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.
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.