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The 20 Best HR Certification Courses For 2023

HR certification and courses are helpful in any management position, not just the Human Resources department.

Taking courses gives you tools to broaden your management abilities no matter what area of the company you work in. While bigger companies tend to have at least an HR manager, having a good understanding of HR within your department is a benefit as well.

In this article, I’ll explain the best online human resources certificate and courses available to support your department and give you additional tools to be a great manager.

1. HRCI Certification

HRCI certification is one of the top credentialing organizations when it comes to human resource professional standards. Their courses and examinations set a standard for HR rigor and excellence in the field and in flagging people with HR expertise. They have been in the business of teaching HR for more than 40 years and are one of the most respected organizations that offer professional certifications. The courses offered are for those who are just starting out in the field, those who want to upgrade their skills, and those who want to learn about a particular area of HR. They cover all the topics that you need to attain certification or simply take on a basis of interest.

  • Price: Begins at $149 per course
  • Duration: Variable
  • Exam Required: Yes, for most certificates
  • Online, In-Person, or both? Both
  • How many hours of instruction: Various
  • Eligibility Requirements: None - most beginner courses are open to all

2. SHRM Certification

The SHRM certification is meant to enhance an individual's effectiveness in the workplace and move their careers forward while networking with other business leaders. SHRM focuses on helping students understand that effective people management is needed to make sure the company and employees who are hired are on the same page and have similar goals. Students learn how to apply the knowledge gained in courses to their workplace so they can be part of a team to enhance and support the company’s goals.

  • Price: Begins at $500 for exams
  • Duration: Variable
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?  Depends on timing
  • How many hours of instruction: Various as you can take courses elsewhere before the exam
  • Eligibility Requirements: None - variable depending on which stream you are in

3. George Brown College

The college offers human resources certification programs aimed at those who are already at the management level. It was created to assist those who are already working on the administration side of HR in an effort to expand and upgrade their skills. It is also a great course if you are aiming to move up in management as a human resource professional and are just beginning that process.

  • Price: $319 per module (10 modules) 
  • Duration: 6 weeks per module
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?  In-Person
  • How many hours of instruction:  36 per module
  • Eligibility Requirements:  HRM 1031 Human Resources Management 

4. Certificate in Human Resources Management 

This course is designed by York University for students to gain a good understanding of concepts in HR while accessing networks of professionals. You can study this HR certificate program while balancing both your professional and personal lives, learning the core competencies of the HR professional as set out by the Human Resources Professional Association. A quality human resources certification program for all who want to improve their standing in the field without having to take time off from work to do the course work.

  • Price: $6,921
  • Duration:  2 years
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?  Online
  • How many hours of instruction:  9 courses – flexible timing
  • Eligibility Requirements:  1-year college or university – general qualifications to be admitted to the University.

5. Human Resources Certificate Program  

Cornell University offers numerous courses in Human Resources that allow you to obtain full certification or take courses one at a time. The university combines the insights and real-world input of academic researchers grounded in reality and have been utilized in the real world. These courses are meant for those who are new to HR as well as those who are accomplished in the field. There is something for every career.

  • Price: $5,400
  • Duration:  4.5 months – 2 weeks per course
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?  Online
  • How many hours of instruction:  3-5 hours per week
  • Eligibility Requirements: Global professionals, line-level HR professionals 0-5 years, those who want to be in the field. 

6. Human Resource Management

This is one of the top Human Resource Management programs available online. Golden State University offers courses where students learn to understand and deal with the problems and situations that are coming up in an ever changing human resources industry. You also learn good personnel management techniques and people analytics along with organizational structures and skill sets. You gain firsthand experience from the best teachers available. The options for accessing the courses are flexible but the timelines are set. Make sure you have the time to dedicate to these professional-level courses.

  • Price: $600 per course – 15 courses for certification
  • Duration:  1 term
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?  It can be done online or in San Francisco if you are local.
  • How many hours of instruction:  Various depending on the module
  • Eligibility Requirements: Various depending on the module. Some have prerequisites.

7. Human Capital Institute

Based in Cincinnati, Ohio the Human Capital Institute delivers Certification programs and Conferences virtually worldwide. They have 3 core beliefs: that the greatest accelerator of organisational success is in aligning human capital with business strategy; that businesses with aligned human capital strategy outperform others; and to enable organisations to do this, Human Resources and talent management professionals must have the right strategic skill sets and mindsets. 

The Human Capital Institute has a number of offerings that allow you to gain new skills, get certificatied, attend virtual conferences and webcasts, as well as corporate solutions for your HR teams. 

