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
Online Human Resources Programs Ranking Guidelines
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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
- Associate in human resources
- Bachelor's in human resources
- Bachelor's in human resource management
- Bachelor's in international human resource management
- Master's in human resources
- Doctorate in human resources
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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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