obtaining a degree in organizational leadership cannot also earn a certificate in management, but they can apply credits from the certificate toward a related degree. Students also cannot earn a certificate in the same area they have pursued or are pursuing a concentration in as a part of another degree. Judson provides certificate options in business and leadership and the human sciences

Full-time students can complete the 12 credits Judson requires for its certificate program in as little as one semester. Required courses include theory and practice of training and development, human resource management, legal aspects of human resource development, and employee benefits and compensation management. Judson offers start dates in August, January, and May

Program applicants must have graduated from high school or completed a GED equivalent and hold at least one year of work experience beyond high school. Prospective students with fewer than three college courses need a minimum 2.0 high school GPA. Judson accepts transfer students and allows learners to earn credits for informal learning experiences, such as work history, personal study, community service, or other training

Thomas Edison State University true View School Profile Trenton, NJ Thomas Edison State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

A primarily online public university serving working professionals, Thomas Edison State University offers an online certificate in human resources management with a foundation in organizational behavior and management strategies. The certificate program transfers easily into the human resources management degree at TESU

Earning a human resources management certificate online requires 18 credits and can be done within a year as a full-time student. Core courses include human resources management, change management, organizational behavior, sociology of work, interpersonal communications, and business law

For students completing the certificate program without enrolling in a degree, 50% of credits must come from TESU. The other 50% may consist of transfer credits if approved by the dean. Up to nine credits can be older than seven years from the most recent application. A currency review determines if older credits can apply toward certificate completion

Applicants must possess a high school degree or its GED equivalent and be 21 years of age or older. Students 18 and older in the military may apply before age 21. Applicants between the ages of 18 and 20 who are not in the military may apply for special admission if they hold a high school degree or its equivalent. They must have completed a minimum of 24 credits from a regionally accredited college/university with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Individuals under 18 may not enroll in courses or matriculate into programs at the university

DeSales University View School Profile Center Valley, PA DeSales University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

A private Catholic university located in Central Valley, Pennsylvania, DeSales University offers a human resource management certificate for working professionals through the ACCESS program. Classes occur in an accelerated format that meets in the evenings once a week for six- to eight-week sessions or completely online to accommodate working professionals and family obligations. ACCESS provides special tuition rates more affordable than DeSales’s traditional day classes and programs. Tuition deferment is also available.

DeSales’s online human resource management certificate program requires five courses and an elective. Required courses include principles of management, strategic compensation and benefits, practical scenarios, human resource management, and organizational behavior. Students select their elective course with the consultation of their ACCESS advisor

Admission requirements include a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. ACCESS program applicants must be nontraditional students with a full-time career or other nonacademic responsibilities, be out of high school for at least five years or have a two- to four-year break in their undergraduate career, or be an active-duty service member or veteran

DeSales accepts transfer students and allows up to 75 transferable credits from regionally accredited universities and colleges. ACCESS programs also allow transfer credits from noncollege sources, such as work experience, military training, and other training programs. Students can take a prior learning assessment to determine which types of informal learning can transfer into course credit at DeSales. Learners may also receive credit through examination, such as through the CLEP exam.

Hampton University View School Profile Hampton, VA Hampton University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

A private university located in Hampton, Virginia, Hampton University offers an online certificate in human resources management for students seeking to enter the job market, working professionals looking to advance their careers or make a career change, and individuals who wish to prepare for human resource management certificate exams. All credits from the certificate program can apply to a degree in human resources management from HU

The program provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for human resource management careers and qualifies graduates to sit for licensure examinations in all U.S. states and territories

Earning a human resources certificate online at HU requires 24 credits and takes 32 weeks to complete. Required courses include aspects of human resource management, training and development in organizations, compensation and benefits administration, a human resource management seminar, personnel/human resources management, business communication, organizational behavior, and labor management relations. Instead of aspects of human resource management, students may also choose to take employment law for business or legal professions, which also satisfies the curriculum requirements

Program applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent. As part of the application process, prospective students must complete the online application form, pay an application fee, and submit an essay on their professional and educational goals. Transfer students should demonstrate a minimum 2.0 GPA in previous college coursework. Veterans and active-duty military personnel may receive academic credit for military experience and training if they have served for at least two years

Cedar Crest College View School Profile Allentown, PA Cedar Crest College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

A private, liberal arts women’s college located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Cedar Crest College offers an online human resource management certificate through the School of Graduate and Adult Education. The program benefits professionals looking to advance their careers in human resources or begin a new career. Program graduates can pursue careers as compensation and benefits managers, human resource managers, training and development managers, or labor relations specialists. Pennsylvania does not maintain licensure requirements for human resource management professionals.

