Human Resources is vital to any business. As an HR administrator or manager, you’re entrusted with handling employees’ performance, taking disciplinary action, and even hiring new talent for the workforce.
With that in mind, companies want to hire the best of the bunch. If you’re here, you’re probably looking to advance your skills and become a star employee in your current or future role.
But because there are so many classes out there, it can be hard to know where to begin. And, you want to make sure that the course you pick is the best match for your skill level and goals.
So I’ve pulled together the best HR classes to cut through the noise and help you to find the best HR course for you. I’ve also considered which ones come with an accredited course certificate.
So let’s get started!
What is the best HR course?
In sum, our top picks are as follows:
- HR Generalist Certificate Course (Academy to Innovate HR)
- Certified HR Manager (HR University)
- Diploma in Human Resources (Alison)
- Human Resource Management: HR for People Managers Specialization (Coursera)
- Human Resources Foundations (LinkedIn Learning)
- Effective Human Resources Administration (Udemy)
- World-Class HR: People and Human Resource Management Essentials (Skillshare)
- Learn Fundamentals for a Career in Human Resources (Udemy)
- HR Analytics Using MS Excel for Human Resource Management (Udemy)
- Diploma Course in Human Resource Management (Udemy)
Our top choice is Academy to Innovate HR. This is because it combines on-demand video access with additional resources across 12 months of learning. Including 35 video lessons and a self-paced learning style, AIHR’s HR Generalist Course is a full certification program that sets you up for success.
Covering a broad syllabus that reflects your breadth of responsibilities, this class is a true-to-life program that equips you with a range of relevant and robust skills. So, all in all, this is our ultimate choice for a practical and certified HR class.
In second place is HR University’s Certified HR Manager Course. This class is a popular choice for students already in HR who are looking to advance to a manager position. So, while this isn’t a general course, it is a certified and respected program that helps you to stand out in interviews.
Of course, lifetime access courses like HR University’s may not fit everyone’s budget. So, we’ve also included some more affordable options, like Coursera’s Human Resource Management and Udemy’s Effective Human Resource Administration. Plus, there’s even Alison’s free Diploma in Human Resources, which is pay-for-certificate only.
That being said, even the paid HR courses on this list work out considerably cheaper than an in-person course!
So, read on to get the full details.
Best Online HR Courses Reviews
1. HR Generalist Certificate Course (Academy to Innovate HR)
Platform: Academy to Innovate HR | Teacher: Erik van Vulpen | Course length: Approx 10 weeks | Certificate: Yes
Erik van Vulpen is one of the founders of AIHR. Along with his co-founder, van Vulpen has strived to arm HR professionals all over the world with the skills they need to make a real impact.
You’ll learn to:
- Understand key HR processes like recruitment and payroll
- Organize an HR service delivery model to enable growth
- Enhance your HR toolkit to develop a strategic HR function
- Avoid common mistakes that impact HR operation
- Implement healthy conversation strategies for businesses
- Self-paced learning with tests, homework, and projects
- Eligible for HRCI, HRPA, and SHRM credits
- Reading materials and bonus content
- Digital certificate upon completion
- One of the pricier options on this list
- Generalist rather than specialist course
Who it’s for: This course is for anyone seeking the knowledge and skills to succeed as part of a HR team (or even a team of one). If you’re an ambitious HR representative and are looking to make an impact, this course teaches you the tools and templates you need.
Overall: A comprehensive 40+ hour course for HR generalists who want in-depth knowledge of the HR sector and what it entails. This class also helps you to build initiatives that your executives can be excited about, and is a great step on the ladder to HR management.
2. Certified HR Manager (HR University)
Platform: HR University | Teacher: Josh Fechter | Course length: Approx 10 weeks | Certificate: Yes
As an HR consultant with 5+ years’ experience, Josh Fechter has authored a book on employee experience and even partnered with companies like Gusto, GoCo, and Zenefits. In this class, he guides you on HR fundamentals to help you land an HR Manager job.
