Updated: August 29, 2023

16 Best HR Certification Programs in 2024

You found our list of HR certification programs.

HR certification programs are credentials that human resources professionals often use to enhance their careers. Examples include SHRM certification, Professional in Human Resources, and Certified Professional in Learning and Performance. These programs help HR professionals demonstrate their expertise to employers and keep up with the latest employment law and HR policy developments.

​HR certification programs are types of HR training programs that help develop HR skills and teach HR tips.

This article contains:

  • online HR certification programs
  • HR training programs with certificates
  • free HR certification courses
  • professional HR certification programs
  • accredited HR certification programs
  • HRIS certification programs

Here we go!

List of HR certification programs

HR certification programs are often a prerequisite for employment in human resources. If you are looking to switch careers, then an HR credential might help you get a foot in the door. The following is a list of professional HR training programs with certificates you can consider.

1. Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR)

CPHR Canada offers the Chartered Professional in Human Resources certification. This certification is aimed at HR professionals in Canada who seek to demonstrate their expertise and knowledge in the field of human resources. To earn the CPHR designation, candidates need to meet a combination of education and experience requirements and successfully pass a comprehensive exam. The certification covers HR topics and competencies, including HR strategy, labor relations, compensation and benefits, and organizational development. Being nationally recognized in Canada, the CPHR signifies a high level of HR professionalism and competence.

Learn more about CPHR.

2. Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS)

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans offers The Certified Employee Benefit Specialist certification. Geared toward professionals working in specialized areas, IFEBP certifications provide valuable expertise in managing employee benefits and compensation.

The CEBS designation provides professional expertise in the benefits field. Researched-based best practices support this learning process. CEBS coursework prepares individuals to think strategically, make confident decisions, and have a positive impact on organizational success. By earning the CEBS designation, professionals can join a community of like-minded individuals who provide support and networking opportunities in the employee benefits industry.

Learn more about CEBS.

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3. Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR)

The Human Resource Certification Institute offers The Global Professional in Human Resources certification. The HRCI tailors this course for HR professionals with international or global HR responsibilities. To attain the GPHR certification, individuals need to demonstrate a combination of education and experience. Additionally, participants must successfully pass an exam that assesses their knowledge of global HR concepts, international employment laws, and cross-border HR management. The GPHR certification equips HR professionals with the skills and understanding needed to navigate the complexities of managing human resources on a global scale. Participants will learn considerations like cultural differences, international regulations, and global talent management.

Learn more about GPHR.

4. Academy to Innovative HR (AIHR)

AIHR is a fully accredited library of online HR certification programs that offers specific knowledge and certification. Students can enroll in the academy to enjoy an immersive experience and receive certificates in many different areas, or they may choose to study only one subject at a time.

The HR certificate courses include:

  • Organizational development
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • HR business partner
  • Learning and development
  • Talent acquisition
  • HR metrics and dashboarding
  • People and HR analytics
  • Digital HR

The courses are available online and use various media, including interactive lectures, videos, and exercises, to prepare students for working in human resources. Teachers are seasoned HR experts who provide practical advice. The certificate programs can help you develop the essential skills for a career in human resources.

It takes around 30 to 40 hours to finish an HR certificate program. Students have up to a year from the enrollment date to complete each course at their own speed. HR professionals of all levels can get this certification. There are courses for beginners as well as experts in their fields.

Learn more about AIHR.

5. Professional in Human Resources (PHR)

Professional in Human Resources in one of the various certificates from the HR Certification Institute. The institute offers certification levels in the senior and global sectors of human resource management careers, beginning with the Professional in Human Resources. HR professionals can start their path and acquire higher certification as they gain experience and responsibility in the field.

The associate level certification is the first step toward the more advanced professional, senior professional, and global certifications. This credential is also available in a digital badge format only accessible online. Most students spend six to nine months studying for examinations. Pearson Education is in charge of proctoring the test.

Any candidate can earn the certification, from fresh graduates with little experience in HR to seasoned veterans with worldwide leadership responsibilities. Candidates must have either two years of HR experience and a bachelor’s degree or one year of HR experience and a master’s degree to be eligible. Before acceptance, applicants must enroll in a training program recognized by the HR Certification Institute.

Learn more about PHR.

6. SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

The Society for Human Resource Management has developed and made its HR certification program available based on demonstrated competency. Designed to help HR professionals reach their full potential, the program depends on the SHRM Body of Competency & Knowledge. Success in leadership and organizational strategy are major topics in the curriculum and assessments.

