Top 5 Online HR Courses Worth Investing In

professional skills

In order to move ahead in the field of HR, professionals should consider investing their time and money in online courses that cover key areas including compliance, crisis management, analytics, compensation and benefits, and talent acquisition. Here is a list of the top online courses that do just that.

Investing Your Money and Time

Taking online courses in continued HR training can help you stay up to date with ever changing laws and policies as well as keep you ahead of your competitors when it comes to skills and experience. ''There is a dizzying array of free classes, as well as certificate programs and college degrees, available online for HR professionals,'' writes Tamara Lytle in an article for SHRM. ''The trick is selecting the right one.''

In order to help you decide which areas are worthy of investing both your money and time, here's a list of the top online courses that can help boost your HR expertise in legal compliance, crisis management, analytics, compensation and benefits, and talent acquisition.


1.) Online Compliance Certificate

Investing in online courses that discuss regulatory and legal compliance is a must for HR professionals no matter where you're at in your HR career path. ''Labor and employment laws give structure to the workplace,'' says HR expert Ruth Mayhew. ''These laws are important because they enable businesses to devote more of their focus to productivity and profitability.'' Staying up to date and in the know can also help your company avoid losing thousands of dollars and thousands of hours in legal fees and working hours.'s Business 106 course offers a 28 lesson chapter devoted to employment law & employee rights.

The University of Southern California's Gould School of Law

A recommended online course can be found at The University of Southern California's Gould School of Law, which offers an Online Compliance Certificate for those who already hold an undergraduate degree. This online course explores the ''fundamental knowledge of compliance and related legal issues necessary to implement compliance protocols or programs in current or future workplaces.'' If you're looking to add a specialty in compliance regulations and laws to your HR resume, then look no further. This program can be completed in as few as three semesters, and although it covers a large range of compliance laws, it does offer ''the opportunity to pursue specific compliance-focused online classes'' for those who are working for larger organizations and compliance issues on a regular basis.

2.) HR Crisis Management

Whether we want to admit it or not, the chances of facing a crisis (natural or not) in our career lifetime are growing. The question is do we know how to respond to situations of crisis in a way that will bring a sense of calm and organization to our employees and business partners? As the Human Resources Management Association notes, oftentimes the role of crisis management is assigned to the HR department. Why? Because HR ''plays a key role in leading the changes at all organizational levels, communicating clear messages of the necessity and importance of the changes, clarifying expectations, leading by example, and actively testing out all components of the planning scenarios.''

If you're not prepared, check out the HR crisis management course offered through The course is PC and MAC compatible and Android/IOS friendly. It is also accredited and offered at $50 for the non-certificate option or $88 for the certificate option. It takes 6 months to complete and features training in ''identifying, preventing, and controlling crisis situations.'' It also teaches students how to identify potential risks and emergency situations and how to quickly diffuse such situations before they escalate. Students will also be trained in damage control and restoring confidence and strength to the business and its employees in an effort to push recovery and a sense of normalcy. The course offers 0.8 continuing education units via the International Association for Continuing Education And Training (IACET).


3.) HR Analytics Coursework

In addition to compliance and crisis management, HR analytics is an important part of HR that professionals should consider investing in. More and more individuals are learning how to use business analytics and data mining in the HR department in order to make the best decisions on hiring, firing, and improving current employee efficiency. ''The goal of human resources analytics is to provide an organization with insights for effectively managing employees so that business goals can be reached quickly and efficiently,'' says Startup Focus blogger Aleksandra Swerdlow. The challenge, however, is that many current HR professionals don't know how to accomplish this. ''Analytics is such a new part of the human resources function that the supply of people trained in both data science and HR cannot yet meet the demand,'' says Tamara Lytle in her SHRM article, 'The Growing Demand for HR Analysts.'

Analytics Academy

Investing time and money into analytics training will not only expand your HR areas of expertise, but it will also strengthen your chances of obtaining employment in the future. The HR Analytics Academy, part of Analytics In HR (AIHR), is an online resource for courses in HR analytics covering the very basics of analytics all the way to implementing them into the field. One of the courses offered is 'HR Analyst,' which is an entry level, yearlong, self-paced course. This course is $597 and includes 7 modules that take students directly through the world of analytics and its roll in HR. The course begins with basic concepts of applying strategic workforce planning. Students learn to build a custom analytical HR dashboard. They also gain proficiency using Excel and Power BI to conduct basic data cleaning and analysis. This course confers 15 professional development credits for SHRM certification renewal purposes.

4.) Compensation Studies

Among the most needed courses in HR training and continuing education are courses in benefits and compensation. This is a large area of operation for HR as it serves as a tool and strategic leverage in bringing in top talent and retaining top employees. ''In every organization it is essential to understand the importance of compensation and the flexibility the hiring managers can have in designing a compensation package,'' says HR Digest writer Diana Coker. Designing a benefits and compensation package that will 'attract, retain and develop a quality talent pool' is key.

If you don't know how to accomplish this, then training is a necessity for you to maintain your role in HR. offers a chapter about employee benefits and compensation within its strategic human resources management course. The course awards three college credits upon completion. The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) also offers e-learning options for HR professionals.

Cornell Compensation Studies Certificate Program

Cornell University offers an extensive online certificate in this area. The Compensation Studies Certificate provides students with the knowledge needed to assess compensation needs and align those needs with their company in a way that will be beneficial to all parties involved. ''It's important to understand how to leverage compensation in such a way that it benefits both the talented employees and the organization as a whole.'' The program is two months in length, instructor led and offered completely online. The total tuition cost is $2,400. The certificate also confers 36 professional development credits that can satisfy certain HR certification renewal requirements.


5.) Strategic Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition is another area of expertise that is often missing from the contemporary HR professional's repertoire of skills. Many HR representatives that are left with the role of recruiter barely have time ''to squeeze in interviewing among many other daily duties,'' writes Tony Lee in an article for SHRM. ''The bar for new hires is often 'good enough,' which leaves the best talent undiscovered.'' Lee also notes that recent SHRM surveys have found that HR professionals want to improve their skills in talent acquisition, but they either don't have the time or they don't know how. If this sounds like you, here is an online course that can help revamp your talent acquisitions and help bring in top talent for your company.

US San Diego Extension - Strategic Talent Acquisition

UC San Diego Extension offers a strategic talent acquisition course which has been approved for 27 hours of continuing education credit. Per the program page, students learn how to ''effectively source positions that drive business outcomes; analyze retention and attrition data to understand critical position drivers; and, ultimately, how to engage with stakeholders to optimally execute the recruiting plan.''

In addition, students will develop the skills necessary to be flexible in talent acquisition as the field continues to evolve into the future. The online course tuition is currently at $515. It also counts as three college credits and may be counted toward the school's HR Management Certificate.

Additional Resources

The courses mentioned here are only a few suggestions for HR professionals when it comes to furthering their education. For additional resources and lists, visit's List of Free Online Human Resources (HR) Courses and Classes. HR professionals can also consider investigating online graduate certificates, which often offer relevant courses in the context of a structured academic program.

By Amanda Johnson
February 2018
professional skills hr professional development

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