  • Price: Ranges from $1,195 to $2,795
  • Duration:  Most are delivered in Half Day sessions over 4 to 6 weeks
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?  Both
  • How many hours of instruction:  Depending on the program 
  • Eligibility Requirements: None, all courses are open to everyone 

8. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

CIPD is a 100 year old professional body for the experts in people at work. Their work involves setting professional standards for HR and people development and driving positive change in the world of work. CIPD offers membership-based access to more than just certification programs but also a community, wellbeing helpline services, and employment law support. Courses are focused on practical operational know-how and high-level strategic insight, among others.

  • Price: Membership ranges from £98 for students, to £260 for Affiliate
  • Duration: Go at your own pace, lessons are downloadable course workbooks 
  • Exam Required: Unknown
  • Online, In-Person, or both?  Online
  • How many hours of instruction:  Flexible access, some just taking 30-45 minutes per lesson
  • Eligibility Requirements: None openly stated on the website 

9. International Association for Human Resources Information Management

IHRIM has been around since 1980, helping both novice and experienced HR professionals adapt to technological revolutions in the HR landscape. Through IHRIM, you can earn the Human Resource Information Professional Certification (HRIP). The HRIP is designed to help HR professionals build their credibility, demonstrate their expertise, and send a message that you are knowledgeable and committed to quality.

  • Price: Depending on your membership status, fees range from $445 to $790
  • Duration: Exam Review Courses are scheduled and last 3 weeks
  • Exam Required: Yes, via recorded proctoring via webcam
  • Online, In-Person, or both? Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 75 minutes per session, 6 sessions in total
  • Eligibility Requirements: None, but 3-5 years of experience in HR technology solutions and/or management is recommended 

10. McMaster Human Resources Management Program

McMaster University offers a comprehensive human resources program that includes 4 3-course certificates and 1 diploma program. Many courses are approved by the Human Resources Professional Association and can be applied towards a CHRP or CHRL certification. 

Certificates are offered in a virtual classroom format and help build skills HR management, talent planning and acquisition, workplace health and safety, and intercultural competency and communication. Work towards your CHRP and CHRL designations while building confidence and forming valuable network connections all through virtual learning or online self-study.  

  • Price: $59 non-refundable application fee + $700-800 per course
  • Duration: Each certificate consists of 3 courses (3.0 units each) and can be completed in approx. 4 months.
  • Exam Required: No
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction:  approx. 36 hours per course
  • Eligibility Requirements: Have an O.S.S. Diploma or be a mature student

11. Calgary University Human Resources Management Certificate

The Human Resources Management Certificate at University of Calgary offers 300 hours of instruction with 3 core courses and up to 13 additional optional credits, all culminating in a certificate. Perfect for those looking for a foundation in HR or who are preparing for the CHRP designation. 

The program offers a variety of optional courses such as conflict management, employee benefits, and building a positive workplace that can help you specialize and steer your interest in a direction best suited for your career.

  • Price: $105 application fee + $5400 tuition fees
  • Duration: Complete certificate in approx. 4 months to 1 year, you may enrol in single courses
  • Exam Required: Unknown
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction:  300 hours
  • Eligibility Requirements: 18 years of age and have your Grade 12 diploma
Course Certification

12. Simon Fraser Human Resources Management Certificate

Simon Fraser University offers a 9-course certificate is accredited by CPHR British Columbia and Yukon. Successful grads of this program, who earn a min GPA of 70%, can apply to be exempt from writing the National Knowledge Exam, the first step towards earning the Canadian National HR designation the CPHR.

The completed certificate can also be applied to the Graduate Diploma in Business Administration at SFU Beedie School of Business, no undergraduate degree required. 

  • Price: $75 program application fee + $749 per course
  • Duration: 8 weeks (7-10 hours per week)
  • Exam Required: Unknown
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction:  36 hours per course
  • Eligibility Requirements: Grade 12 diploma or at least 5 years of work experience

13. TMU Human Resources Management Certificate

TMU offers a 6 course Human Resource Mangement Certificate through the Chang School of Continuing Education. The majority of the courses offered by this certificate are exempted by the CHRP and can be applied directly to your designation. The certificate consists of 2 core courses and 4 optional courses that offer a practical approach to HR management focussing on diversity and inclusivity, training, and HR strategy. 