​Some of the specialty areas include:

  • Focuses on HR teams of one person
  • Immigration laws
  • Workplace investigations
  • Talent acquisition
  • Inclusive culture
  • People analytics

Human resources professionals in California may also get state-specific credentials. Most students spend six months preparing for the exam. This curriculum is ideal for HR generalists since it provides a thorough education in every facet of the field. However, the SHRM certification program has stringent qualifying requirements.

Learn more about SHRM-CP.

7. Strategic HR Leadership (SHRL)

Strategic HR Leadership is one of many competency-based HR certifications available from the Human Capital Institute. The HCI Academy provides resources like course materials, study guides, sample exams, and mentor assistance to its participants. Students can participate in either a virtual series with half-day sessions lasting up to four weeks or a traditional program that lasts two full days. Registrants can get the certification by successfully completing an online test.

The SHRL credential is for professionals just beginning their careers in human resources management. The program welcomes applicants who already hold leadership positions, aspire to be in a leadership position, or want to boost their team’s output. In addition to passing the final test, certificate recipients must also have attended all sessions, contributed to group discussions, completed all assigned coursework, and completed an evaluation.

Learn more about the SHRL certificate program.

8. Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP)

A Certified Human Resources Professional certification is available only from the Human Resources Professionals Association. Plus, HRPA has two more advanced certifications available, including the Certified Human Resources Leader and the Certified Human Resources Executive.

The certification requires students to complete nine HR-related topic areas from an approved network of Canadian colleges and universities. Students must subsequently take challenge tests to demonstrate their mastery of the material. Also, applicants interested in a human resources job may take advantage of the workforce readiness program.

If you have a degree or are enrolled in an HR study, the CHRP seems like an excellent choice. Only current HRPA members are eligible to get the credentials. The HR Professionals Association has several prerequisites to sit for the CHRP exam. You must become a member and participate in the scheduled classes and tests.

Learn more about CHRP.

9. Talent Management Practitioner (TMP)

Candidates interested in pursuing talent management positions can consider earning the Talent Management Practitioner certification from the Talent Management Institute. Talent management is one of today’s most lucrative and rapidly expanding HR specializations. The TMP Resource Box included in the program contains all the study materials you will need to pass the online test.

The TMI online certification is for recent college grads who want to work in human resources or talent management. To participate in the program, applicants must first meet the program’s eligibility standards, which include a minimum level of education and work experience. The program uses a specialized tool for verifying applicants’ credentials.

Learn more about TMP.

10. Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD)

The Association for Talent Development is popular as the preeminent provider of courses and certificates related to professional development, including CPTD. The program covers various issues related to cultivating talent in individuals with various abilities. The program offers different participation options, including weekend seminars, online courses, and self-study using ATD materials. Students should give themselves six to nine months to study for the test because of its difficulty.

The program is for human resources professionals devoted to career growth and organizational training. Qualifications include a minimum of five years’ experience in the field, an in-depth understanding of employee talent development methods, and 60 hours of professional development.

Learn more about CPTD.

11. Human Resources Information Professional (HRIP)

Since its inception in 1980, the International Association for Human Resources Information Management has assisted HR professionals of all experience levels in keeping up with the rapid pace of technological change. IHRIM offers the HRIP Certification, which aims to provide HR professionals with a way to prove their credibility, show off their knowledge, and demonstrate commitment to learning and quality.

The HRIP credential is one of the most technologically focused certification programs available today. As one of the top HRIS certification programs, the HRIP certification test examines the competencies of experts in human resource information management. Passing this exam validates your ability in HRIM or HRIS.

The IHRIM has no restriction on candidacy; however, it is advisable for applicants to have at least three years of expertise in human resource information management or technology. The program has six sessions, with each lasting about 75 minutes. The certification requires a background of at least three to five years in human resources technology solutions or management. Throughout the year, IHRIM offers several three-week-long online exam study courses to help students get ready for the examination. You may buy practice tests to help you prepare.

Learn more about HRIP.

12. McMaster’s Human Resources Management Program

McMaster University provides students with a wide variety of options in the field of human resources, including four separate three-course certifications and a single diploma degree. To get a CHRP or CHRL credential, you may take advantage of the HRPA’s many accredited HR certification programs.

HR management, talent planning and acquisition, occupational health and safety, and intercultural competence and communication are some certificates available via a distance-learning platform. You may obtain your CHRP and CHRL credentials, improve your self-assurance, and expand your professional network through online courses and independent study.

Every certification program takes around four months to complete since it comprises three courses with three units each. Each course takes about 36 hours of class time.

Learn more about McMaster’s HR program.

