2023 Best Online Human Resources Certificate Programs [Undergraduate]

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Boost your career with an online human resources certificate. Gain essential skills, advance in HR, and enhance your resume. Find the best programs for 2023.

Obtaining an online human resources certificate can be a strategic way to advance your career or develop a sense of the field.

Best Online Human Resources Certificate Programs

HR professionals often enjoy a challenge and are integral members of a company’s team. They solve problems, work together with others, and keep up with changing laws and regulations.

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If you are interested in the field of HR, earning a certificate in human resource can help you build on your skills and boost your resume.

Online Human Resources Certificate Programs

Online Human Resources Certificate Programs

Human resources departments oversee all aspects of the employee experience. They handle processes such as hiring, compensation, benefits, and termination. It’s also HR’s responsibility to ensure that a company is adhering to all legal guidelines and corporate policies.

Having a strong human resources department is an essential part of any business. Keeping employees safe and happy creates an enjoyable work environment and helps a company avoid legal troubles.

An online human resource certificate is a quicker option than earning a college degree. Over a short period of time, you can learn essential knowledge and skills to begin or continue a career in HR. Over the course of your human resources certificate online program, you may study:

  • Staffing
  • Talent development
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Labor relations
  • Organizational behavior

Your coursework can help you develop a strong understanding of the different components of human resources. While most people who earn a human resources certificate go on to a professional position within the field of HR, there are a variety of roles available.

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Some common careers related to human resources are:

  • Human resources specialists
  • Human resources assistants
  • Training and development specialists
  • Information clerks

You might consider pursuing an online human resources certificate if you’re a working professional or want to begin a career in HR. There are certificate programs that cater to workers who are eager to advance into leadership positions, while other programs help students qualify for entry-level HR positions.

A drive to help others and strong interpersonal skills can help you succeed in the field of human resources.

An HR program can help you cultivate those traits. Because these traits are important in many different careers, you may also find yourself prepared for roles outside of HR after completing your program.

Human Resources Careers & Salaries

Human Resources Careers & Salaries

While many roles within HR require a bachelor’s degree, an online certificate in human resources can be a beneficial supplement to a degree. It can also help you refresh your existing HR skills or help you gain advanced skills if you’re currently working in the field.

It may be worth noting that some universities do offer an online degree in human resources in addition to the online certificate. Some universities also offer an online graduate certificate in human resources for students needing a more advanced option.

On its own, a certificate in human resources can help you qualify for assistant and clerk positions. Continued experience and additional education could then help you advance your career over time.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some common careers associated with the field of human resources:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Compensation and Benefits Managers $127,530
Human Resources Managers $126,230
Training and Development Managers $120,130
Labor Relations Specialists $77,010
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists $64,120
Human Resources Specialists $62,290
Training and Development Specialists $61,570
Human Resources Assistants $45,630
Financial Clerks $44,760
Information Clerks $37,450

Obtaining your certificate in HR online can help you advance your expertise in this in-demand field. While many people find that earning a human resources certificate can help propel their career forward, a high-paying position or specific title is never guaranteed.

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Where you live, your previous work experience, and your level of education can all impact your salary and professional qualifications.

HR Certificates Curriculum & Courses

HR Certificates Curriculum

Every certificate for human resources will have a unique curriculum, but here are some typical courses you may come across:

  • Employee Relations: This class discusses the fundamental laws protecting employees, including anti-discrimination laws, and how to be successful at overseeing and participating in employee relations.
  • Workforce Planning and Analytics: This course focuses on utilizing data to make decisions and to encourage an increase in overall achievement.
  • Training and Staff Development: This course explores various skills and tools needed to encourage career growth in staff members, covering topics such as creating assessments and outlining objectives.
  • Human Resource Essentials: This course is an overview of the basics of human resources, including frequently used terms and abbreviations and essential skills.
  • Strategic HR Management: This class explores the different ways to use a company’s vision or mission statement to inform the creation of policies and lead employees.
  • Total Rewards: This course explores topics related to compensation and benefits, including tax laws, accounting practices, and pay structures.
  • HR Risk Management: This class discusses risk management as it pertains to the workplace, exploring different ways to ensure employees are safe and companies are protected from potential legal issues.
  • HR Case Studies: Using real-world examples, this class will give you the opportunity to practice examining scenarios, identifying challenges, and creating a corresponding plan of action.
  • Human Resource Development: This course discusses how to create and assess training programs and ensure they are following legal guidelines.
  • Workforce Planning and Employment: This course covers how to plan and implement different programs, such as orientation plans and retention programs, that can help a company reach its goals.

Courses like these found in HR certificate programs are designed to help prepare you for entry-level jobs or career advancement in the field of human resources.

