2022 Best Online Human Resources Graduate Certificate Programs

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Pursuing a graduate certificate in human resources online may help you distinguish yourself from other candidates interested in a career in HR.

Best Online Human Resources Graduate Certificate Programs

Human resources is an important department in a workplace. Recruiting, training, and helping employees understand their benefits are just a few functions of HR.

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If you’ve ever taken an interest in onboarding employees and helping them navigate their experiences at work, a career in HR may interest you.

Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Online Programs

Graduate Certificate in Human Resources

Getting an online human resource graduate certificate may lead to more opportunities in the field. One benefit of completing the coursework online is being able to build your studies around your life.

The goal of pursuing an online graduate certificate in human resources is to elevate your career in a convenient and flexible way. With an online human resources certificate program, you can build your skills and résumé around other commitments, such as work and family.

Course topics covered in HR graduate certificate programs often include:

  • Employee relations
  • Benefits and compensation
  • Employee recruiting and retention
  • Employment practices

Earning a graduate certificate in HR is a strategic way to advance your qualifications and stand out from other candidates.

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Your coursework can also give you an opportunity to study different aspects of human resources and decide if you would prefer a generalist or specialist function within HR. Some specialist HR positions are:

  • Benefits specialists
  • Training specialists
  • Recruiters

Regardless of your title, a graduate certificate in human resources program can help you develop a solid foundation in various HR functions.

Human Resources Careers & Salaries

Human Resources Careers & Salaries

A graduate certificate in HR can help open doors for human resources roles in a variety of industries. Human resources positions can be found in a variety of workplaces ranging from hospitals and manufacturing facilities to schools and government agencies.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are a few positions related to human resources along with their average annual salaries.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Compensation and Benefits Managers $127,530
Human Resources Managers $126,230
Training and Development Managers $120,130
Administrative Services and Facilities Managers
$99,290
Top Executives $98,980
Labor Relations Specialists $77,010
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists $64,120
Human Resources Specialists $62,290
Public Relations Specialists $62,800
Training and Development Specialists $61,570

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many of the positions listed are expected to grow as fast as average over a ten-year span. As the workforce changes, training positions are expected to grow faster than average.

HR Graduate Certificate Curriculum & Courses

HR Graduate Certificate Curriculum

Human resources is a vast field. Just as with an online MBA in Human Resources, online graduate certificates can cover a wide range of topics, helping you gain a solid foundation in HR. Depending on the focus of your certificate program, you may complete courses similar to the ones below:

  • Human Resources Management: This course provides an overview of the functions of a human resources department.
  • Employment Law: This course covers legal topics that impact human resources, including equal pay, overtime, and discrimination policies.
  • Compensation and Benefits: This course examines the design and implementation of successful compensation programs.
  • Recruitment and Staffing: Courses in recruitment and staffing teach how to recruit and interview qualified candidates.
  • Negotiation: This course covers role-playing and a closer examination of human behavior, which can help with developing negotiation skills.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: This course discusses understanding differences and the benefits of diversity.
  • Employee and Labor Relations: This course covers the relationships between managers and the workforce, including contractual and practical relationships.
  • Human Capital and Teams: Courses in human capital management focus on motivating individual performance and designing appropriate reward systems.
  • Human Resource Metrics: Courses in HR metrics can help you learn how to analyze HR data and report on it.
  • Change Management: Change is inevitable in a workplace, and this course can help you learn how to implement and manage change.

Even though the roles for each human resources position can differ, the topics covered in a human resources graduate certificate program can help prepare you for a variety of HR positions.

Graduate Certificates in HR Admissions Requirements

Graduate Certificates in HR Requirements

Admission requirements for online graduate certificate programs in human resources can vary by program, but here are some common criteria across programs:

  • Bachelor’s degree. Holding a bachelor’s degree is often a requirement for admission.
  • GRE or GMAT scores, if needed. A growing number of schools no longer request graduate school entrance exams, but they can still be required.
  • Statement of purpose. Schools may request a statement that explains your interest in their program.
  • Letters of recommendation. A letter of recommendation from a previous professor or employer may be required for admission.

In addition to the above criteria, some schools will request to see your professional experience, and they may invite you to an admissions interview.

HR Certificate Programs Accreditation

HR Certificate Programs Accreditation

Regional accreditation indicates that a program has met a set standard of quality in its offerings. It’s beneficial to consider regional accreditation when searching for certificate programs, especially since it may impact your ability to transfer credits to future graduate programs.

