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Online Graduate Certificates in Human Resources

Get info about online certificate programs in human resources. Read about program requirements and course topics, and check out career and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Online graduate certificate programs in human resources management or development are available and allow students to complete all courses online. Online programs typically prepare students to take the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) exams to receive HR certification.

Applicants must already hold a bachelor's degree, and they will need to meet minimum technical standards and have specific software applications. Individuals may be able to apply credits earned during the program to a master's degree in human resources.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Human Resources Development
  • Labor and Industrial Relations
  • Labor Studies
  • Organizational Behavior

Graduate Certificate in Human Resources

Online human resource management graduate certificate programs train HR professionals in areas like ethics, labor relations, benefits, compensation and conflict resolution. Students also focus on workforce planning, organizational management and strategic management. Most schools expect applicants to have an undergraduate degree in human resource management.

Program Details and Information

Most online graduate certificate programs in human resource management require students to complete around 21 credits. Many schools allow students up to three years to complete the program or more if students complete the certificate in conjunction with a master's degree program.

Technical requirements for online graduate certificate programs include a current operating system and Internet browser. Students will also need to have computers equipped with media players, and some programs require Microsoft programs such as Office and Excel. Some schools use Blackboard software to provide course materials such as lectures, exams and assignments.

Course Topics

Graduate certificate programs in human resource management typically comprise 2-3 required human resource and management courses, in addition to a series of related advanced electives.

Strategic Human Resource Management

This class discusses the role of a human resource manager in processes like hiring, training and recruitment within an organizational setting.

Employee and Labor Relations

Students in this course study public and private labor relations and methods of dispute resolution. The course also includes the history of management-union relations and methods of negotiation and bargaining.

Leadership and Ethics

This class focuses on the way leaders evaluate the elements that influence their actions. Students discuss the ethical issues of great leaders through history, in addition to leaders in the business world.

Compensation and Benefits

This course teaches students about the nuances of employee benefits, compensation and the systems that govern them. To complete the course, students are expected to design a realistic benefits and compensation program.


Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2015 median annual salary of human resource managers was $104,440 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also projected that professional opportunities for human resource managers would grow about 9% between 2014 and 2024. This growth is largely due to employment standards and labor and management relations continuously changing on a national scale.

Continuing Education Opportunities

Once a graduate obtains a certificate in human resource management, they are eligible to take the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) exams to receive nationally recognized certification. These exams are offered by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI). Graduates may transfer the credits from a graduate certificate into a master's degree program in human resource management.

In online human resource management graduate certificate programs, students learn about key topics like conflict resolution and ethical standards. Graduates can pursue professional certification or transfer their credits to a related master's program.

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