  • Price: $75 program application fee + $500-700 per course
  • Duration: 6 courses can be completed in approx. 4 months to a 1 year
  • Exam Required: Unknown
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online and in-person
  • How many hours of instruction: 36-40 hours per course
  • Eligibility Requirements: Grade 12 diploma with 6 M or U credits or mature student status, cumulative GP of 1.67

14. Human Resource Management Graduate Certificate 

Established in 1988, this program is the only one of its kind in Canada. Perfect for those wanting to learn about all aspects of human resources and who are interested in pursuing a field placement or internship. Humber offers comprehensive core courses that are recognized by the HRPA and can be applied to the HRPA designation. Study with HR specialized faculty who focus on hands on applications and have a track record of guiding students towards successful work placements and careers. 

The program also has a rich network of professionals and mentorship programs via the IGS Industry and the Community Connector Hub which connects students with the career resources they need. 

  • Price: $440 program application fee + $5966.40 tuition per year
  • Duration: 3 semesters
  • Exam Required: Unknown
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online and in-person
  • How many hours of instruction: 36-40 hours per course
  • Eligibility Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree

15. The Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR)

AIHR offers an entire online library of HR certification programs and courses. The academy offers a specialized full program that allows students to choose unlimited, multiple certifications to be completed during an extended period of time or you can choose to hone in on one specialty area and earn your certification in subjects such as Strategic HR Leadership, Digital HR and HR Metrics and Dashboarding.

The AIHR focusses on developing T-shaped professionals through 4 requirements: data literacy, digital integration, business acumen, and people advocacy. 

  • Price: $997 USD per course or $1,797 USD to enrol in Academy
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Exam Required: Unknown
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 30-40 hours per certification program
  • Eligibility Requirements: No experience needed

16. Talent Management Practitioner by the Talent Management Institute

Known as the world’s largest certification institute for specifically talent management, if you know you want to specialize in talent management, this could be a good choice for you. The program offers three different credentials, TMP (Talent Management Practitioner), STMP (Senior Talent Management Practioner) and GTML (Global Talent Mangement Leader) that are all globally recognized as talent management certifications. 

  • Price: $625 USD
  • Duration: 180 days
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction: Self-paced and self-study
  • Eligibility Requirements: Dependant on application

17. Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD)

This certification offered by the Association for Talent and Development (ADT) and is geared toward more developed business professionals. The courses follow the Talent Development Capability Model developed by the ADT which focusses on personal, professional and organizational capabilities. You must apply through the website for the exam and to access study materials. 

  • Price: $975 USD for members and $1350 USD for non-members. 
  • Duration: 3 hour exam
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction: Self-paced
  • Eligibility Requirements: 5 years of related work experience and 60 hours of professional development 

18. Sheridan College Human Resource Management Certificate

Sheridan College offers a Human Resources certificate that offers two exam prep courses that can be used as a pre-cursor to the CHRP and CHRL designation exam. The course begins with 2 introductory courses, followed by 9 compulsory modules in finance, analytics and occupational health and safety.

  • Price: ~$300 per module.
  • Duration: 4 months to 1 year
  • Exam Required: Unknown
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online and in-person
  • How many hours of instruction: 30-40 hours per course
  • Eligibility Requirements: Unknown

19. Mastering Talent Management: Recruiting, Retaining and Rewarding A+ Talent

This program offered by Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania is unique in that they have developed an HR study model that focusses on whole organizations instead of individual outcomes. If you are a C-level human resources professional who has aspirations of becoming a CEO, or working in an executive position, this course will help you to upgrade your skills and apply concepts in a experiential format. 

  • Price: $2,600 USD
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Exam Required: No
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 4-6 hours per week
  • Eligibility Requirements: Years of experience working in an HR or business field

20. University of Toronto Human Resources Program

University of Toronto offers a human resources program and 3 certificates in Human Resources, Human Resources Management Essentials and Managing, Investigating, and Resolving Workplace Harrassment Complaints. Some courses fulfill credits for CHRP and CHRL designations and are taught online as well as in-person. Go at your own pace and enrol in individual courses or choose a full program of study. 

  • Price: $795 per course
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Exam Required: Unknown
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: In-person and Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 30-40 hours per course
  • Eligibility Requirements: Unknown

Final Thoughts

Whether you are interested in taking one course or a full set for a human resource management certificate, you can find many to suit your needs. If you want to build your knowledge base before an exam at the HR Certification Institute, there are courses for all levels. The HRCI offers SPHR certification for those more senior, recertification, and basic certification as well for those newer to the field. 

For further insight into the HR field and information that might interest you, sign up for The People Managing People newsletter. You will find lots of interesting reading, support, and advice in the field of Human Resources.

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By Finn Bartram

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