Obtaining a human resources certificate online at Cedar Crest College requires 12 credits and takes one year. Student learning outcomes include analyzing market and social conditions and determining how they may affect the organization; demonstrating working knowledge of the way compensation and benefits affect organizational behavior; understanding how management decisions affect recruitment and retention; and utilizing political, legal, and economic tools to help make strategic decisions in regard to human resource management. Learners must complete 75% of their coursework through Cedar Crest College.

Applicants to the program should possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent and some work experience. Cedar Crest College’s School of Graduate and Adult Education allows students to transfer up to 68 credits from a community college and up to 90 credits from a four-year college or university toward program completion. Transfer students can also receive up to 12 credits for experiential learning from work experience and up to 12 credits for military service training.

Champlain College View School Profile Burlington, VT Champlain College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).

A private college located in Burlington, Vermont, Champlain College offers a human resource management certificate online for human resources professionals who wish to advance their careers or others who want to make a career change. The program prepares students to manage the human resources department of organizations including corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies. Students gain an understanding of employee rights, compensation and benefits packages, and appraisals. They learn how to effectively recruit, hire, develop, and retain employees.

Champlain College’s online human resources certificate program requires 15 credits. Required courses include employment law, conflict management, managing talent, strategic human resources management, and compensation and benefits. Some of these courses feature prerequisites. For instance, the conflict management course requires students to have previously taken an introductory communications course

This undergraduate certificate program tuition costs $318 per credit. Military students qualify for a tuition discount. Learners should note that federal financial aid does not cover certificate programs

Program applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent with a minimum 2.5 GPA. As a part of the application process, prospective students are also required to submit an application form with short-answer questions, all previous transcripts, and their resume with previous work experience. Champlain College accepts transfer students and offers credit transfer opportunities for professional development training, prior knowledge, and military experience

Benedictine University View School Profile Lisle, IL Benedictine University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

A private Roman Catholic university in Lisle, Illinois, Benedictine University offers an online certificate in human resources management for working professionals. Students analyze, evaluate, and manage workplace relationships to optimize performance and create an ideal work environment. Learners may complete the certificate on its own or as a concentration in a bachelor of arts in organizational leadership or management

Benedictine University’s online certificate in human resources management requires 18 credits and takes less than 8 months to complete. Required courses include the fundamentals of human resource management, employee recruitment strategies, employee performance and appraisal management, and employment law and risk management. Students must earn a C grade or higher in each class to obtain the certificate

Tuition for the certificate program costs $660 per credit. Benedictine University also offers tuition payment plans and interest-free monthly payment options.

Program applicants must submit a personal statement, a reference letter from an academic or professional contact, high school transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores. Benedictine University accepts transfer students with two online systems for evaluating course equivalencies with courses from community colleges and other four-year universities. The school also considers credit for unofficial or informal learning experiences

Ferris State University View School Profile Big Rapids, MI Ferris State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Located in Big Rapids, Michigan, Ferris State University (FSU) originally opened its doors in the 1880s thanks to the efforts of Woodbridge Nathan Ferris, who would go on to become the governor of the Great Lakes State. Originally named the Big Rapids Industrial School, FSU continues its tradition of educating working professionals to this day -- primarily through distance learning.

FSU offers a wide range of distance learning programs, including an online human resources certificate. Each student must complete a 12-credit curriculum, and full-time students can complete the program in a single semester. The required coursework covers employment law and human resources management. Enrollees can also complete elective options like labor economics and labor relations, cross-cultural business, or employee benefits

To meet the needs of working professionals, FSU delivers all of the program’s coursework asynchronously and never requires students to visit campus. Each applicant need a minimum 2.35 GPA and must submit ACT scores (minimum 19 math, 16 English). Transfer students may bring up to six approved credits with them when they enroll at FSU

Georgia Northwestern Technical College View School Profile Rome, GA Georgia Northwestern Technical College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Based in the city of Rome, Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) operates five campuses throughout the eponymous northwestern Georgia area. Since its inception in 1962, the college has focused on providing career training and workforce development to its community. Today, GNTC offers several of its programs through distance learning, including an online human resources certification

The human resources program at GNTC requires students to complete an 18-credit curriculum before graduating. Most full-time students complete the program in two semesters. Notable courses include organizational behavior, human resource management, employee training and development, and performance management. The program does not include any capstone, thesis, or on-campus requirements, though students may opt to take some on-campus courses.

