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Certificates can give graduates a competitive advantage when seeking employment. While many business and financial occupations, including human resources positions, typically require a bachelor's degree at minimum, the advanced training from a graduate certificate in human resources can qualify candidates for more lucrative jobs in the field.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects strong job growth rates for human resources specialists (7%) and human resources managers (6%) between 2019 and 2029. With a certificate in human resources, graduates can also pursue management professions, which also boast strong projected growth rates.

Read on for more information about the certificate and career potential. Make sure to check out our program guide as well.

What Are the Best Online Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 5:

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Rank School Location
1 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
2 Colorado State University Global Campus Greenwood Village, CO
3 University of West Florida Pensacola, FL
4 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ
5 University of St. Francis Joliet, IL
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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology here. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2020 Best Accredited Online Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's online graduate certificate in human resource management is nine credits, and students take three survey-style courses. The curriculum develops crucial HR competencies like talent acquisition and development, performance management, and strategic management.

Applicants must possess a four-year degree from an accredited institution, submit GRE or GMAT scores, and have completed a college-level course in HR management or organizational behavior. Qualified candidates with substantial professional experience can waive the standardized test and academic prerequisites.

This graduate certificate in human resources teaches learners advanced organizational proficiencies in key areas, including job analysis, union relations, compensation negotiation, diversity, and succession planning.

2

Colorado State University Global Campus

Greenwood Village, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

Colorado State University awards an online graduate certificate in human resource management through its Global Campus. Students who earn this certificate develop strong legal, ethical, and performance standards. The program teaches learners to quantifiably improve organizational performance while advancing strategic objectives.

CSU-Global's certificate program includes four courses that cover the essentials of HR management. Topics feature a special emphasis on law, ethics, talent development, and human capital.

Classes begin monthly, and this entirely online program is delivered asynchronously. Students who complete the certificate have the option of applying their credits to obtain advanced standing in multiple master's degree paths in HR and related fields at CSU-Global.

3

University of West Florida

Pensacola, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 43%

The University of West Florida's human resource management certificate is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. This online program emphasizes active learning and prepares graduates to advance to senior management positions. Students explore ethical approaches to candidate interviewing and learn to create comprehensive employee training programs.

As a prerequisite, candidates must complete an introductory course in HR management or have equivalent professional and/or academic experiences. The 12-credit online graduate certificate in human resources covers topics like employee compensation and benefits structures, talent recruitment, performance management, and strategic management.

Graduates can pursue careers as management analysts, HR specialists, and HR managers. The program also helps provide academic preparation for HR-focused graduate and MBA degrees.

4

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

Founded in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey ranks among the largest research universities in the United States. The school offers established and emerging HR professionals a fully online professional certificate in human resources management.

Featuring self-paced courses, this rigorous HR certificate program offers an interactive, flexible, and valuable learning experience. Learners also benefit from one-on-one mentorship opportunities with successful HR executives. The duration of this program is approximately 100 clock hours.

Corporate and organizational clients can also arrange to have a customized version of the program delivered onsite at reduced group rates. All students have the opportunity to begin the program within 1-2 business days of acceptance.

5

University of St. Francis

Joliet, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

The human resource management graduate certificate at the University of St. Francis prepares graduates to identify, recruit, and retain the right talent for the right positions. Online coursework emphasizes mentorship training, and developing HR managers learn to build strong professional relationships that help employees maximize their professional potential.

The curriculum covers four main topics on which HR managers rely: talent management, compensation and benefits, employment and labor law, and organizational needs analysis.

Prospective students should have a four-year degree in business, management, education, healthcare administration, criminal justice, or science. USF does not charge any fees during the application process.

6

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 74%

Offered through Stony Brook University's School of Professional Development, the advanced graduate certificate in human resource management offers learners a flexible set of customization options. The 15-credit program — which can be completed online — includes four core courses in foundational topics, and participants also choose an elective class.

Required classes cover HR fundamentals, labor management and employee relations, employment law, and workplace diversity. Students select a complementary elective based on their interests, with subject offerings including organizational management and change, organizational performance management, and compensation systems.

Graduates have the option to apply their certificate toward advanced standing in one of three master's programs. Credits earned through this graduate certificate in human resources can be transferred to Stony Brook's MS in HR management, MA in liberal studies, or MBA program.

7

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

University Park, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

Through its World Campus, Pennsylvania State University delivers an online international human resources and employment relations graduate certificate that prepares HR professionals to engage with global enterprise. The 12-credit program focuses exclusively on international employment law, hiring policies, and professional best practices.

Designed with input from recognized experts in employment relations, labor law, and organizational psychology, this online graduate certificate in human resources readies learners for versatile opportunities in the international employment market.

Prospective students must hold a four-year degree from an accredited U.S. institution (or a recognized equivalent). Applicants must also submit a resume or CV, personal statement, and academic transcripts. Standardized test scores are not required.

8

University of Houston-Clear Lake

Houston, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

The University of Houston-Clear Lake offers an online graduate certificate in human resource management. Featuring specialized accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the program supports part-time learning by delivering two courses per semester over two academic terms.

Classes explore key topics, including core organizational processes, business management, strategic decision-making, and change management. Students also complete a course in personal mastery and influence, which helps emerging HR personnel maximize the talents and potentials of their organizational peers.

Graduates of this certificate program qualify for advanced standing in two of UHCL's master's programs. Credits transfer to the MA in HR management program or the MBA program with an HR management specialization.

9

Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, OK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

Oklahoma State University's career-focused graduate certificate in human resources management prepares learners to improve their academic and professional credentials in less than one year. Locally-based students can opt for traditional in-class or hybrid delivery formats, while distance learners can complete coursework fully online.