You’ll learn to:
- Demonstrate best practices for managing employees and payroll
- Tackle difficult aspects of the job like disciplinary action
- Stand out as a candidate in HR Manager interviews
- Adopt the habits and behaviors of successful HR professionals
- Create a great organizational culture by implementing the best HR strategies
- Over 90 lectures and 30 case studies
- Exclusive interviews with HR professionals
- Free lifetime access to all future content
- Certificate of completion upon finishing the course
- Specific to manager roles
- Less suited to beginners
Who it’s for: This course is most suited to those who are in the HR field and are seeking advancement. While this course isn’t riddled with jargon, it does include a lot of heavy learning that might intimidate beginners. That being said, it really is a one-stop-shop for all HR management resources.
Overall: HR University’s certified course prepares you for a successful career in HR Management. With alumni working at Microsoft, Facebook, and City National Bank, the results really speak for themselves. With seven sections of content, and lifetime access to the full course and additional resources, this is easily the best HR Manager course out there.
3. Diploma in Human Resources (Alison)
Platform: Alison | Teacher: Various | Course length: Approx 10-15 hours | Certificate: Yes
Alison is an online learning provider helping people across the world to empower themselves through education. Their Diploma in Human Resources is a free course with an optional paid-for certificate upon course completion.
You’ll learn to:
- Set up and run an effective recruitment process
- Techniques to improve employee productivity
- Manage and evaluate poor employee performance
- The professional process for terminating employment contracts
- Hire, train, and motivate staff effectively
- Top-rated and free-to-access class
- Final assessment and CPD accreditation
- Highly informative and meets industry standards
- Ongoing access to relevant career resources
- Less comprehensive than the higher-ranked courses on this list
- Certificate must be purchased separately
Who it’s for: As a free course that can be completed in a week (or under!) Alison's Diploma in Human Resources offers plenty of reward for minimal investment. If you want to polish your HR skills, understand the fundamentals, and advance your workplace value, this is the course for you.
Overall: A clear overview of HR’s core roles within a business, and step-by-step guides on how to implement effective strategies for selection, recruitment, training, and developing. Through this course, you’ll learn to develop effective management strategies and motivate your workforce.
Platform: Coursera | Teachers: John W. Budd, Stacy Doepner-Hove, Alan Benson, Amy SImon, Larry Bourgerie, and Mike Davis | Course length: Approx 6 months | Certificate: Yes (non-accredited)
Coursera’s HR for People Managers is a Specialization developed with the University of Minnesota. Rather than an individual course, it’s made up of five courses as part of a specialized learning path, and takes around six months to complete. For more info on Coursera specializations, see here.
You’ll learn to:
- Understand alternative approaches to managing Human Resources
- Avoid common mistakes in (mis)managing employees
- Apply the best practices for hiring, training, and rewarding staff
- Effectively manage employee compensation
- Develop your own approach to HRM strategies
- Offered and taught by a prestigious university body
- Flexible schedule so you can work at your own pace
- Several course units for well-rounded learning
- Non-accredited but shareable course certificate
- Costlier than Coursera’s other courses and Guided Projects
- Can only be accessed as long as your subscription is active
Who it’s for: This Specialization has been developed for anyone looking to become a better manager. Also, a selling point here is that it offers alternative approaches to HRM, meaning you get a well-rounded understanding of the best ways to implement your own HR strategies.
Overall: A flexible and lengthy course that introduces you to the U.S. legal context for HR Management, as well as offering alternative approaches to running your HR team. By the end of the course, you’ll have a better understanding of the most (and least) effective practices, and will also have a shareable certificate to showcase to employers.
5. Human Resources Foundations (LinkedIn Learning)
Platform: LinkedIn Learning | Teacher: Wayne Cascio | Course length: 47 minutes Certificate: Yes (non-accredited)
Wayne Cascio is a professor and author currently teaching at the University of Colorado. He also served as chair of the SHRM Foundation in 2007 and received a Distinguished Career Award from the Academy of Management. Currently chairing the SHRM Certification commission, Cascio is dedicated to developing international HR standards.
