9 Best Human Resources Management Certifications for 2022

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9 Best Human Resources Management Certifications for 2022

Like most other aspects of the world of work, skills are and have been subject to intense change at a rapid pace. Whereas the longevity of professional skills used to be 10 to 15 years, it has now been reduced to an average of 5 years, with more technical skills at just 2.5 years or less, according to IBM

For HR professionals, this means that if they want to truly add value to their organization, they need to continuously work on building their skills and enhancing their qualifications. Gaining knowledge in the field of Human Resources Management helps you become more strategic in your work. Which are the best Human Resources Management certifications to upskill yourself? Let’s find out!

Contents
5 key considerations when choosing an HRM certification program
Top Human Resources Management certifications
1. SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)
2. Professional in Human Resources (PHR) — HRCI
3. Human Resources Management Certificate Program — Cornell University
4. Certificate in Human Resources Management — York University
5. Human Resources Management Certificate — UCLA
6. Professional Certificate in Human Resources Management — San Diego State University
7. Associate Diploma in People Management — CIPD
8. Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management — CIPD
9. MBA in Human Resources Management

5 key considerations when choosing an HRM certification program 

A Human Resources Management (HRM) certification program is an investment, which means that, like any other investment, it requires careful consideration and research before you can commit to any one program.

Certification programs are generally tailored to a certain group of audience. They are not meant to be one-size-fits-all training with knowledge and solutions that can be applied to any type of organization or suitable for any person. 

Here are a few factors that you should consider: 

1. Subject matter suitability

HRM practices can vary greatly between different organizations, which means that the topics and knowledge covered in the course you choose should be applicable to the size, type, or industry of your current or future organization. For example, when working in a start-up with a small HR team, your focus might be on the people management and people processes side of things and not on implementing HR technology. In this case, you should pay attention to more people-focused certification programs. 

2. Learning accessibility and flexibility

Many HR professionals are often weighed down by various responsibilities and obligations at work and outside of the office. This means that having the flexibility to learn when, where, and how you want can come in handy when you decide to take up a certification program.

You also need to pay attention to the availability of course materials and if you will be able to access them through different devices.

One last thing to consider is whether the program is self-paced or not. Following courses with a strict schedule can make it difficult and sometimes even demotivating in the long run. 

3. Learning format 

This is an important factor that can significantly affect how well you learn and retain knowledge. For some people, a traditional classroom setting where they can attend lessons and interact with teachers and other students in-person is the best option. For others, they might prefer learning online in their own time and in the comfort of their own homes.

There is no right or wrong way to learn, and certainly no best learning format. It all boils down to what suits you best and is most conductive to your learning.

Human Resources Management Certifications: Key Considerations

4. Community availability

Adding a social element to your learning journey can make for an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. As an HR manager, there are times when you will come across issues that only a fellow HR manager can understand and help with.

Many HRM certificate programs offer learners the opportunity to be part of a global community of like-minded HR professionals, where participants can share their experiences, ask questions, and solve problems together. This is especially helpful if you prefer to learn from your peers in addition to the formal curriculum. 

5. Core HRM skills focus 

What makes an HRM certification program different from a general HR certification program is the management part. In other words, the program that you end up choosing should put a big focus on skills such as leadership, strategic thinking, and people management. A good HRM certification program should cover leadership skills extensively, as well as touch on the topic of building vision and strategy.

Top Human Resources Management Certifications

Please note that this list is compiled based on publicly available information. We have not tried the courses ourselves.

1. SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)

SHRM logo

Program overview: This certification, as offered by the Society for Human Resources Management, is based on the core knowledge of the SHRM Body of Competency & Knowledge™ (SHRM BoCK), which aims to help HR professionals attain their full potential in HR. 

The main focus of the course and the exams is leadership success and organizational strategy. The SHRM-CP exams are designed to determine the competency level of HR professionals at the operational level, which includes implementing HR policies, supporting day-to-day HR functions, or being an HR point of contact for staff and stakeholders. Meanwhile, the SHRM-SCP exams focus on the strategic level of HR work — HR policies development, HR operations execution, or HR strategy and organizational strategy alignment. 

Who it’s for: The SHRM-CP certification is for those whose work includes general HR duties or those wishing to work in HR management. The SHRM-SCP certification is for HR professionals with at least three years of experience in strategic HR or those who have been SHRM-CP certified for at least three years.

Format: The SHRM certification exams are conducted in person at one of Prometric’s testing centers. You can also opt for online testing via remote proctoring. 

