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The 25 Best HR Certification Courses 2023

HR certifications and courses are a great way to gain skills and knowledge, try out potential new career paths, and connect with the wider community.

They can be helpful for anyone in a management position, not just the human resources department.

In this article, we've compiled a list of the best certifications you can take to provide more value to your organization and progress in your career.

25 Best HR Certificates and Courses

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.

HRCI has 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.

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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 certified, 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 they're 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 in 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 enroll 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 Management 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 focusing 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 an 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 focuses 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) which 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), 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

The 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

21. University of Pittsburgh HR Law Certification Program

This program is designed to help you gain a deeper understanding of the laws and regulations that govern HR, as well as best practices and practical applications of in a rapidly changing legal landscape.

The course is taught by the Pitt Law faculty, all practicing employment lawyers, who will help you explore current issues and emerging trends in human resource law and how to address issues when they arise.

Students are offered the flexibility to work to their own timelines and network with peers through the online learning platform.

A great course for those who want to gain a deeper understanding of HR laws and regulations. Most use this to supplement graduate degrees but, as far as we can see, this isn’t a requirement.

  • Price: On request
  • Duration: 10 months
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction: ~1 day per week
  • Eligibility Requirements: None

22. Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) from World At Work

Becoming a certified compensation professional will open up a lot of career opportunities for you.

World at work’s certification is widely recognized and is aimed at mid-level HR professionals who want to improve their knowledge and compensation issues and best practices.

There are a total of 10 courses and exams that one must complete to gain full certification, which does add up, so it’s worth asking if your organization will cover some of it.

  • Price: $13,500 (members), $19,290 (non-members)
  • Duration: 10 courses and exams
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Both
  • How many hours of instruction: 160 hours +
  • Eligibility Requirements: None

23. Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS)

 This course from Wharton and Dalhousie University is the most respected in the benefits industry. 

It’s aimed at HR professionals who want to gain a deep understanding of benefits administration and double down on that as their career path.

The program consists of five courses covering ​​​directing benefits​ programs, strategic benefits management and directing retirement plans, and you'll gain both the Group Benefits Association (GBA) and Retirement Plans Association (RPA) along the way.

All the material is available online and learners also have access to an online study group with instructor support. Reports are it’s a tough one to pass, but worth the investment, so buckle up!

  • Price: ~$5,000
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online
  • How many hours of instruction: N/A
  • Eligibility Requirements: None

24. People Analytics Certification from HR University

Being able to collect, interpret, and present data is a strategic skill if you want to become an HR leader. This people analytics certification from HR University covers basic statistics, HR metrics, data collection, survey creation, using Excel software, and HR dashboard creation. 

You’ll have access to over 90 videos and 15 classes and be given materials, like templates and Excel sheets, you can use in your organization.

  • Price: $349
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Exam Required: Unknown
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Online 
  • How many hours of instruction: 4hours/week
  • Eligibility Requirements: None

25. Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Credential

Part of being an HR practitioner, especially a senior one, is mentoring and coaching junior team members, managers, and leadership.

This certification from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) will help you hone your coaching skills and signal that you are dedicated to upholding strong principles of ethical behavior in coaching.

To pass you need to complete at least 60 hours of coaching education through an ICF-approved program and gain a minimum of 100 hours of coaching experience. There’s an exam at the end, too.

  • Price: $175 (members), $325 (non-members)
  • Duration: 160 hours
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?: Both
  • How many hours of instruction: N/A
  • Eligibility Requirements: demonstrate 10 hours of mentorship coaching


Is taking an HR certification worth it?

While taking an HR certification isn’t necessarily a necessity, and plenty of people progress without one, an investment in your own development is never a bad thing. Taking an HR certification will help you to:

  • Gain new knowledge and skills to add more value to your organization
  • Determine whether you’re really interested in something or not
  • Network with other like-minded professionals
  • Challenge yourself
  • Demonstrate dedication to current and future employers.

Which are the most common HR certifications?

The three most common are the certifications from SHRM, CIPD, and HRCI, but they’re quite hefty. You can always take smaller, more targeted certifications to dip your two and get specialist skills. 

Which HR certifications pay the most?

This is tough to say as there are so many factors that go into compensation (take the certification to find out!). Some research conducted back in 2018 indicates that the coaching certification gives the highest percentage pay boost followed by the senior and global courses from HRCI.

Further resources

The above list covers a broad range of certifications to help you progress in your careers as an HR professional. 

Some further lists we compiled that are a bit more niche:

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By Finn Bartram

Finn is editor-in-chief at People Managing People. He's passionate about growing organizations where people are empowered to continuously improve and genuinely enjoy coming to work. If not at his desk, you can find him playing sports or enjoying the great outdoors.

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