13. Calgary University Human Resource Management Certificate

The University of Calgary’s Certificate in Human Resources Management is a 300-hour program consisting of three required courses and up to 13 electives. This program is an excellent resource for professionals wanting to learn the basics of human resources or who are studying for the CHRP exam.

Courses like conflict management, employee benefits, and creating a healthy workplace are just a few of the electives you may take to home in on your interests and develop a niche within the program. You can complete the course in four months to one year. You must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma to enroll in course certification.

Learn more about the Calgary University HR certificate.

14. Simon Fraser Human Resources Management Certificate

The HR certificate program at Simon Fraser University consists of nine courses, all with accreditation by the CHRP British Columbia and the Yukon. The program progresses to the CHRP National Knowledge Exam, which, if passed with a B- or higher, can significantly shorten the time it takes to earn the CPRP credential.

You can use the completed certificate for the Graduate Diploma in Business Administration at the SFU Beedie School of Business without needing an undergraduate degree. The program lasts about eight weeks with 36 hours per course. Applicants must have a high school diploma or at least five years of relevant professional experience.

Learn more about the Simon Fraser HR certificate.

15. Human Resource Management Graduate Certificate

This program, which began in 1988, is ideal for individuals considering a field placement or internship and desiring a comprehensive education in human resources. The core courses from Humber are HRPA accredited and contribute toward the HRPA certification. You will learn from human resources experts who have a history of putting their students in rewarding internships and jobs.

Moreover, the IGS Industry and the Community Connector Hub provide students access to a vast network of experts and mentoring programs, allowing them to make the most of their educational and professional opportunities. The minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree.

Learn more about the HR management graduate certificate.

16. Senior SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)

HR experts who have earned the SHRM-SCP credential have shown that they possess cutting-edge expertise in HR strategic planning and can use this knowledge to achieve organizational objectives. An SHRM-SCP professional is qualified to take the reins as an HR manager and deal with any issues that arise while measuring the effectiveness or productivity of employees. As a result, the individual must also be in tune with the key performance indicators of all workers.

The SHRM-SCP credential is a connecting link between an organization and its success rate. Certifications are mostly important for communicating with staff members. Thus, advantageous for a company to employ an SHRM-certified expert as the HR manager since this certification becomes useful throughout the project’s deployment, installation, and subsequent maintenance.

If you do not already have a bachelor’s degree but still want to become an SHRM-SCP, you will need five or six years of work experience in addition to your academic qualifications. The SHRM-CP certification is similar to the SHRM-CP in many other respects, including the duration of the test, the number of questions, and the cost of the certification.

Learn more about SHRM-SCP.


The HR industry is quite competitive. As more professionals begin to focus on the area, the level of competition increases. However, the top human resources certificates may help you advance more quickly in the field. Your career trajectory will improve after adding leading HR credentials to your CV.

If you want to improve your HR skills, then you will discover several options online, including free HR certification courses. The HR Certification Institute offers training for individuals of different experience levels in preparation for their certification exams. SPHR certification, recertification, and entry-level HR certification are all available through the HR Certification Institute.

​For more HR inspiration, check out our lists on HR blogs, HR quotes, and HR conferences.

FAQ: HR certification programs

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about HR certification programs.

What are HR certification programs?

HR certification programs allow professionals to gain knowledge and experience and advance their careers by taking courses, completing projects, and passing examinations in the HR field. Certifications are a common route to professional advancement among human resources experts.

Are HR certifications worth it?

Earning an HR certification shows employers and clients that you are serious about making a career change into human resources, even if you still need to build up your job experience and acquire a degree. Getting certified in human resources demonstrates dedication to professional development and willingness to develop new skills.

What are the best HR certification programs?

Some of the best HR certification programs include Professional in Human Resources, SHRM Certified Professional, and Strategic HR leadership. Which human resources certification is appropriate for you will depend on your specific situation and professional goals.

What HR certifications are good for beginners?

As a beginner, some of the best certifications to consider include Certified Human Resources Professional, McMaster’s Human Resources Management Program, and Associate Professional in Human Resources. As a first step, you could choose to become certified in a field related to human resources to better prepare for entry-level HR positions.

How long does it take to get HR certified?

The certification duration is dependent on the course. For example, if a course is 40 hours long and you give it four hours weekly, you will finish it in ten weeks. However, getting all the HR credentials you need might take a while, like months or even years. Therefore, it is important to evaluate your availability before enrolling in a human resources certification program.

If you are serious about getting your HR credential, you need to put in the time and effort required to pass the exam.

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People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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