Coursework embraces the practical applications of key HR principles and theories, examining how these theories function in professional practice. The program's five core classes cover employee compensation systems, talent acquisition, talent development, HR analytics, and employment law.

Graduates are prepared for a variety of professional roles. Additionally, all credits can be transferred into one of OSU's MBA programs or any other relevant master's degree pathways.

10

American University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

Based in the nation's capital, American University offers an online certificate in professional human resource management that prepares graduates to earn SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certification. These universally recognized designations help job candidates command higher salaries and secure more prominent organizational roles.

The curriculum of AU's graduate certificate in human resources builds critical thinking skills. The program also embraces the proprietary SHRM Learning System to prepare learners for certification examinations.

This program balances flexibility with structure, keeping learners focused and on track while respecting their scheduling needs. Courses retain a generalist focus to maximize their versatility and applicability in global workplaces.

What Can I Expect From an Online Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Program?

These certificates usually focus on human resources management, but other concentrations may be available, including strategic human resources, employment relations, and human resources consulting.

Human resources professionals need interpersonal and communication skills, along with decision-making and organizational abilities. A graduate certificate in human resources can help students hone these skills, provide advanced training in specific areas of the field, and prepare learners to complete industry certification exams.

Shorter than a full master's program, a graduate certificate usually takes students less than one year to complete. A graduate certificate in human resources requires approximately 5-6 courses or 15-18 credits. Learners can often apply the credits they earn toward a master's degree. They can also pursue the certificate as standalone training or as a complementary credential for another degree.

These certificates usually focus on human resources management, but schools may offer other concentrations, including strategic human resources, employment relations, and human resources consulting.

Students should choose a graduate certificate in human resources based on their study and career goals. While many programs align with Society for Human Resource Management standards, some may emphasize specific industries or skill sets.

Admission Requirements for Online Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Programs

To earn admission into a graduate certificate in human resources program, applicants need a bachelor's degree at minimum. Programs may set minimum GPA and GMAT or GRE score requirements, as well. However, many schools set easier admission requirements for certificate programs than for full graduate degree programs.

Additional requirements may include letters of recommendation, professional experience, a statement of purpose, or an interview. Prospective students may also need prerequisite education to qualify for certain classes.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Program?

Courses for an online graduate certificate in human resources vary by school, but these programs typically cover certain topics. The following list highlights some of the most common courses in HR certificate programs.

Labor Law

In this course, students learn about the major laws and policies that impact employees of an organization. Learners analyze the evolution of these laws and discuss the role of human rights, particularly labor rights, within contemporary organizations.

Organizational Behavior

In this course, students examine the psychology of individuals, groups, and organizations. Covered topics include team dynamics, conflict resolution, and culture-building. Learners discuss ways professionals can manage personalities, respect emotions, and improve communications.

Human Resources Strategic Management

This course teaches students how to maximize productivity and bring out the best in employees. Covered topics include training and development programs, motivational tactics, and performance evaluations and improvements. Students also learn how to assess management practices and make changes to meet goals.

Talent Acquisition and Management

This course provides students with the skills and tools needed to acquire leading talent. Students also learn about leadership strategies for optimizing production and maintaining workplace cohesion.

Dispute Resolution

In this course, students learn major conflict resolution techniques, particularly related to mediation and negotiation. Learners explore the best ways to settle disputes in the fairest and most balanced manner.

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What Can I Do With an Online Graduate Certificate in Human Resources?

A graduate certificate in human resources equips graduates for various business and management occupations, especially human resources specialist and human resources manager.

The BLS projects 5% job growth for both business and financial occupations and management occupations between 2019 and 2029. These industries also boast exceptionally large workforces.

Find out what a graduate certificate in human resources can do for you. Learn more about human resources careers here.

Human Resources Specialist

Human resources specialists handle employee relations tasks like recruiting new staff, conducting interviews, and helping new workers get situated with orientation and training. These professionals may handle general human resources tasks or specialize in recruitment.

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers oversee many of the administrative tasks and regulations in an organization, including mediating between employees and the organization, handing compensation and benefits, and ensuring workplace safety. Depending on the size of their organization these managers may manage a staff of specialists or complete the duties solo.

Compensation and Benefits Specialist

Compensation and benefits specialists take care of payment-related programs and tasks within an organization. They draft compensation and payment plans, handle claims, and track regulations and labor laws.

Compensation and Benefits Manager

These managers create compensation and benefits plans for organizations and employees. They research national and local wage rates to determine appropriate pay levels, partner with insurance and benefits organizations, and develop policies in accordance with labor laws.

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers develop training and skills programs for employees and organizations. They may handle training within one organization or advise multiple groups.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Programs

Is a graduate certificate in human resources worth it?

Yes. A graduate certificate in human resources can help students strengthen their skills and qualifications, as well as access various business and management careers. The BLS projects 5% growth for management careers between 2019 and 2029. These occupations pay a median annual salary of $105,660.

What can I do with a graduate certificate in human resources?

After completing a graduate certificate in human resources, graduates can pursue human resources careers and managerial positions. Many schools also allow students to apply the credits from their certificate to a graduate degree.

Is HR in demand?

As organizations expand and labor laws increase in complexity, the demand for human resources professionals will likely increase. The BLS projects strong growth rates for human resources specialists (7%) and human resources managers (6%) between 2019 and 2029.

How much money can I make with a graduate certificate in human resources?

Salary potential depends on the employer and location. According to the BLS, human resources specialists earn a median annual salary of $61,920. Human resources managers make a median annual salary of $116,720.

What are the highest paying jobs with a graduate certificate in human resources?

According to the BLS, compensation and benefits manager is the highest paying job in the field. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $122,270.