Best Online Human Resources Certificate Programs

by TBS Staff
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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

Georgia Northwestern Technical College true View School Profile Rome, GA 43% 54% Georgia Northwestern Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission (SACSCOC).

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.

University of Virginia-Main Campus true View School Profile $$$ Charlottesville, VA 94% 10% The University of Virginia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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.

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis true View School Profile $ Indianapolis, IN 47% 40% Indiana University - Purdue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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.

Southeastern Technical College true View School Profile Vidalia, GA 31% 39% Southeastern Technical College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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.

Ferris State University true View School Profile $$ Big Rapids, MI 50% 28% Ferris State University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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.

West Georgia Technical College View School Profile Waco, GA 34% 40% West Georgia Technical College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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.

Dickinson State University View School Profile $$ Dickinson, ND 34% 40% Dickinson State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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.

Southern New Hampshire University View School Profile Manchester, NH 54% 93% Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

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.

Pima Community College View School Profile Tucson, AZ 18% 31% Pima Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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.

Northwest Technical College View School Profile $$ Bemidji, MN 42% 73% North West Technical College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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.

Saint Paul College View School Profile $$ Saint Paul, MN 29% 35% Saint Paul College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Established in 1910, SPC teaches more than 14,000 full-time and part-time students each year.

The school offers a human resources certificate program that prepares students for a career in human resource management. Required courses include human resource management, talent development, digital HR, total rewards, employment law and HR policies, and performance management and coaching.

Students will learn record keeping, compensation and benefits administration, and staffing procedures. Students can start the program in the spring or the fall and transfer to the Human Resource AAS program upon completion.

Western Iowa Tech Community College View School Profile $ Sioux City, IA 36% 45% Western Iowa Tech Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1966, WITCC offers over 70 programs.

The online Human Resources Program provides courses like the college experience, employment law, applied math, managing diversity, business communication, training and employee development, human resource management, information computing, staffing, business law, human and work relations, and business innovation.

This program requires 34 credits. Tuition costs $195 per credit for online students. The program leads to an Associate of Applied science degree.

Students are required to submit previous transcripts for entry and assessment. Credits can be transferred to a 4-year college.

Champlain College View School Profile Burlington, VT 64% 52% Champlain College is accredited regionally by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Established in 1878 as the Burlington Collegiate Institute and Commercial College by Burlington educator George W. Thompson, Champlain is a private institution with a variety of online undergrad and graduate-level programs.

Champlain offers an online graduate program in Human Resources with two eight-week terms per semesters three semesters per year. The program requires 16 credits and 10 to 17 hours of course work per week.

Required courses include managing behavior in organizations, strategic human resource management, compensation and benefits, workplace laws and regulations, integrated learning through practice, and talent acquisition, development, and retention.

Joliet Junior College View School Profile Joliet, IL 17% 23% Joliet Junior College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1901, JJC is a public community college and the very first community college in The United States.

The school's Human Resources Management programs ensures students learn the fundamentals of human resources to prepare for careers in recruitment, payroll, and administrative support. It offers both a certificate of completion and a certificate of achievement. The programs prepare students for careers as human resources specialists or assistants, payroll and timekeeping clerks, or first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers.

Students that want to earn a bachelor's degree after completing the program, students must complete an Associate of Arts degree through the Business Transfer program.

DeSales University View School Profile Center Valley, PA 70% 32% DeSales University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Opened in 1965, DeSales is a private catholic college offering a range of degrees and courses in a variety of areas.

DeSales offers a certificate in Human Resources Management. Students also have the option to pursue dual majors when applying. Required courses include principles of management, strategic compensation and benefits, or employment law, real world scenarios, human resource management, organizational behavior, and electives.

Students can qualify for credits for non-college learning through the school's ACCESS program.

Inver Hills Community College View School Profile $$ Inver Grove Heights, MN 26% 49% Inver Hills Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1970, IHCC provides education from more than 3,600 students annually.

The school offers an online Human Resources certificate program that helps students prepare for careers in human resource management. Courses include human relations in business, human resource management, workforce planning, total reward and compensation, risk management, and employment law for business. 

The program takes 18 credits to complete and students can transfer those credits to an associate or bachelor's degree program pathway.

Wake Technical Community College View School Profile $ Raleigh, NC 18% 48% Wake Technical Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Wake Tech has several campuses for students in the area and offers both certificates and degree programs, including the Southern Wake Campus, the Scott Northern Wake Campus, Research Triangle Park Campus, and Wake Tech Online.