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Cost of programs: SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP fees vary based on the membership, candidate status, and type of certification.

Find the details about SHRM-CP here and about SHRM-SCP here.

2. Professional in Human Resources (PHR) — HRCI

hrci-logo

Program overview: With a PHR certification, you will be able to demonstrate your mastery of the technical and operational aspects of HR management, including an in-depth understanding of US laws and regulations. The topics covered in the PHR exam include: 

  • Employee and labor relations 
  • Business management 
  • Talent planning and acquisition 
  • Total rewards 
  • Learning and development 

Those who have obtained the PHR certification can then advance to the Senior Professional in Human Resources® (SPHR) certification. This program covers topics such as: 

  • Business leadership 
  • Talent development and management 
  • HR service delivery 

Who it’s for: The PHR certification is meant for professionals who: 

  • Have at least one year of HR experience and a Master’s degree or higher; 
  • or have at least two years of HR experience and a Bachelor’s degree; 
  • or have at least four years of HR experience 

Format: You can sit for the exam either in-person at a Pearson VUE testing center or online with remote proctoring. 

Cost of programs: The exam fee is $395, with an additional $100 for the application fee.

Find the details about PHR here.

3. Human Resources Management Certificate Program — Cornell University

Program overview: This certificate program offered by Cornell University aims to prepare you for a successful career in HRM by equipping you with the knowledge to align your HR strategy with the overall organizational strategy. Topics covered in this program include: 

  • Compensation
  • Labor relations 
  • Driving engagement 
  • Training and development 
  • Employee performance 

Additionally, you’ll have access to Symposiums — a series of exclusive events featuring Cornell faculty and experts. You’ll have the opportunity to explore today’s most pressing diversity and inclusion topics in as many sessions as you wish. 

Who it’s for: This certificate program is suitable for line-level HR professionals with zero to five years of experience or those aspiring to work in HR. 

Format: The program consists of 9 instructor-led courses, which are 100% online. 

Cost of program: To enroll, you’ll need to pay $5,400 or $650 per month.

Find the details about Cornell’s Human Resources Management Certificate Program here.

4. Certificate in Human Resources Management — York University

Program overview: Students enrolled in this program will develop HRM skills highly valued by employers, including communication, critical thinking, data literacy, and ethics. This program aims to help learners gain a deeper understanding of the concepts and core competencies for HR management. 

You’ll be learning alongside a community of like-minded individuals, allowing you to expand your next work and join a supportive community of other HRM professionals. You will also receive a student discount when signing up for the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) membership. 

Who it’s for: This program is ideal for those in the process of obtaining a Certified Human Resources Professional or Certified Human Resources Leader designation. You are also encouraged to enroll if you’re a working professional interested in expanding your skillset and pursuing a career in HRM. For more information on eligibility requirements, visit this website.

Format: This certificate program is 100% online and self-paced, with the option to participate in live sessions for additional coaching and support. 

Cost of program: The tuition fee is $6,921.

Find the details about York University’s Certificate in Human Resources Management here.

5. Human Resources Management Certificate — UCLA

Program overview: Establish and advance your career in HR with this certificate program from UCLA — designed to give you a foundational understanding of the current and practical responsibilities of an HR generalist. After completing this program, you will be able to: 

  • Understand the fundamental of HRM 
  • Design and structure an HR department and recruit talent 
  • Design and administer comprehensive compensation and benefits strategies 
  • Master employee relations and the legal aspects of HR 

Who it’s for: This program is perfect for individuals who are looking to transition into an HRM career or HR professionals interested in enhancing their career opportunities. 

Format: Learners have the option to complete this certificate program 100% online or in person. 

Cost of program: Courses in this program are paid for individually. There are also additional costs for the application fee, textbooks, and other materials.

Find the details about UCLA’s Human Resources Management Certificate here.

6. Professional Certificate in Human Resources Management — San Diego State University

Program overview: This certificate program aims to equip students with the foundation they need to design, manage, and evaluate organizational programs. You’ll develop skills critical to talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, learning and development, and performance management, as well as leadership skills that will allow you to align your department to your organization’s goals. 

You will have the flexibility to customize this certificate program to your career goals by taking the required courses and choosing from several electives, including: 

  • Emotional intelligence 
  • Ethics in the workplace
  • Business writing for the workplace 
  • Diversity and inclusion 

Who it’s for: This program is meant for those aspiring to become or already working as HRM professionals. 