How to Know If an Online HR Certificate Program Is Right for You

human resources certificate program online

There are many reasons why you might be considering an online human resources certificate program. While many of these reasons will be personal to you, here are some helpful factors to consider as you make your decision:

  • Your prior HR training. If you don’t have training specific to HR, it could be helpful to gain specialized knowledge and skills in a certificate program, even if you are already employed in a human resources position.
  • Cost of HR programs. Completing an HR certificate is often a cheaper option than earning a four-year degree at a college or university. Depending on your financial situation, this may be a more appealing option for you.
  • Career or position change. If you are thinking about changing your career or moving into a new position at your company, a certificate in human resources can help you make the transition. You can learn the skills necessary for your new role, and a certificate in HR may help you stand out to your current boss or future employers.

Additional factors—such as re-entering the workforce after time away or finding availability within your current schedule—may also impact your choice to obtain an HR certificate.

Admissions Requirements

HR Certificate Program admissions

Human resources certificate programs typically differ from traditional degree programs in their admissions requirements. They usually have only a few select requirements, but they might ask for:

  • SAT or ACT scores (if required)
  • High school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation

Online certificate programs are generally most interested in your work experience and official transcripts. Since every certificate program is different, it’s beneficial to check the requirements for each program before applying.

Human Resources Certificate Programs Accreditation

Human Resources Certificate Programs Accreditation

In an effort to ensure that an educational program is on par with national and industry standards, colleges and universities can elect to partake in an accreditation review process. Members from an accrediting agency will review a school’s educational materials as well as its facilities, staff, and funding.

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Holding a certificate from a regionally accredited university can demonstrate to future employers that you received a high-quality education that’s up to industry standards. Attending an accredited school can also be an eligibility factor for some forms of financial aid.    

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Human Resources Certificate Programs financial aid

Financial aid and scholarships provide an opportunity for students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds to attend college.

If you are looking for financial help in your college journey, you may be eligible for state or federal financial aid. Government aid is distributed on an as-needed basis, and the amount you are eligible for is determined by several factors.

You can find out how much federal financial aid you qualify for by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Scholarship opportunities and employer tuition reimbursement programs differ between various organizations and companies. Many schools offer a variety of scholarships with different eligibility criteria.

What Can You Do with a Human Resources Certificate?

Human Resources Certificate

Obtaining a human resources certificate online can help you qualify for a range of professional positions within HR. Additionally, you may be prepared for roles outside of HR that require strong interpersonal skills, such as coaching or counseling.

Many graduates of HR certificate programs go on to become human resources assistants or specialists, depending on their experience and education level. Others go on to become specialists in training and development or in benefits and compensation.

Because nearly all businesses rely on a strong human resources department to function, there is great demand for professionals in this area of study.

How Long Does It Take to Get an HR Certificate Online?

HR Certificate Online

HR certificate programs typically take 6 months to 1 year to complete, depending on the school and program you select. There are several different types of HR certificate programs available, all with varying credit hours and course requirements.

Additionally, many human resources online certificate programs offer a self-paced option. This means that you can work through the material more quickly. You can also stretch it out over a longer period of time, as long as you finish within the allotted time slot.

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

A human resources certification is different from a certificate program in human resources.

Human Resources Certification Human Resources Certificate
  • Professional credentials that are often awarded by industry associations
  • Usually involves studying materials and passing an exam
  • Demonstrates professional competency in specific HR specialization or skill
    • Academic course of study offered by colleges
    • Involves completing college credit hours and coursework requirements
    • Provides an introduction to essential HR knowledge and skills

    Despite their differences, both a certification and a certificate in human resources can help boost your resume and provide evidence of proficiency in the field of HR.

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

    A human resources certificate requires much less of a time commitment than a human resources degree, although both can prove valuable.

    Human Resources Certificate Human Resources Degree
    • Typically completed between 6 months to 1 year
    • Only includes HR-related courses
    • May transfer into a degree program
    • Typically completed in 2 to 4 years, depending on the degree
    • Includes general education courses and HR courses
    • May lead to more job opportunities

    If you have prior experience in HR, a certificate can help you demonstrate your passion for your work and your desire to improve your skills.

    Is a Human Resources Certificate Worth It?

    Human Resources careers

    Yes, a human resources certificate is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists many of the occupations related to human resources, such as human resources specialists, as experiencing employment growth as fast as the national average.

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    Since most companies need an HR department, the field of human resources also offers the potential for reliable employment. Obtaining a human resources certificate does not guarantee a specific position, but it can help you enhance your HR knowledge and expertise.

    Universities Offering Online 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.

    Cornell University

    Cornell University campus

    Cornell University’s Human Resources Certificate program gives students the opportunity to choose a focus in one of several specialties to cater their education toward specific career goals. Options include Leadership, Management, Diversity and Inclusion, Employment Law, and Talent Acquisition.

    The length of the certificate depends on the specialty, though most consist of four to nine 2 week courses that are taken online.

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

    Florida Atlantic University

    Florida Atlantic University campus

    The Human Resource Certificate program at Florida Atlantic University consists of 14 in-person or online sessions, for a total of 42 hours. It is designed to prepare graduates to serve as integral members in their fields.

    The program covers key concepts in human resources, such as personnel selection, training and development, and employee relations.

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

    Florida International University

    Florida International University campus

    Florida International University offers a self-paced, fully online program for a Certificate in Human Resources that can typically be completed in only 4 months.