GNTC provides flexibility for working professionals by delivering all of the program’s coursework asynchronously. As a community college, GNTC runs on open enrollment, meaning that the program does not list any admissions requirements beyond a high school diploma or GED. Proud of its service to students of the Peach State, GNTC provides a tuition discount to Georgia residents compared to out-of-state online students

Northwest Technical College View School Profile Bemidji, MN Northwest Technical College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Based out of the city of Bemidji, Minnesota, Northwest Technical College (NTC) is a member of the 37-member Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. Originally opening its doors in 1965, NTC remains true to its original mission of providing career-focused educational opportunities to the local populace. NTC has also made several of its programs available through distance learning, including one of the best online human resources certificate programs in the nation.

The human resources certificate at NTC requires students to complete an 18-credit curriculum before they can graduate. Enrollees explore six required courses: principles of management, computerized business applications, supervisory leadership, legal environment, payroll, and human resources management. The program delivers all of its coursework asynchronously and without any in-person requirements, making it accessible to individuals with a wide range of schedules

As a community college, NTC runs on open enrollment and does not list minimum GPA or standardized test requirements for admission, though each student needs to show proof of a high school diploma or GED. Applicants may also need to take ACCUPLACER exams to demonstrate college readiness. Candidates who do not achieve the required scores on these exams must enroll in college readiness courses at NTC alongside their human resources coursework

Southern New Hampshire University View School Profile Manchester, NH Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).

Based in both Manchester and Hooksett, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) originally opened its doors in the 1930s as a for-profit business school. It went through several iterations over the years, eventually taking its current name at the turn of the 21st century. Since then, SNHU has become one of the nation’s fastest-growing schools. Today, SNHU caters to students around the country, thanks to its diverse catalog of distance learning programs, which now includes an online human resource management certificate

The human resource certificate at SNHU requires students to complete an 18-credit curriculum before they graduate. The curriculum consists of six required courses: human resource management, organizational behavior, total rewards, human resource strategy and development, employee and labor relations, and human relations in administration

As veterans in the distance learning space, SNHU delivers all of its online coursework asynchronously to allow for maximum schedule flexibility. The curriculum does not include in-person requirements.

Notably, SNHU runs on open enrollment, a common policy at community colleges. As such, students only need to show proof of a GED or high school diploma to earn admission to SNHU’s distance learning programs

Southeastern Technical College View School Profile Vidalia, GA Southeastern Technical College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Operating its central campus in Vidalia, in addition to several satellite campuses throughout the southeastern portion of the Peach State, Southeastern Technical College (STC) belongs to the 22-member Technical College System of Georgia. STC began in the 1960s and took its current form in 2009 after a merger between multiple schools. In modern times, STC offers several of its programs through distance learning, including an online human resources management certificate

The human resources management program at STC requires students to complete a 21-credit curriculum. Most full-time enrollees can graduate in 2-3 semesters. The curriculum includes six required courses: organizational behavior, employee training and development, performance management, human resource management, and elective courses in management and employment rules/labor management. Keeping working professionals in mind, STC delivers all program coursework asynchronously and eliminates in-person requirements.

Applicants to the program must be at least 16 and needs to submit high school transcripts. As a community college, STC does not list any minimum GPA or standardized test admission requirements. Once accepted, students complete placement tests to determine if they need to complete any college readiness courses.

Riverland Community College View School Profile Austin, MN Riverland Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Originally opening its doors in 1940, Riverland Community College caters primarily to the local population around its three campuses in southeast Minnesota. Riverland belongs to the 31-school Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System and mainly provides technical and career-focused programs. Recently, Riverland has expanded its service area by offering several of its stronger programs through distance learning, including one of the region’s best online human resources certificate programs.

