Why This Matters


    Certificate programs are narrowly focused and can be done within a shorter time frame than degrees. Most certificates require 12 to 24 credits, which can be completed in a year or less.


    The field of human resources is growing rapidly, and human resources manager positions are expected to increase 7% by 2029. This will create another 10,400 jobs for HR managers.


    The median annual salary of human resources specialists is $61,920, and managers in the field earn a median salary of $116,720, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Our Research

We reviewed many human resources certificate programs, including online, traditional, and hybrid programs. Most of these certificates are earned outside of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, but a few are included within a degree’s curriculum.

All of the certificates listed are from regionally accredited institutions, and many of the institutions also have programmatic accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Accreditation serves as a guarantee of a certificate program’s quality.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 58 hours to write this article
  • 174 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 201 education programs we compared

The Top 31 Human Resources Certification Degree Programs

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Certificate programs provide a flexible way to advance human resources skills. Many of these programs are designed for students who already have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field, but others don’t require prior knowledge of human resources.

Programs that are for students who already have a degree can be used to develop advanced knowledge in a specific aspect of human resources. These certificates are useful if you’re trying to move up within the field, often to mid- or upper-level positions.

Programs that don’t require a previous degree might help you secure an entry-level job in human resources. If you don’t have a previous degree, however, you might want to consider a Bachelor’s in Human Resources instead. Evaluate your education level and future aspirations as you assess different certificate programs.

There are multiple credentials that human resources professionals can attain. The two main credentialing bodies are the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI). Certificate programs that comply with one of these organization’s requirements are generally the most respected in the field.

Online programs may have a brief in-person requirement, even though most work can be completed remotely. Make sure your schedule and budget will let you complete any in-person component.

Certificate programs aren’t always eligible for federal financial aid. If you’re planning to pay for a certificate with loans or grants, talk to a financial aid counselor about your available options.

What’s Next?

Here are two questions to help you further evaluate human resources certificates:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Many of these certificates are for degree-holding students, but not all are. Review a program’s eligibility requirements to be sure that you qualify before applying.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? These certificates tend to be between 12 and 24 credits, which normally takes one or two semesters to complete when studying full-time. The vast majority of these programs can be completed in a year or less.

When you find a program that you’d like to apply to, get the application details from the program’s webpage or by contacting the program directly. Find out what materials are needed and the applicable application deadlines.

Also consider the cost of a program. Talk with program staff about tuition assistance options. You may get tuition reimbursement from an employer if you’re currently working.