14 Best Certification Courses for HR Professionals

Taking courses gives you tools to broaden your management abilities, learn new HR strategies, and keep up with important changes in employment law and labor relations.

While bigger companies tend to have an HR manager, having a good understanding of HR within your department is a benefit as well.

In this article, I’ll explain the best online human resources certificate and courses available to support your department and give you additional tools to be a great manager.

Best HR Certifications Human Resources Pros Need in 2022

Why should you get certified in human resources?

Earning certifications in human resources can provide professionals with a variety of benefits:

What are human resources certifications?

Human resources certifications are distinctions earned through examinations to certify knowledge of HR practices, regulations and programs. Many professional organizations within the human resources industry offer specialized certifications relevant to different HR positions.

Most certifications require previous work experience in the HR field and related degrees. Examinations vary in length and question style based on the area of human resources expertise.

List of HR certifications

Here are the major HR certifications you can earn, separated by the awarding organization. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. For the most up-to-date qualifications, costs and fees, visit the certifying organizations website.

Programs from the Human Resources Certification Institute

The following certifications are provided by the Human Resources Certification Institute:

The aPHR certification is made for those who are entering the human resources field. The exam for certification is based on fundamental knowledge, so those with no professional experience are encouraged to begin their careers with this distinction and prove their foundational understanding of HR.

Here are more details about the aPHR certification:

This certification is for human resources professionals who work under the direction of an HR director. PHR focuses on professionals who work mainly within the responsibilities of the HR department to make sure the organization follows all laws and regulations. They also oversee operational orientation and implement programs.

Here are more details about the PHR certification:

This certification is for HR professionals who work in the global marketplace to prove their expert knowledge of multinational responsibilities and policies. Here are the specifics for earning this certification:

The SPHR certification demonstrates mastery in HR management. This certification is recommended for HR leaders who create strategic plans for human resource needs and take a broader view of business functions. HR professionals who help their departments meet goals and inspire a clear vision can benefit from this certification to prove their deep knowledge in the HR field.

Here are more details about the SPHR certification:

Certifications offered by the American Staffing Association (ASA)

Here are several of the certifications offered by the ASA:

This credential focuses on federal and state labor and employment laws for HR staffing professionals. The ASA recommends this certification for anyone who works as a staffing professional to certify their knowledge of essential rules for the workplace.

This is the essential information about the exam for this credential:

This certification is for search and placement professionals ready to add to their qualifications. The program covers federal employment laws specific to recruiters and registration laws affecting direct hire firms. Recruiters, HR professionals, search consultants and talent acquisition managers are all encouraged by the ASA to pursue this certification.

The specifics of this exam are as follows:

This specialized certification allows health care staffing professionals to verify their knowledge of health care staffing laws and practices. The distinction certifies staffing professionals to work with both employees and clients in the health care industry. This comprehensive exam, created in collaboration with legal, health care and development professionals is one of the only certifications of its kind within the staffing industry.

Heres a breakdown of the basics for this exam:

Certifications offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Here are the certifications offered through SHRM:

The Society for Human Resource Management issues this certification for professionals who provide HR services to an organization. HR representatives can certify their knowledge of operational functions, policies and strategies.

Heres additional information for earning this certification:

HR professionals in leadership roles can earn this certification to verify their work as strategic planners and community influencers. Senior HR representatives can add this distinction to their experience and credentials in leading HR departments.

Heres more information about earning this credential:

Other HR certifications

The following certifications are offered through various professional HR organizations:

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans offers this five-course certification program. HR professionals who want to specialize in employee benefits can also earn their Group Benefits Associate and Retirement Plans Associate designation while completing the coursework to earn a CEBS. Credits earned towards a CEBS certification may also help HR professionals meet continuing education requirements.

This certification is offered by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), the largest organization dedicated to training and professional development. The ATD is the parent organization that sets standards for the talent development profession and certifies through their ATD Certification Institute. The certification measures 10 areas of expertise including integrated talent management and coaching.

To qualify for the exam, you must have five years of talent development experience. The two-part assessment is composed of a knowledge and skills application exam. Certification testing costs $900 for ATD members and $1250 for non-members.

The American Payroll Association gives this distinction to HR professionals in charge of payroll accounts. To take the CPP, applicants must first pass a rigorous series of prerequisite courses and work in a payroll position for three out of five years before certification. Before taking a final set of courses, payroll professionals must first earn their FPC designation.

Certification as a Compensation Professional is offered through World at Work, a Total Rewards Association. This certificate program marks a professionals expertise in compensation. The certification consists of 10 exams ranging from total rewards management to business acumen for compensation professionals.

This certification assesses professional knowledge of information management in human resources. The International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM) proctors the exam remotely and offers continuing education for recertification every three years.


What types of HR certifications are there?

Nationally Recognized HR Certifications

The four most recognized types of HR certifications are: SHRM-CP®, SHRM-SCP®, PHR® and SPHR®. The SHRM-CP stands for the Society of Human Resource Management Certified Professional, and the SHRM-SCP stands for SHRM Senior Certified Professional.

Which HR certification is easiest?

The most popular credential to get from the HRCI is the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification; 16.9 percent of HR professionals who responded to our survey in 2018 said they have this certification.

Are HR Certifications Worth It?

The aPHR is also the easiest credential to obtain, with a pass rate of 84% on the certification exam.

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