The school serves more than 70,000 students every year.

The business administration associate degree program in Human Resources has flexible scheduling with both day and night classes. Key courses include Business Law, Human Resources Management, and Compensation and Benefits.

The program offers classes online, on campus, and a hybrid option. No financial aid is available for the program.

Grand View University View School Profile Des Moines, IA 50% 21% Grand View University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1896, GV serves approximately 2,000 students with around 1,650 of them full-time students.

The Human Resources Management certificate takes 18 credits to complete. Courses include staffing, training, and development, employment law, business ethics and professional behavior, human resource management, organizational behavior, and compensation and benefits. The online option allows students to pursue an education while working in the field at the same time.

Students enrolled must take no fewer than 6 credits per semester. The program prepares students to transition into a position as a human resource assistant or manager.

Judson University View School Profile Elgin, IL 64% 35% Judson University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1913, Judson offers both undergrad and graduate programs with tuition 20% lower than the average for private colleges.

The school offers a Human Resources Management certificate that teaches students about the hiring process, business law, strategic planning, and the psychology behind creating a positive work environment.

The advanced certificate in human resources management program offers courses like human resources management, workforce diversity, senior human resource management seminar, employee benefits and compensation, employee labor relations, and safety and organizational wellness. The advanced certificate in business administration program takes 21 credits to complete.

Holyoke Community College View School Profile $ Holyoke, MA 20% 46% Holyoke Community College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Founded in 1946 as the city-sponsored Holyoke Junior College, HCC is a two-year school that offers 95 degrees and certificates, 40 student clubs and organizations, and 85 transfer programs.

The Human Services program is offered at both the certificate and associate degree levels. Applicants who wish to pursue a certificate can complete it within two semesters and should expect credits to be transferrable to any bachelor's program.

The associate degree program prepares students to be residential case managers, community organizers, and outreach workers.

Normandale Community College View School Profile $$ Bloomington, MN 25% 37% Normandale Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Founded in 1968, Normandale typically enrolls more than 14,000 students annually.

The human resource management program is offered at the certificate level with 18 credits required for completion. Students will take courses in supervision, principles of management, legal environment of business, information technology concepts and business software, human resource management, and the legal environment of business.

The program prepares students for careers as college business teachers, training and development managers (or specialists), human resources managers (or specialists), compensation and benefits managers, and labor relations specialists.

Great Basin College View School Profile $ Elko, NV 36% 83% Great Basin College is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Founded in 1967, GBC is a small institution with a 100% acceptance rate for H.S. graduates. The school offers bachelor and associate degrees as well as certificate programs and serves about 4,000 students annually.

The certificate of achievement in human resources prepares students for entry-level positions within both large and small offices. Students will learn in the following areas, General Business, Entrepreneurship, and Retail Management.

Applicants must have a High School Diploma (or GED) and must be in good academic standing if transferring from another college.

Edison State Community College View School Profile $$ Piqua, OH 33% 41% Edison State Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Established in 1973, Edison State serves more than 3,000 students each year in 30 technical fields.

Edison State offers a human resources management certificate that prepares students for a career in human resources. Required courses include computer concepts and applications, spreadsheets, labor relations, composition, fundamentals of communication, database applications, staffing the organization, employee training and development, and environmental health and safety.

Upon completion of the program, the work articulates into the Associate of Applied Business degree in human resource management. Students may also sit for the national SHRM exams and join the Edison state chapter of the Society of Business and Human Resource Management.

Thomas Edison State University View School Profile Trenton, NJ 100% Thomas Edison State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Founded in 1972, TESU is one of New Jersey's 11 senior public institutions of higher learning and one of the oldest schools in the country for adults. It offers associate, bachelor, and master's degrees and certificates in over 100 areas of study.

The school offers a Human Resources Management certificate takes 18 credits to complete. Required courses include human resources management, change management, organizational behavior, advanced organizational management, industrial psychology, and organizational theory.

Students in the program can easily transfer into the Human Resources Management degree program.

Cedar Crest College View School Profile Allentown, PA 46% 46% Cedar Crest College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Founded in 1867, Cedar Crest College is a private institution for women that offers liberal arts programs. The school teaches 1,400 students and offers more than 40 majors in the arts and sciences and almost 30 minors.

Cedar Crest offers a Human Resources Management certificate that prepares students for a career in human resources. The course takes 12 credits to complete and students must complete 75 percent of the coursework to get the certificate.

The certificate is available on campus and as an accelerated program of study online. It takes two semesters to complete.

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 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.

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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