You’ll learn to:
- Understand the parallels between HR and business strategy
- Identify the four key approaches to talent management
- Review principles of effective performance management
- Comprehend the issues involved in managing people
- Master the fundamentals of recruitment, compensating, and training
- A strong course for beginners
- To-the-point and easy-to-digest overview
- Plenty of relatable examples
- Well-explained key concepts
- Non-accredited course certificate
- Less in-depth than other courses
- More of an introductory class for beginners
Who it’s for: All in all, this course is best suited to HR beginners who are starting to familiarize themselves with the field and its demands. At just under an hour long, this course introduces you to the basics of HR management and is a great opening for further learning.
Overall: A short but sweet course covering plenty of real-world examples and well-explained concepts. This class avoids any complicated jargon and is easy to understand for even the most beginner-level learners. That being said, it’s more of a springboard into further learning than a one-stop course.
6. Effective Human Resource Administration (Udemy)
Platform: Udemy | Teacher: Stone River eLearning | Course length: Approx 15 hours | Certificate: Yes (non-accredited)
Stone River eLearning offers over 300 courses on Udemy – mostly geared toward technology and management professionals. With a 4.6 instructor rating, Stone River eLearning brings this 15+ hour HR Administration course to Udemy (with largely positive feedback).
You’ll learn to:
- Understand the basics of effective Human Resource administration
- Develop strong interpersonal group skills through employee training
- Manage job appraisals and rewards, as well as employee motivation
- Handle conflicts, disciplinary action, and workplace changes
- Develop strong leadership qualities and management techniques
- Well-structured course content and self-paced learning
- Over 10 downloadable resources for offline viewing
- Learn from an experienced and knowledgeable tutor
- (Non-accredited) certificate of completion
- More ‘homemade’ than other courses on this list
- Lack of non-video learning such as quizzes
- Fewer real-life examples than other courses
Who it’s for: This course is suited to beginners, though some basic knowledge of HR concepts is desirable. Generally, this class is aimed toward those looking to manage small-to-medium enterprises. There is also a lot of focus on implementing new technologies and job redesign.
Overall: A great foundational course for anyone wanting to learn how to effectively manage people. If you’re an aspiring HR professional, you’ll find a lot of useful tips on how to improve business outcomes and increase efficiency amongst employees.
Platform: Skillshare | Teacher: Robert Sullivan | Course length: 55 minutes | Certificate: Yes (non-accredited)
Robert Sullivan is an international coach and educator who has been teaching globally since 1995. Priding himself on putting theory into practice, he brings this comprehensive class to Skillshare so you can learn the skills needed to effectively manage people.
You’ll also learn to:
- Understand the role of HR professionals and line managers
- Navigate key issues in HR administration
- Improve your HR skills and implement strong leadership strategies
- Advance in your HR career and improve your workplace’s performance
- Excellent theory-based learning and career overview
- Helpful for college students in explaining HR’s history
- Strongly focused on leadership and career advancement
- Bite-size lessons and useful visuals
- Arguably more managerial than HR-based
- Graphics can sometimes be distracting
- More theoretical than practical teaching
Who it’s for: In short, this class is geared toward anyone looking to effectively manage people. From watching this course, it definitely seemed more managerial than generalist, but also covered some comprehensive theory. So, if you’re interested in gaining a holistic view of HR management, this is a great course.
Overall: More of a beginner’s course and also more theory-based, this class is a good introduction to otherwise complicated jargon. Sullivan takes you through a range of theories, terminology, and management styles. All in all, this equips you with the toolkit to pursue a successful career in HR Management.
Platform: Udemy | Teacher: Christina A Danforth | Course length: 41 minutes | Certificate: Yes (non-accredited)
Christina A Danforth is a Senior Human Resources Professional. With over a decade of experience, she specializes in Learning and Development through online training. Her managerial experience to date includes managing over 250 employees and leading Performance Management at UTC Aerospace Systems.