The human resources program at Riverland consists of 15 credits and 14 courses. Required courses explore employee training and coaching, stress management, safety and compliance management, and employment law. The curriculum does not include any capstone, thesis, internship, or on-campus requirements. Hoping to keep the program accessible for working professionals, Riverland delivers all of the program’s coursework asynchronously

As a community college, Riverland runs on open enrollment and accepts all students who submit proof of a high school diploma or GED. After admission, full-time students can complete the program within a single calendar year. Riverland charges all online students the same base tuition rate regardless of their residency. Students who complete the certificate program in human resources can choose to transition into Riverland’s associate of applied science program.

Cardinal Stritch University View School Profile Milwaukee, WI Cardinal Stritch University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

A private, Roman Catholic-affiliated school based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Cardinal Stritch University originally began operations in the 1930s thanks to the efforts of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. The original Stritch included a reading clinic that served the needs of the local population in South Milwaukee. The school evolved over the years, adding graduate and doctoral programs, moving to a suburban area, and beginning to offer distance learning options, including an online human resources certification

The human resources program at Stritch requires students to complete 18 credits before graduation. Students take one course every six weeks, which allows them to earn their certifications within a calendar year. The curriculum consists of six courses: the role of human resource management; staffing: selection and placement; employee and labor relations; wages and salary/benefits administration; safety and health; and employee development

Students can complete the program without ever visiting Milwaukee, or they may opt for a hybrid or blended learning track. In both cases, Stritch delivers all program coursework asynchronously. Applicant need a GED or high school diploma and two years of full-time work experience. Prospective students can apply for five different start dates, with two in the fall, two in the spring, and one in the summer

Dickinson State University View School Profile Dickinson, ND Dickinson State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Dickinson State University (DSU) is a member of the public North Dakota University system. Originally conceived as a normal school in 1918, DSU evolved over the years, becoming a full university in the 1980s. Now, DSU features programs in 75 different fields, including various online offerings. DSU has expanded its distance learning programs in recent years and now offers a human resources certification online

The human resources program at DSU asks each student to complete a 16-credit curriculum before graduating. That curriculum consists of five required courses: human resource development, business ethics and critical thinking, organizational behavior, human resource management, and management and leadership. Each enrollee can also complete research in human resources through an independent study project. The curriculum does not include any in-person requirements, and the program delivers all of its coursework asynchronously

DSU offers prospective students a variety of ways to earn admission. Applicants who have already earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree need a minimum 2.5 GPA and a completed course in accounting. Applicants without degrees can submit a portfolio of their professional experience to earn consideration for admission

Central Carolina Community College View School Profile Sanford, NC Central Carolina Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Operating campuses in Lee County, Harnett County, and Chatham County, North Carolina, Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) broke ground in 1961 to provide career-focused education to the surrounding population. In recent years, CCCC has expanded its service area by expanding its distance learning programs. As a result, CCCC now offers a human resources certification online

The human resources program at CCCC falls under the department of business administration. The program requires students to complete 18 credits before they graduate. That 18-credit curriculum includes five required courses: training and development; recruiting, selecting, and personnel planning; compensation and benefits; principles of management; and employment law and regulations. Students complete the remaining credits through an elective course. CCCC delivers all of the program’s coursework asynchronously.

The human resources program at CCCC is designed for working professionals and does not include in-person or on-campus requirements. Full-time students typically complete the program in two semesters by taking three courses per semester. As a community college, CCCC runs on open enrollment, and each applicant only needs to submit proof of a high school diploma or GED to earn admission

Central Georgia Technical College View School Profile Warner Robins, GA Central Georgia Technical College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

With its central campus in Warner Robins, Georgia, Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC) serves 11 counties throughout the Peach State. CGTC originally opened its doors in the 1960s as a vocational-technical school with the goal of providing career education and workforce development to the local populace. In modern times, CGTC is part of the Technical College System of Georgia and offers several of its strongest programs through distance learning, including an online human resources certification

The human resources program at CGTC is a subset of the business management program. To earn the certificate, students must complete a 16-credit curriculum that includes four required courses: organizational behavior, human resource management, performance management, and employee training and development. The program does not include internship, thesis, capstone, in-person, or on-campus requirements. CGTC delivers all of the human resources program’s coursework asynchronously

Like most of its peer community and technical colleges, CGTC runs on open enrollment; each applicant only needs to submit proof of a high school diploma or GED to earn admission. Students may apply in the fall, spring, or summer terms. Once admitted, most full-time students can complete the program and earn their certificates in 1-2 semesters

