Best Online Human Resources Certificate Programs

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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.

The Best Online Human Resources Certificate Programs

  1. Georgia Northwestern Technical College

    Rome, GA



    Established in 1962, GNTC prepares students for the workforce through technical programs and workforce development. The school offers both distance and in-person learning options.

    The Human Resource Management Specialist Certificate covers courses in Organizational Behavior, Human Resource Management, Employment Rules, and Regulations, as well as Labor-Management Relations. Students have the option of taking one elective during the course of the program.

    The degree program takes 18 credits to complete. This certificate program prepares students for an upper-level career in the Human Resources field with an emphasis on management, job acquisition, and job retention.

  2. University of Virginia-Main Campus

    Charlottesville, VA



    Established in 1819, UVA teaches nearly 22,000 students.

    The Leadership in Human Resources Management certificate offers a comprehensive learning environment with five core courses as a requirement. Courses include management of organizations, legal and ethical Issues in human resources, and employee relations, engagement, and advocacy.

    Every course in the program is pre-approved for professional development credits through the Society for HR Management (SHRM).

    Start dates for the program are August, January, and June. Students typically take two course per term, including courses in the summer in order to complete the program in 12 months. Students should expect to take the course on a part-time basis.

  3. Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

    Indianapolis, IN



    IUPUI merged in 1969 to form this school, Indiana's premier urban public research university. IUPUI has 29,000 students.

    The Human Resources Management curriculum offers courses in Employment Law, Human Resources Management, Staffing Organization, HR Analytics, and Employee Relations among a few others. Students have the option to complete three required courses and choose from nine electives.

    Applicants must be formally admitted to the university. Transfer students may qualify for credits for some coursework with grades of C or higher.

  4. Southeastern Technical College

    Vidalia, GA



    Established in 1963, STC offers both traditional and online learning options.

    The Human Resource Management Specialist certificate requires certificates or degrees from previous institutions attended. This program prepares students for a career in human resource management.

    The Human Resources Program is available at any time of the year. Courses include human resource management, performance management, organizational behavior. Elective courses include employee rules and regulations and labor-management Relations.

  5. Ferris State University

    Big Rapids, MI



    Founded in 1884, FSU has a variety of degrees and programs.

    The human resources management certificate program requires courses in human resource management and employment law. Students must also choose two of the following courses: negotiations, employee benefits, cross cultural business, compensation, cases on strategy and workforce trends, diversity and communication, recruitment and selection, and labor economics and labor relations.

    Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.35 and an ACT score of 16 in English or college level English and an ACT score of 19 or higher in math or college level math.

  6. West Georgia Technical College

    Waco, GA



    Established in 1989, WGTC offers both associate degrees and certificates in a multitude of areas.

    The school has a Human Resources Management Certificate that takes prepares students for a career in Human Resources. The curriculum includes courses like organizational behavior, human resource management, employee training and development, employment rules and regulations, business regulations, and labor management relations.

    Students have the option to choose from two electives for this program and will graduate prepared for tasks like hiring, benefits administration, and labor relations in business.

  7. Dickinson State University

    Dickinson, ND



    Established in 1918, DSU teaches more than 1,400 students annually.

    The Human Resource Management Certificate program prepares students for three main roles, Human Resource Assistant, Human Resources Manager, or Human Resource Specialist.

    Core courses include management and leadership, organizational behavior, human resource development, and business ethics and critical thinking. The program takes 16 credits to complete.

    Transfer students are required to submit official transcripts from their previous college, have a minimum overall 2.5 GPA, and have taken an accounting course. ACT and SAT scores aren't required but they will be used for placement if a student chooses to submit them.

  8. Southern New Hampshire University

    Manchester, NH

    Founded in 1932 as the New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science, SNHU is a private institution that offers distance learning options and a variety of degree programs.

    Their Human Resources Management program offers students the tools needed to apply for entry-level Human Resources jobs. Courses include human relations in administration, human resource management, employee and labor relations, total rewards, organizational behavior, and human resource strategy and development. The program requires 18 credits for graduation.

    Tuition costs $320 per credit for 18 hours. The program can be completed in 6 months.

  9. Pima Community College

    Tucson, AZ



    Founded in 1966, Pima is a public college with five different campuses.

    The school offers a Human Resources program that prepares students for a career in human resource management.

    Required courses include introduction to human resources management, human resource law, benefits and compensation, training and development, college success and career planning, labor relations and job requirements, recruitment, and personnel selection.

    After completing the Human Resources Certificate students come out prepared for careers as Human Resources Specialists, Labor Relations Specialists, and Training and Development Specialists.

  10. Northwest Technical College

    Bemidji, MN



    Established in 1965, NTC is one of 30 community and technical colleges and a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. The school teaches 2,000 students each year on campus and online.

    The school has a Human Resources Certificate that focuses on payroll, legal environment, human resource management, supervisory leadership, and computerized business applications. The 18-credit program prepares students to enter careers in offices as managers, public sectors, and within the business industry.

Best Online Certificate

Online Human Resources Programs Ranking Guidelines

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

Our Methodology

Here at, 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

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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, 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.

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

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Featured Online Human Resources Programs

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.

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? true

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? true

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? true

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.

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