In this course, you’ll learn to:
- Understand core HR roles and responsibilities
- Apply key HR principles and concepts in the workplace
- Develop awareness of HR changes
- Assess current trends affecting the evolution of HR practices
- Get a feel for the different HR disciplines available
- Informative and beginner-friendly class
- Well-organized course with no added fluff
- Helpful visuals and clear presentation
- Attentive to current/future changes in HR
- Some users report difficulty accessing some sections
- Less detailed than other courses on this list
- Not helpful for students with prior knowledge
Who it’s for: In my opinion, this course is probably the most suitable for complete novices. If you’ve taken any other classes on HR – no matter how short – you might not gain a lot of new knowledge from this course. However, if you want an engaging intro to what HR means, this is definitely an apt class.
Overall: This class offers a good but general introduction to what HR is and what it means as a career. From it, you can comfortably dive into other generalist courses before advancing to more specialist classes.
Platform: Udemy | Teachers: Abhishek Bansal and Pukhraj Parikh | Course length: 11 hours | Certificate: Yes (non-accredited)
With 600,000 students worldwide, Bansal and Parikh of Start-Tech Academy can attest to their student outreach. Both holding engineering and MBA degrees, these instructors have a wealth of experience in data analytics. But how can this benefit HR?
You’ll learn to:
- Use MS Excel to calculate and automate HR metrics
- Read pivot table data to draw conclusions about HR concepts
- Master Excel for HR Analytics so you can implement effective strategies
- Provide scientific support to HR decision-making and techniques
- Present and drive your HR’s development story through data analysis
- An alternative approach to HR Analytics and problem-solving
- Highly applicable to real-world HR scenarios
- A practical and well-informed course for HR professionals
- Specialization gives you a leg up on the competition
- Sometimes more focused on data analytics than on HR outcomes
- Students struggled with tutors’ pronunciation and audio quality
- Less of a generalist HR course
Who it’s for: Bansal and Parikh have designed this course for people who are beginning their careers in HR analytics and need a course that aids their understanding without being too coding-heavy.That being said, some prior knowledge of Excel is advised for you to get the most out of the class.
Overall: While some students have criticized the ‘data-heavy’ focus of this course, it does offer an interesting perspective on how to drive HR business decisions. Using their data management specialty, the instructors on this course help you to gain a lesser-explored skill set when it comes to predicting and influencing positive HR outcomes.
10. Diploma Course in Human Resource Management (Udemy)
Platform: Udemy | Teacher: Akaaro Consulting and Training | Course length: 9 hours and 41 minutes Certificate: Yes (non-accredited)
Akaaro Consulting and Training specializes in HR Consulting. With nearly 30 courses to date and a 4.2 instructor rating, Akaaro has reached an impressive range of students on Udemy alone. The company works with industry leaders like Google, Uber, and Ford. They also deal in training Leadership, Effective Decision Making, and Managing Teams.
You’ll learn to:
- Become a master HR practitioner through live projects
- Understand End-to-End HR Functions
- Design or enhance Performance Management systems
- Analyze and improve the performance of the HR team
- Predict and prepare for industry changes
- A good match for those seeking HRM progression
- Covers basic-to-advanced management concepts
- Well-designed and informative course
- Clearly explained theories and supplementary quizzes
- Poor audio quality and frequent typos
- Some information is freely available online
- Considered too basic for some
Who it’s for: This class is designed for those practicing HR already and looking to progress into HRM. The course focuses on how you can improve current practices and drive your business forward with more effective HR strategies. It also provides useful terminology and the differences between HR disciplines.
Overall: A generous course offering foundational teaching for HRM. This class is helpful for both aspiring HR Managers and those currently in a managerial position. You’ll also come away with viable solutions that you can implement in real-world situations. Overall, this class is educational and eye-opening even for those with years of experience.