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Many potential employers also consider the accreditation status of schools when evaluating candidates for positions of employment. To learn more about the accreditation status of programs you’re considering, you can check out the US Department of Education’s website.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

HR Certificate Programs financial aid

Graduate certificate programs are not free to attend, but financial aid and scholarship opportunities can help reduce your out-of-pocket costs. To find out what forms of financial aid you may qualify for, you can start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Government aid is generally offered in the form of loans or grants. You may also want to check with your employer when considering graduate certificate programs. Some employers offer tuition assistance for continuing education.

You can also explore scholarship opportunities from your school or other outside organizations.

Human Resources Professional Organizations

Joining a professional organization can lead to networking opportunities and may offer a community of knowledge and support in your human resources role.

Below are a few HR-specific organizations:

Being a member of an organization can also provide opportunities for industry-specific professional development and help you keep up-to-date on legal changes that can impact HR.

What Can You Do with a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources?

HR Graduate Certificate careers

Earning a graduate certificate in HR can help you advance your knowledge and skills in human resources. Holding a graduate certificate in the field can help you qualify for higher-level positions in human resources. It can also be beneficial for professionals in other fields who are interested in transitioning into human resources.

Human resources positions can be found in a variety of industries, offering the flexibility to transition into an HR role even as a professional on a non-HR career path.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Graduate Certificate for Human Resources?

Human Resources Graduate Certificate

Human resources graduate certificate programs typically take 6 months to 1 year to complete when attending full-time. Online graduate certificate programs offer the flexibility to complete your coursework around your life commitments.

The length of time it takes to complete online graduate certificates in human resources can vary depending on the number of courses you complete each term. It can also vary depending on the number of credit hours required by the program.

What’s the Difference between a Human Resources Graduate Certificate vs. Masters Degree?

Both a graduate certificate and a master’s degree can be beneficial in advancing your career in human resources. Here are some key differences between a human resources graduate certificate and a master’s degree.

Human Resources Certificate Human Resources Masters Degree
  • Typically takes 6 months to 1 year to finish
  • Focuses on a single subject or skill within HR
  • Usually costs less than a master’s degree
  • Can prepare you for career advancement or change
  • Typically takes 1 to 2 years to finish
  • Focuses on mastering HR principles and skills
  • Can be a prerequisite for some roles
  • Can prepare you for doctoral studies

There may be overlap between coursework in a human resources graduate certificate and a masters degree in human resources. It’s often helpful to consider your goals when deciding which academic program is best for you.

What’s the Difference between a Human Resource Certification vs. Certificate?

Human Resource Certification vs. Certificate

Here are the main differences between becoming a certified HR professional and earning a graduate certificate in human resources:

  • HR certification: A professional certification is often awarded by an industry organization and requires passing an exam. There are many different HR certifications you can pursue, each with varying work experience and education requirements.
  • HR certificate: You can earn a graduate certificate by completing the required college credit hours. Certificate programs are offered at postsecondary schools, and they can help you grow your knowledge in a human resources specialization.

Both a human resources certification and a graduate certificate can help you demonstrate your HR expertise. Some certificate programs are even designed to help you prepare for designated certification exams.

Is a Human Resource Graduate Certificate Worth It?

Yes, a human resource graduate certificate is worth it for many students.

There is a demand for human resources professionals. Job prospects are increasing, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 10% job growth for human resource specialists over the next ten years. Management positions overall are expected to see 9% job growth.

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As the workforce continues to transform, human resources professionals will continue to be in demand. There will still be a need for recruiters, training specialists, and compensation and benefits managers to ensure a prepared, supported, and justly compensated workforce.

Online HR graduate certificate programs can help professionals advance their knowledge and strengthen their skills.

Universities Offering Online Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Belhaven University

Belhaven University campus

Belhaven University’s Graduate Certificate in Human Resources online program focuses heavily on both fundamental concepts and the application of those concepts. It aims to equip students to hit the ground running in the rapidly expanding field of human resources.

The program consists of 15 credits. All classes are 7 weeks long and can be completed fully online.

Belhaven University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Carlow University

Carlow University campus

Carlow University understands that the field of human resources constantly changes as workforce and employer needs shift. Its Graduate Certificate in Human Resources program aims to equip students with the skills needed to navigate this evolving discipline.

Courses can be taken in person or online, and the program can typically be completed in just 24 weeks.