Format: All courses are online, with the exception of some elective courses, which can only be taken in person. 

Cost of program: The estimated cost for this certificate program is $4,575, not including textbooks and other study materials.

Find the details about San Diego State University’s Professional Certificate in Human Resources Management here.

7. Associate Diploma in People Management — CIPD

CIPD logo

Program overview: Expand your understanding of HR and people management to help drive change in your organization. This program equips learners with a deeper understanding of the organizational behaviors that will lead organizations to success. You need to study three core units, three specialist units, and one optional unit to attain this certification. 

Who it’s for: This program is perfect for HR professionals interested in expanding their skill sets and are ready to drive change in their organizations. 

Format: Learners can choose from online, in-person, or blended study modes, with the option to study part-time (amounting to two to 20 hours per week). In-person studying takes place at CIPD approved Study Centers.

Cost of program: The tuition fee for this program is £2,995.

Find the details about CIPD’s Associate Diploma in People Management here.

8. Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management — CIPD

CIPD logo

Program overview: Students enrolled in this program will learn how to design and manage their HR strategies, enhance their people management skills, and take their leadership skills to the next level. After completing this program, you will be able to successfully manage employee relations, recruit and nurture talent to sustain success, and develop the right compensation and benefits strategy for your organization. To attain this certification, you need to study four core units, three specialist units, and one optional unit. 

Who it’s for: This program is perfect for ambitious HR professionals who want to take the next step in their careers and become strategic HR leaders. 

Format: Learners can choose from online, in-person, or blended study modes, with the option to study part-time (amounting to two to 20 hours per week). In-person studying takes place at CIPD approved Study Centers.

Cost of program: To enroll, you need to pay £5,995. 

Find the details about CIPD’s Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management here.

9. MBA in Human Resources Management

MBA is short for Master of Business Administration — the original graduate degree offered by business schools worldwide. It is a program designed to build up learners’ business knowledge, but it’s not restricted to only the business world. Having an MBA is also useful for those wanting to work in the public sector, government, private industry, and other areas. Most MBA programs have a core curriculum consisting of subjects such as accounting, economics, marketing, and business operations, along with electives. 

(Aspiring) HR professionals can take an MBA in Human Resources Management, which is generally a two-year program focusing on managing an organization’s workforce. Here is an overview of several programs that you can choose from: 

Program nameProgram overviewFormatCost of program
MBA with Human Resource Management — London School of Business and ResearchThis 12-month graduate program equips learners with both the theoretical knowledge and the practical skills to effectively manage the workforce in their organizations. You will go through two study stages, with the second stage focusing specifically on HRM. After completing this stage, you will earn a Level 7 Diploma in Human Resources Management. Online£7,999
Human Resources Management MBA — Rushford Business SchoolThis is a 16-month program for any (aspiring) HR professionals who want to gain in-depth and practical HRM knowledge. The curriculum is relevant to various sectors, including government and non-governmental institutions. The program consists of 27 courses, each lasting for three weeks. Online €9,000, with the option to pay in monthly installments
MBA in Human Resource Management — Davenport UniversityThis program is designed to prepare you to successfully lead an organization’s HR team. You’ll gain in-depth knowledge in dispute resolution, compensation, organizational behavior, and leadership strategies. By enrolling in this program, you will also be eligible to sit for the SHRM-CP examination. Online or in-person in Detroit, Grand Rapids, or Lansing$906/credit/hour for online tuition

FAQ

What certifications do HR managers need?

Typically, having a widely recognized certification from SHRM or HRCI can help HR managers stand out when they apply for jobs and become more effective in their positions. An HRM certificate program is designed to equip learners with an in-depth understanding of the various areas of Human Resources, as well as develop and enhance learners’ leadership and strategic skills. This makes HRM certificate programs well-suited for HR managers or those aspiring to move into an HR leadership role.

Which is the best Human Resources Management certification?

There is no best HRM certification, as there is no program that can address the needs of every learner. What constitutes the best certification depends on a number of individual factors, such as your budget, location, availability, or your company type. A program that might seem perfect for one HR professional can be completely wrong for another. Therefore, the above list is meant to help you get started with exploring the options that you have. 

Is a certificate in HR Management worth it?

A Human Resources Management certification can help you start or advance your career in HR. For example, three out of five of those who have completed the program from UCLA report receiving a promotion or found a better position after graduating. Additionally, research has shown that many HR professionals can improve their earning potential over the course of their careers by as much as 28% after getting certified. 

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