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13 Best Compensation Courses For HR, Business Owners And Managers 2023

Making your compensation package attractive is a major lever you can pull to attract and retain top talent. 

A great way to deepen our understanding as HR professionals and business leaders is take a compensation course. 

Why take a compensation course?

Fundamentally, taking a compensation course will provide you the skills to assess compensation needs, create a compensation philosophy aligned with your orgs values and employer value proposition, and articulate compensation factors to the wider org.

By taking one or more of these course, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of legislation and equity laws, pay structures, types of compensation and benefits, and how to assess the market to determine competitive salaries and overall packages.

After completion, you’ll be able to bring more value to your organization and maybe even make some connections along the way.

13 Best Compensation Courses

1. HRCI Compensation and Benefits

HRCI is one of the top credentialing organizations when it comes to human resource professional standards. They offer an introductory course on Compensation and Benefits ideal for business owners and HR professionals. Objectives include differentiating between compensation systems, identifying benefits that help workers achieve work-life balance, and developing a critical understanding of how compensation and benefits are tied to employee motivation. 

This self-paced course is offered online only and is perfect for independent learners and those looking to grow their professional development while at a current role or looking for a new one. This course is also available for for HRCI and SHRMI recertification.

  • Price: $79
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both? Online
  • How many hours of instruction: Self-paced
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

2. Cornell Online Compensation Certification

Online compensation courses are a great way to further your professional development while connecting with subject matter experts on compensation and benefits. Cornell’s online course is instructor-led in classroom sizes of 35 students, ideal for learners who thrive in group discussions and guidance. 

You’ll cover the fundamentals of total rewards and dive into the social science and efficacy of pay for performance practices. This will prepare you to build and support an organization with long-term goals as they relate to profit and human resource management.

  • Price: $2,999
  • Duration: 2 months
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both? Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 3-5 hrs / wk
  • Eligibility Requirements: None

3. SHRM Foundations of Compensation

This course is perfect for any beginner to pay structures and systems. Offered both online and in-person, your beginning modules will cover key legislation such as equity laws and compensation requirements at the federal, state, and local levels.

You’ll also learn how to develop your organization’s rewards strategy, how to establish the value for certain roles, and how to communicate your compensation plans to managers. Learners in this course will apply their skills to real-time activities and discussions to exercise your own understanding.

  • Price: SHRM members only
  • Duration: 2-day in person / 4-wk virtual
  • Exam Required: NA
  • Online, In-Person, or both? Both
  • How many hours of instruction: Varies
  • Eligibility Requirements: SHRM member only

4. Coursera’s Compensation Management

Learn how to align your business strategy and talent management with your compensation system. Coursera’s online classes are self-paced and offered by the University of Minnesota. 

This course will help any HR professional or business leader looking to establish or refine their compensation program with financial and non-financial benefits, such as stock options, health benefits, and general salary structure. 

You’ll develop effective strategies like short-term incentives, bonuses, and be able to answer FAQs when it comes to compensation and benefits. This course also includes an in-depth study of U.S. regulations and fair payment policy.

  • Price: TBD
  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both? Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 16 hours
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

5. Human Resources Compensation and Benefits on Linkedin Learning

Linkedn Learning provides self-paced training courses for any HR leader or professional seeking to provide competitive compensation to retain and attract top talent in today’s labor market.

This basic course will help you develop your incentive plans and pay structure related to the performance review process. You’ll also learn about the enrollment process and provider FAQs to help you drive decisions for your employee compensation plan.

  • Price: Varied Membership Pricing
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Exam Required: Chapter quizzes
  • Online, In-Person, or both? Online
  • How many hours of instruction: Varies
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

6. Udemy Compensation 101

Whether you’re an HR generalist looking for professional development opportunities or a business leader making new hires, Udemy’s 101 course will help you develop a holistic compensation strategy. 

Essentially, it’s an on-demand webinar that will help you understand categories of compensation and its components. You’ll come away with skills to develop a job listing, to conduct a job evaluation, to benchmark performance metrics, and to understand merit increases. This is perfect for anyone looking to refresh on the fundamentals.