Carlow University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Champlain College

Champlain College campus

Human resource professionals hoping to demonstrate their skills and subject-matter expertise and move into leadership roles may find an excellent fit at Champlain College. The school’s Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management program aims to help students succeed in HR.

Because the program’s classes are fully online, students have constant access to their coursework, allowing them to complete courses on their own schedule.

Champlain College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University campus

Central Michigan University offers a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Administration. The program is designed to prepare graduates for leadership roles in complex organizations where they will be responsible for developing safe and compliant workplaces.

This 15 credit, part-time program is fully online and can potentially be completed in just one year.

Central Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Colorado State University

Colorado State University campus

Students seeking to invest in their professional future may find an excellent fit in Colorado State University’s online Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management program. It consists of 12 credit hours that can be completed at students’ convenience.

Courses include Managing Human Resources, Maximizing Human Capital, and Staffing and Talent Development.

Colorado State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Husson University

Husson University campus

Husson University believes an organization finds its value in its people, making the human resources field essential to the vitality of any business.

Students completing the school’s 10 month Graduate Certificate in HR Management will find a variety of online courses available, allowing them to cater their education to their career goals.

Husson University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University campus

Oklahoma State University offers a 15 credit program for a Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management. It covers talent acquisition, employment law, human resource analytics, and other important topics in HR.

The program offers the flexibility of online or in-person courses. Its goal is to provide students with the tools needed to successfully manage the full employment lifecycle and further their own careers.

Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University campus

Pennsylvania State University’s Graduate Certificate in Human Resources and Employment Relations program focuses on international management. Globalization has made this a vital area of study for all HR professionals, even those at domestic organizations.

In the program’s 12 credit curriculum, students have the opportunity to learn essential skills while completing flexible, fully online coursework.

Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Purdue University

Purdue University campus

Purdue University’s Graduate Certificate in Human Resources online program is intended to prepare students for a variety of mid-level human resource roles. It covers employment law, professional development, talent acquisition, and other HR concepts.

The program is full-time and 7 months long, during which students typically commit about 20 hours per week to their studies.

Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University campus

Southern New Hampshire University offers a 12 credit Graduate Certificate in HR Management. The program’s six courses are offered fully online. It is often a great choice for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field or hold a business degree and wish to earn advanced credentials.

Students working toward a master’s in HR often find this certificate program beneficial as well.

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University campus

The Advanced Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management program at Stony Brook University consists of five online courses worth 3 credits each. The curriculum covers key topics in HR, such as employee relations, employment law and policy, diversity, and data analytics.

The program aims to prepare graduates to take on human resource management roles and direct key policy decisions across a variety of fields.

Stony Brook University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global campus

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers a 12 credit Certificate in Foundations of Human Resource Management program. It is designed to give students management-level experience and set them up for success in leadership roles across a variety of industries.

Courses include Employee and Labor Relations, Intercultural Communication and Leadership, and Organizational Development and Change.

The University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Virginia

University of Virginia campus

Students ready for the next step in their career may find an ideal fit in the University of Virginia’s Leadership in Human Resources Management Certificate program.

This program is offered fully online. The core curriculum consists of four classes, after which students choose an elective in Talent Management, Transformational Leadership, or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

The University of Virginia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Walden University

Walden University campus

Walden University’s Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management program is centered on developing a new generation of innovative and transformational HR professionals.

The 12 credit program aims to teach students how to lead organizational success. It covers topics such as HR analytics, law and regulations, employee development, and performance management.

Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

West Chester University

West Chester University campus

The Human Resource Management Certificate program at West Chester University covers topics such as change management, labor relations, ethics, and workforce planning.

The program is intended for professionals in a variety of industries, including those without former HR backgrounds. It can be completed 100% online, typically in 6 to 12 months part-time.

West Chester University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Getting Your Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Online

Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Online

If you are interested in helping to recruit, hire, train, and advocate for employees, you may want to consider getting your graduate certificate in human resource online. If you decide to go for a degree, a number of universities offer online human resources degree programs in addition to graduate certificates.

With a graduate certificate in HR, you may be able to qualify for more senior or leadership positions.

Some professionals go on to work as recruiters, human resources managers, training managers, or employee relations managers. Career opportunities are plentiful, lucrative, and span a variety of industries.

A graduate certificate in HR can boost your qualifications and help set you apart from other candidates.

If you’re interested in continuing your education, you can start exploring accredited schools to discover the many certificate programs available online.

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Joy Cromwelle
WRITTEN BY
Joy Cromwelle
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration. Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.