South Texas College View School Profile McAllen, TX South Texas College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

A community college based out of the Rio Grande Valley city of McAllen, Texas, South Texas College is relatively young as institutions of higher education go. It offered its first class in 1993. The college is nationally acclaimed for the diversity of its student population and its dual-enrollment programs. Though the college primarily focuses on students in Starr and Hidalgo Counties, it also caters to remote students through a slate of distance learning options, including its online human resources certification

The human resources assistant program at South Texas College includes a heftier curriculum than most of its peers, requiring 33 credits. A full-time student typically finishes in two semesters. Notable required courses include human relations, employment practices, human resources information systems, and organizational behavior. Each student can complete a cooperative, work-based experience as a capstone course.

The human resources curriculum does not include any in-person requirements, and all coursework is asynchronous. As a community college, South Texas College runs on open enrollment, admitting all students who submit proof of a high school diploma or GED

Great Basin College View School Profile Elko, NV Great Basin College is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Based out of the city of Elko, Nevada, Great Basin College (GBC) enrolls nearly 4,000 students annually as a member of the Nevada System of Higher Education. Founded with a large gift from an eccentric and reclusive billionaire, GBC became part of the University of Nevada system two years after offering its first course in the 1960s. Nowadays, GBC caters to students from all 50 states by making several of its programs available through distance learning -- among them an online human resources certification

GBC’s human resources certificate of achievement prepares graduates for a wide range of entry-level positions. Students must complete 30.5 credits before graduating, and most full-time students earn their certificates in two semesters by taking five courses each semester. The human resources certificate at GBC also includes general education requirements, such as composition and mathematics.

Notable human resources-specific courses in the program include principles of management, psychology of human relations, introduction to human resource management, and introduction to small business management. GBC delivers all of the program’s coursework asynchronously and eliminates in-person and on-campus requirements to fit the needs of working professionals. Like many of its peers, GBC operates under a policy of open enrollment and provides admission to any student with a high school diploma or GED

Dakota County Technical College View School Profile Rosemount, MN Dakota County Technical College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Based in Rosemount, Minnesota, Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) sits just inside of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. DCTC is one of five members of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. Opening its hallways to a mere 50 students in 1970, DCTC has since evolved into a 3,000-student community college offering many programs, including an online human resource management certificate

The human resource management program at DCTC requires students to complete a 17-credit curriculum consisting of 14 credits of human resources-related coursework and a three-credit general education course in interpersonal communication. Notable human resource management courses include risk management, human resource development, compensation and benefits, workforce planning, and employee and labor relations. DCTC keeps working professionals at the forefront and delivers all coursework asynchronously.

Students never need to visit campus to earn their human resources certificates from DCTC. Like most community colleges, DCTC runs on open enrollment and accepts all students who provide proof of a high school diploma or a GED. Students may apply for admission in the fall, spring, or summer terms, and most full-time students in the human resource management program earn their certificates within two semesters

Davidson County Community College View School Profile Thomasville, NC Davidson County Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Based in Lexington and Thomasville, North Carolina, Davidson County Community College (DCCC) began operations in the 1950s. The college has evolved over the years, adding a satellite campus in Mocksville in the 1990s and greatly expanding its distance learning offerings over the past decade. As a result, DCCC now offers a human resource management certificate online.

The human resources diploma at DCCC is part of its business administration program. The 37-credit curriculum combines foundational business studies with human resources-focused coursework. Notable courses include human resource management; training and development; employment law and regulations; compensation and benefits; and recruiting, selection, and personnel planning. Most full-time students complete the program in 15 months.

DCCC strives for flexibility, delivering all coursework asynchronously and eliminating in-person, on-campus, thesis, and capstone requirements. DCCC does not list any admission requirements for its human resources program beyond the typical open enrollment prerequisite of a high school diploma or GED. DCCC offers a per-credit tuition discount to North Carolina residents compared with out-of-state students

National University View School Profile La Jolla, CA National University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

Based in the sunny San Diego community of La Jolla, National University (NU) began operations in the 1970s thanks to the efforts of David Chigos, a former Navy lieutenant commander. Chigos saw a need for alternative programs for working professionals and created NU to fill that void. As a result, NU excels particularly in distance learning programs that cater to individuals who have full-time jobs or familial obligations while earning their degrees. Those programs include an online human resources certification

The human resource management program at NU requires students to complete a 21-credit curriculum before they can graduate. Most students finish the program in 1-2 semesters. The 21-credit curriculum covers seven courses: compensation and benefits, data and human resource management, employee selection, equal employment opportunity, introduction to human resource management, performance management, and talent management and career development.