Buyers guide: what to look out for in an HR class
Choosing the HR course that’s right for you can be confusing. So, we recommend you consider the following points before choosing:
- Instructor experience – if you’re going to be spending time and money following a course, you want to ensure your instructor has valued and proven knowledge that’s worth listening to
- Develops skills – an online class shouldn’t just throw information at you. It should equip you with the skills needed to progress within the field and make a positive impact on your team
- Practical learning – are the skills covered relevant to real-world situations? Do the instructors teach you real-life techniques that help you to address difficult but crucial HR problems?
- Syllabus and skill level – make sure what’s on offer is right for your skill level and your specialty. If you’re looking to progress to an HR Manager role, you don’t need a course that introduces you to the basics of HR concepts
- Price – of course, you want something that’s within your budget. But, it’s also important to look at the value you could get out of a course. For example, if a class is twice the price but features an instructor with ten times the experience, the investment could pay off in the long run
How much does it cost?
Apart from Alison’s Diploma in Human Resources, which is free without the certificate, classes on this list range from between $36 to $1,500. But, even at the top-end, these work out considerably cheaper than an in-person course.
Plus, they’re even better value if you calculate them hourly and factor in that you’re learning career-changing information. With HR University, you even get lifetime access to the course and to all added resources.
In terms of the subscription platforms (Skillshare, LinkedIn Learning) you’re looking at between $25-$50 per month. Of course subscription gives you access to all available courses. So, you can mix and match or explore a whole new subject entirely.
Coursera also offers a subscription but you can also buy courses singly.
With that being said, the value for money increases with the more courses you take. And, in the long run, a subscription service can save you serious money. Not to mention, more subscription-based courses are being taught by industry leaders, so there’s a lot to gain from dedicating yourself to a platform.
How long does it take to learn HR?
As a career path, HR is never truly mastered, but constantly practiced and evolved. When learning a life-changing sector like Human Resources, you’re dedicating a huge portion of your time to putting knowledge into practice, learning from mistakes, and developing new techniques.
So, that makes it very hard to define how long it takes to fully learn from any given course. But, to give you an idea of how long it takes for the knowledge to sink in, a good rule is to take the course length and multiply by five.
This also accounts for revision and practice time, and, of course, the more time you spend around the knowledge (or implementing it) the more likely you are to retain these key concepts and theories.
With many of these courses, the learning is also self-paced, and the platforms often come with printable resources for you to study on-the-go.
How do we rank our results?
In short, we rank our results based on which courses we believe to be the best.
Undoubtedly, this is subjective. But we do consider:
- Teacher experience
- Provides transferable skills
- Has a strong and varied syllabus
- Is well taught and explained
- Student feedback
- Production quality
- Overall impressions
Where we can, we take the courses in order to review them. But, where we can’t, we do extensive research on the course, its syllabus, and student feedback.
If you’re looking to broaden your HR knowledge, you have plenty of options.
Our top pick is the Academy to Innovate HR’s Generalist course. Not only do you receive an accredited certificate, you get a wealth of specialist and generalist knowledge that can help you make a real impact across the HR sector.
In close second is HR University’s HR Manager course. This is another certified course which is clearly geared toward managerial advancement. Plus, with continually updating resources and lifetime access to these and the course, this is a more affordable but still highly professional option that is recognized by institutions.
Of course, platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and even Alison are great picks for those with lower budgets. And, if you decide you’re invested in HR after an hour-long course, you never know where that information might lead you.
So, hopefully, this article has given you a better idea of the best HR courses out there!
Best HR Courses: FAQs
In our opinion, the best online HR course is AIHR’s HR Generalist course. This is because it’s accredited and taught by leading industry professionals.
The courses on this list vary greatly between free and $1,500! That being said, most online options are typically cheaper than in-person classes.
Here, the courses range from an hour to several months (Coursera’s Specialization program averaging 6 months to complete).
Rebecca graduated from King's College university with a first class honours in English Language, followed by a Masters' Degree in Eighteenth Century Studies.