    This program is often an ideal fit for human resource beginners with 0 to 3 years of experience in the field. It addresses essential topics in human resources, like recruitment, employee benefits, Equal Employment Opportunity, and training.

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

    Grand View University

    Grand View University campus

    Students wishing to learn the core competencies for a career in human resources may find a good fit in Grand View University’s Human Resource Management Certificate program.

    The six courses that comprise this certificate program can be completed fully online and cover a variety of topics, from compensation and benefits to business ethics.

    Grand View University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    Lake Washington Institute of Technology

    Lake Washington Institute of Technology campus

    Lake Washington Institute of Technology offers a Human Resource Management Certificate program. It aims to help students gain the knowledge needed to support and develop their employees and act as leaders in their professions.

    The program consists of 14 courses that can be taken in person, online, or in a hybrid format, depending on students’ individual needs and quarterly class schedule offerings.

    Lake Washington Institute of Technology is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

    Northeastern State University

    Northeastern State University

    The Certificate in Human Resource Management program at Northeastern State University is open for enrollment year-round and consists of 21 hours’ worth of instruction.

    The program covers topics such as benefits, performance management, career development, and data management. It aims to give both novices and experienced human resource workers the knowledge needed to succeed in the field.

    Northeastern State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    Oregon State University

    Oregon State University campus

    Oregon State University’s Human Resource Management Certificate program is fully online and typically requires a weekly commitment of 3 to 8 hours over 10 months. It aims to provide students with the flexibility needed to further their careers.

    The program covers the essential elements of human resource roles and how they integrate into the greater function of an organization.

    Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

    Rhodes State College

    Rhodes State College campus

    The Human Resource Management Certificate program at Rhodes State College is designed to give its graduates an edge in the diverse and competitive field of human resources.

    The program is designed for those interested in working in HR in general or those wishing to specialize in management, labor relations, or recruiting. It is 100% online and can typically be finished in two semesters.

    Rhodes State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    San Diego State University

    San Diego State University campus

    San Diego State University’s fully online Certificate in Human Resource Management program aims to help students launch or further their careers in HR.

    The program can typically be completed in a year. Courses cover key competencies for HR professionals, including talent acquisition, safety management, diversity and inclusion, and organizational behavior.

    San Diego State University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

    Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University campus

    Southern New Hampshire University offers a Certificate in HR Management program. It aims to help students develop the knowledge needed to succeed in the rapidly expanding field of human resources.

    The program requires the completion of 18 credits. The curriculum covers topics such as organizational behavior, employee and labor relations, and leadership. Students are often able to use credits earned from the program toward an associate or bachelor’s degree.

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

    St. Joseph’s College

    St Josephs College campus

    St. Joseph’s College offers a Human Resource Certificate that can be earned online or in person. It consists of 15 course credits designed to provide the foundational knowledge needed for a career in human resources.

    The program covers staffing strategy, training and development, and personnel law and ultimately aims to teach how to support future employers’ organizational effectiveness.

    St. Joseph’s College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    University of California – Berkeley

    University of California Berkeley campus

    The University of California—Berkeley offers a program for a Certificate in Human Resource Management. It focuses on equipping students to serve as strategic partners in the ever-changing needs of workforces.

    The program consists of 8 semester credits and covers key skills in data analytics, employee engagement, and the navigation of regulatory and technical restrictions.

    The University of California – Berkeley is accredited by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges.

    University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus

    The University of Illinois—Urbana Champaign allows students pursuing their Certificate in Human Resources to customize their education by offering several tracks to choose from. Students can specialize in Data Analytics, Management, Compensation, or HR Fundamentals.

    All tracks require the completion of 12 credit hours total and usually take between 7 to 10 months to complete.

    The University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    University of Washington

    University of Washington campus

    The University of Washington believes HR professionals are at the core of how well businesses function. The school’s Human Resources Certificate program aims to help students excel in all aspects of their HR careers.

    The certificate program is offered in online and in-person formats and spans 8 months. It covers topics such as recruiting, staff training, and development and enforcement of policies.

    The University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

    Villanova University

    Villanova University campus

    Villanova University offers a fully online program for a Certificate in Human Resources Management that consists of 3 courses.

    The program covers the foundational knowledge needed to understand and support key organizational functions, from workforce planning to personnel skills development. It is also intended to prepare graduates for certified and senior certified professional exams.

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

    Getting Your Human Resource Certificate Online

    Human Resource Certificate Online

    Human resources certificates are a strategic way for working professionals to advance their skills and qualifications. Certificate programs can also open up opportunities for those who are just getting started in the field of human resources.

    If you are a strategic thinker who enjoys helping the people around you grow and develop, then a human resources certificate might be a beneficial next step in your career.

    You can start researching online HR certificate programs from accredited schools today to find the one that best fits your timeline, budget, and professional needs.

    Ready to start your journey?
    Molly holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of San Francisco and a B.A in Literature from the University of California - Santa Cruz. A Seattle-based educator, she focuses on student-centered instruction and creating culturally responsive curriculum.