The program delivers all coursework asynchronously in a self-paced format. Each course takes 3-5 hours to complete and includes videos, readings, exercises, case studies, and self-assessments. Program cost is the same for all students, regardless of their location, and students maintain access to course materials for a year. The certificate does not have any admission requirements beyond a high school diploma or GED

Best Online Colleges

Online Human Resources Certificate Program Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

What Is an Online Human Resources Certificate?

An online human resources certificate offers specialized training to attract students with varying educational and professional interests. These programs include foundational courses, helping students build the skills they need to succeed in entry-level HR positions. This includes courses in labor relations and laws, management strategies, and training and development.

The best online human resources certificate programs also include a few advanced training opportunities, usually in niche areas that offer accelerated pathways into relevant careers and industry credentials. The depth of the training depends on the program, with more in-depth programs often taking longer to complete.

What's the Difference Between a Human Resources Certificate and a Degree in Human Resources?

Schools offer HR degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and the training takes 2-4 years, depending on the degree and program. Many degrees offer specializations in areas like recruitment, training, compensation, and benefits. When finished, graduates can pursue careers as HR specialists, compensation and benefits specialists, HR managers, and compensation and benefits managers.

HR degrees typically include longer and more comprehensive training than certificates, so they can result in more diverse professional opportunities. An online human resources certificate can lead to similar careers, especially at the entry level, but many employers require candidates to have bachelor's degrees for career advancement. For that reason, many certificate graduates go on to pursue bachelor's degrees.

Educational Paths for Graduates of Human Resources Certificate Programs

What Can You Do With a Human Resources Certificate?

An online human resources certificate can lead to a variety of professional opportunities, including in government, manufacturing, healthcare, and business and financial industries. No matter the industry, HR professionals can leverage their training to help build a strong organizational culture for their company.

While smaller organizations may have only one HR representative, many larger organizations break up HR responsibilities among several careers. Depending on training and experience, graduates may work toward careers in areas like HR management, labor relations, or compensation and benefits. Below are a few common HR careers.

Human Resources Coordinator

HR coordinators oversee recruitment and hiring. They conduct interviews and background checks, work with management to identify staffing needs, and make decisions about candidates.

These coordinators may also manage employee compensation and benefits packages or urn training and development programs. Certificates that focus on interviewing, employee evaluation, and training development strategies can help graduates find employment and thrive in this field.

Human Resources Administrator

These professionals typically oversee administrative HR duties, such as handling employment records, processing compensation and benefits, and creating reports for employees and management.

Individuals interested in these roles should pursue coursework covering compensation, labor laws, insurance, and benefits. Candidates also need strong computer and communication skills. Graduates who complete online human resources certificates can build experience in this entry-level career before moving upward.

Human Resources Assistant

These assistants often work with HR managers to complete minor duties, file paperwork, and support staff and management. They help put together employee benefits and compensation plans, create health and safety communications, and guide employees through HR paperwork.

HR assistants also field complaints and answer questions about company policies. Graduates who complete coursework in managerial processes, such as benefits and compensation, labor laws, and health and safety guidelines, often have a competitive edge in this field.

Choosing an Online Program

Students should consider their own educational and professional goals when researching online HR certificate programs to help them identify programs that align with their aspirations. For instance, if they're interested in working with benefits, they should research whether an online program offers coursework about understanding and choosing benefits. The following links offer more information about choosing your ideal online program.

Accreditation for Human Resources Programs

Students should always confirm a school's accreditation status before applying. For HR programs, attending a regionally accredited college is the best choice, as accreditation can affect a student's financial aid and employment opportunities.

The HR field does not require programmatic accreditation, but it can help when seeking employment after graduation. For example, business programs often receive accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which may apply to HR training.

What to Expect When Getting an HR Certificate Online

Every certificate offers a unique curriculum. While specific coursework varies by focus and educational level, many of the best online human resources certificate programs cover similar topics. The following list details some common classes in HR certificates.

