Why This Matters


    Certificate programs are more tightly focused than full degrees, so you can complete the program in a short time frame. Most certificate programs consist of 12-24 credits and can be completed in under two years.


    Entry-level HR jobs are expected to continue growing at a fast pace through 2031, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The economy will also add about 12,600 new HR management jobs in the same time frame.


    Another fast-growing area within human resources is talent development and training jobs. There will be another 28,900 training and development specialist jobs added as companies develop new training methods and strategies.

Our Research

For this list, we focused on reviewing certificate programs in human resources. Most programs are available as standalone certificates meant to enhance existing skills or provide new skills to individuals who already hold bachelor’s or master’s degrees. However, some programs must be taken in conjunction with a degree-granting program.

All of the programs are offered online. Some are also available on-campus or in an online/in-person hybrid format.

We only included programs available at regionally accredited institutions. Many also have programmatic accreditation through agencies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Each program was evaluated on the basis of course strength, flexibility, cost, faculty, and reputation. We then used this information to calculate an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

The Top 40 Online Human Resources Certifications Degree Programs

Best Human Resources Certification Degrees 2023
Intelligent Pick
UVA School of Continuing and Professional Studies
Most Customizable Program
Stony Brook University
Best Faculty
West Chester University
Best in the South
Oklahoma State University
Best for Out-of-state Students
Central Michigan University
Best Catholic Institution
St. Joseph's University New York
Best Research School
Southern New Hampshire University
Best Private Institution
Cornell University
Best in the West
University of Redlands
Best Certificate Program
Belhaven University

Villanova University

University of Richmond

UC San Diego Extended Studies

Champlain College

Montclair State University

Northeastern University

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Saint Paul College

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Certificate programs are a flexible way to develop the necessary skills and knowledge for a career in human resources, but they may not be the appropriate path for everyone.

Typically, certificate programs are designed for individuals who already have a degree and experience in HR or a related field. Students are expected to already have some basic understanding of business practices, as well as general education coursework. A certificate program will build upon existing skills to help students transition into mid-level HR positions.

If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree yet, you may want to consider an undergraduate program in human resources.

Human resource professionals can earn a number of credentials. The two primary credentialing bodies are the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). While credentials are not mandatory, they communicate your professionalism and knowledge to employers. Since there are educational requirements for credentialing, verify that the program you are considering meets the organization’s educational standards.

Not all certificate programs are eligible for federal financial aid. If you are planning to use student loans or grants to offset the cost of tuition, talk to a financial aid counselor to confirm whether students enrolled in this type of program are eligible to receive this type of aid.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Human Resources Certification programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Many certificate programs are designed for degree-holding students who are looking to switch careers or develop advanced skills in HR. Review the program’s qualifications to ensure that you have the necessary educational and professional background to be eligible for admission.
  • What resources are available to online students? Like students in on-campus programs, online students need access to libraries, tutoring, technical support, advising, career services, and more. Find out what type of resources are available to you as an online student and how they are delivered.

Once you’ve selected the programs that interest you, research their application requirements and admissions procedures. Certificate programs may have more flexible deadlines and start terms than traditional degree programs, but you will still want to submit your application or registration paperwork in a timely fashion to ensure you can start when you want.

You should also consider how you will finance your certificate program. If you are not eligible for financial aid, you can research scholarships, assistantships, and tuition assistance benefits from your employer if you are currently working.

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