  • Price: $99.99
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both? Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 1 hour
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

7. World at Work Certified Compensation Professional (CCP)

The World at Work CCP course is perfect for any mid-level compensation professionals with an interest in working with international corporations. You’ll develop a foundational understanding of benefits and compensation in terms of business strategy and finance. 

The syllabus also includes learning about U.S. laws and regulations, financial risks, essential accounting, and competitive pay analysis, among other lessons.

  • Price: 10 courses ea x Members $1,350 / Non-Members: $1,929 USD
  • Duration: Varies
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both? Both
  • How many hours of instruction: Each course equals 2 days in-person
  • Eligibility Requirements: Varies

8. AIHR Compensation & Benefits Certificate Program

The Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR) offers an online self-paced certificate program to help you learn the skills necessary to develop a total reward strategy for your organization. 

From sales compensation to pay principles (including cross-border workers), you’ll be able to develop your pay structure and have a deeper understanding of variable pay. 

Download the syllabus and see how you can make a difference in pay equity and create an effective compensation plan.

  • Price: $1,650
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Exam Required: No but capstone project is required
  • Online, In-Person, or both?
  • How many hours of instruction: 3 hrs / wk
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

9. Wharton’s Executive Compensation Courses

If you’re focusing on executive compensation and leadership performance, Wharton’s online course provides the framework to align business targets and regulations with your key stakeholders’ work and expectations. Course materials are ideal for senior level HR professionals and executives as well as board members.

  • Price: $2,600
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both? Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 4-6 hrs/wk
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

10. Certified Workers Compensation Professional (WCP) Designation Program

Learn more about the professional standards and practices from the American Society of Workers Comp Professionals Inc. (AMCOMP) and earn your Workers Compensation Professional (WCP) designation. 

The syllabus includes covering risk management, comp claims, cost containment, and more. This course is perfect for professionals in insurance and state agencies and is offered for online university or self-paced.

  • Price: Varies
  • Duration: Varies
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both? Online
  • How many hours of instruction: 2.5 hrs/class
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

11. California Workers' Compensation Specialist (WCS) Designation Package

California workers’ compensation is unique and this course offers a California Workers Compensation Specialist Designation (CAWCS). 

The syllabus includes an in-depth framework on distinct workers’ comp laws, workers’ compensation claims, and insurance as a whole and those specific to California. 

You’ll receive the most up-to-date information as you learn directly from insurance professionals and attorneys on compensation issues in California.

  • Price: $695.00
  • Duration: 10 hrs
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?
  • How many hours of instruction: Self-paced
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

12. Pace University HR Compensation Strategy Certificate

This course will prepare you to develop a compensation strategy for various company sizes and purposes (for- or non-profits) that will support your organization’s own goals. 

Following this course, you’ll be able to bring a critical eye to the challenges in developing and maintaining a compensation program, along with creating the process to develop base pay, variable compensation and more. The course is also available for recertification credits by HRCI and SHRM.

  • Price: $595.00
  • Duration: 6 modules
  • Exam Required: N/A
  • Online, In-Person, or both? Both
  • How many hours of instruction: 1 day
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

13. HR Training Center Compensation Training & Certificate Program

Trusted by brands like Dell, Homedepot, and Microsoft, HR Training Center offers training and HR certification courses led by experienced instructors. The range of courses are offered on-demand, online, or in-person and along with payroll, they cover banking, insurance, safety, and more as you move throughout your career. Their specific compensation training course will help you evaluate effective compensation programs, cite various compensation programs like sales and incentive pay, and conduct survey data and perform market analysis. This course is available for SPHR recertification credit too.

  • Price: $599
  • Duration: Varies
  • Exam Required: Yes
  • Online, In-Person, or both?
  • How many hours of instruction: Self-paced
  • Eligibility Requirements: N/A

Are you ready to take a course?

Developing the skills to be able to take on initiatives related to compensation and build a successful compensation strategy will help set you and your organization apart.

One or more of the above courses is a great way to start, and here are some further resources to help you build confidence around compensation and other HR responsibilities:

By Finn Bartram