Human Resources Curriculum

  • Employee and Labor Relations: Enrollees examine the public policies that govern employer-staff relationships. The training typically covers health and safety, collective bargaining, human rights, and labor laws.
  • Employee Benefits and Compensation: In this course, students learn to develop employee benefits and compensation plans. They also learn about legal requirements in the field and how wages affect employee motivation and performance.
  • Human Resource Management: Basic HR management courses teach learners about the fundamentals of HR work, including managing staffing, training and development, compensation, and mediation and conflict resolution.
  • Occupational Safety and Health: In occupational safety and health courses, students learn about state and federal regulations regarding job safety. They also study policies for compensation and benefits for injured workers, workplace hazard identification methods, and incident reporting.
  • Training Methods: This class delves into employee and performance evaluation, how training affects employee morale, and ways to evaluate training effectiveness.
  • Workforce Diversity: Learners consider the value of a diverse, inclusive workforce and environment. The training examines the ethics of diversity in the workplace, ways to implement changes, and how to design and implement sensitivity training programs.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Human Resources Certificate?

Online human resources certificate timelines vary, depending on the program level and focus. Many of the best online human resources certificate programs require less than one year, allowing students to graduate quickly and enter the workforce.

However, longer programs can better accommodate students and working professionals with busier schedules. They may also include more intensive training, which can satisfy requirements for various industry certifications.

Human Resources Certifications

Unlike certificates, certifications are offered through industry organizations. These credentials recognize professionals who meet or exceed a set of standards developed by the organization.

Certification requirements differ, but these credentials usually require an exam. To qualify, candidates typically need a combination of education and experience. Though many certifications require a bachelor's degree, some may accept candidates with human resources certificates.

Once certified, professionals must maintain and renew their credentials every 2-5 years. They usually need to complete continuing education credits within that timeframe to qualify. Industry certifications can provide professionals with prestige and lead to improved employment and career advancement opportunities. Some organizations allow candidates to earn HR certification online.

The CPTD certification recognizes professionals who understand how to effectively recruit, train, and retain talented employees for organizations. The credential helps experienced professionals showcase their skills as HR managers, particularly in staffing, training and development, and employee relations. The PHR certification recognizes HR professionals who have a solid grasp of labor laws, program design, and staff management. The credential helps distinguish HR managers from other business management professionals, identifying them as trained specialists and leaders in the field. The SHRM-CP certification recognizes specialists who can manage HR departments. They have a solid understanding of the day-to-day operations and functions of the HR department and can take on management responsibilities. The SHRM-SCP credential recognizes the most experienced members of the HR management community. These professionals can lead teams, design community-focused programs and strategies, and lead HR departments in integrating with entire organizations.

Human Resources Organizations

Professional organizations provide invaluable services for students, new graduates, and experienced professionals in the HR world, including access to industry news, professional development activities, and continuing education programs.

While some national organizations welcome all HR professionals, others have regional requirements or focus on specialized subdisciplines. Some of the most significant organizations for HR professionals include:

Human Resources Careers

Human resources training can open the door to careers across industries. Learners can apply their skills to both entry-level and management positions, helping employees and organizations collaborate more effectively.

While professionals can branch out into related fields, an HR degree and an online human resources certificate best prepare graduates for specialized roles, like those listed below.

Career Median Salary (2020)
Human Resources Specialists $63,490
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists $67,190
Training and Development Managers $115,640
Human Resources Managers $121,220
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions

true Which Is the Best HR Certification?

Each HR certification has its own strengths. For example, PHR and SHRM-CP certifications work best for professionals with broad operational responsibilities, while CPTD and SHRM-SCP are better for recruitment specialists and strategy managers, respectively.

Can You Get HR Jobs With a Certificate?

Yes. Graduates who earn human resources certificates online can pursue entry-level positions. However, to advance their careers or obtain leadership roles, candidates may need to earn bachelor's degrees and acquire professional experience.

How Do I Become HR Certified?

Certified HR professionals obtain their credentials by passing an examination administered by an industry organization, such as the Society for Human Resource Management. These organizations test candidates on their abilities and knowledge of the industry.

Can I Get an HR Degree Online?

Yes. Many schools offer online human resources certifications and degrees. Students can complete associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees online, though they may need to complete some on-campus requirements as well, depending on the program.

Learn more, do more.

Popular with our students.

Highly informative resources to keep your education journey on track.

Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

woman in an office