Human Resources Professional

The Human Resources Professional course prepares you for a career and professional certification in human resources (HR). This course explores the foundational aspects of HR, including human resource laws, hiring disciplines, and labor relations. You will learn industry-recognized practices that align with the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

By the time you finish the online human resources certification e-course, you will be...

9 Months / 150 Course Hrs
Open Enrollment
Offered in partnership with your preferred school

University of the District of Columbia

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Learning method

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Course code: GES419

What you will learn

  • Comprehensive knowledge needed to sit for the aPHR, PHR, or SHRM-CP certification exams
  • A broad overview of human resources practices
  • Skills for handling recruitment, performance appraisals, and training processes
  • Strategic decision making for compensation and job evaluation
  • Foundational knowledge of U.S. laws and regulations regarding employment practices
  • OSHA rules governing employee health and safety
  • Strategies for implementing retention initiatives
  • Remote work and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) considerations

How you will benefit

  • Learn how to contribute to company strategy planning so you can be a more valuable member of the team
  • Prepare for aPHR, PHR, or SHRM-CP certification and set yourself apart
  • Open the door to new career opportunities and higher salaries after obtaining your aPHR, PHR, or SHRM-CP certification, including jobs such as: HR generalist, Recruiter, HR Representative, HR Assistant, HR Specialist, HR Manager, Compensation and Benefits Manager, and more

How the course is taught

  • Self-paced, online course
  • 9 Months to complete
  • Open enrollment, begin anytime
  • 150 course hours
  1. Getting Started
  2. Pretest
  3. Introduction to Human Resources
  4. HR's Role in Strategy
  5. Affirmative Action
  6. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  7. Making HR Decisions
  8. Retention
  9. Recruiting
  10. Hiring
  11. Training Programs
  12. Creating a High-Performance Workplace
  13. Midterm
  14. Appraising and Improving Employees' Performance
  15. Remote Work
  16. Workplace Communication, Motivation, and Digital Media
  17. Compensation and Benefits
  18. Employee Health and Safety
  19. The Legal Environment
  20. Employee Rights and Discipline
  21. Investigations
  22. Managing Labor Relations
  23. Global Human Resources
  24. Preparing for the for the aPHR, PHR, and SHRM-CP Exams
  25. Final Exam
  26. Resources

Anna Smith

Anna Smith has worked in the human resources field for 30 years and has taught at the university level for over 20 years. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Spalding University, a master's degree in management from Webster University, and a Master Online Teaching certificate from the University of Illinois. She is also a certified Professional in Human Resources from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources, and an SHRM Senior Certified Professional. Her experience spans many areas of human resources, including recruitment, labor relations, and affirmative action plans.

Ann Nevers

Ann Nevers holds a law degree and a master's in health law. She has work experience in employee management, hiring, training, and staff development. This includes motivating employees to work to their strengths, preparing new job descriptions, and looking for ways to improve workplace efficiency in a positive work environment.

Ann has used communication, problem-solving, and dispute resolution processes both formally and informally to effectively work through issues. In addition, she has experience both teaching and writing on a number of legal and workplace issues, including health care and employment law.

She is engaged in community volunteer activities, including prior work overseeing a women's organization with implementation and oversight of new volunteer roles, training, and leadership development. In addition, she has established a newsletter and newsletter team to support the efforts of a local non-profit organization.


There are no prerequisites for taking this course, other than basic computer knowledge.

Certification Requirements:

No HR experience is required to sit for the aPHR exam. You will need a high school diploma, but you don't need any additional education.

Similarly, no HR experience or degree is required for the SHRM-CP exam; however, a basic working knowledge of HR practices and principles or a degree from a SHRM Academically Aligned program is recommended.

If you plan to take the PHR exam after completing the course, you will need one of the following:

  • A minimum of one (1) year of experience in a professional level HR position with a master's degree or higher, OR
  • A minimum of two (2) years of experience in a professional level HR position with a bachelor's degree, OR
  • A minimum of four (4) years of experience in a professional level HR position with less than a bachelor's degree


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Microsoft Word Online
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment. The following textbooks will be shipped to you approximately 7-10 business days after enrollment:

  • Human Resource Management
  • PHR / SPHR – Professional in Human Resources Certification Study Guide

Please note: You will receive a digital book if the physical book is on backorder.

According to Lightcast, the average HR specialist salary is $62,296 per year

An HR specialist specializes in the HR basics and processes and thus performs that specialized task.

HR specialists recruit, screen, and interview job applicants and place newly hired workers in jobs.

Yes. Refer to the specific details located on the HRCI or SHRM websites.

Yes, this course prepares you to sit for the Human Resource Certification Institute's aPHR and PHR exams as well as the Society for Human Resource Management's SHRM-CP exam. You will need experience in the human resources field before you are eligible to take the PHR exam, but not the aPHR or SHRM-CP exams. Please reference the Prerequisites section for more information.

No. You do not need to have experience in human resources to take this course. However, you will need experience as a human resources representative to take the PHR exam, administered by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI).

Yes, human resources professionals are currently in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the employment of human resources specialists will continue to increase 8 percent through 2031 (faster than average). Additional HR professionals will be needed to help companies with increasingly complex employment laws and health coverage.

While there is no specific internship with this course, you will be given instructions and insight on how you can obtain an internship or externship upon the completion of your coursework and financial obligation.

The PHR Exam, or Professional in Human Resources Exam, is a prestigious certificate awarded by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). By achieving this designation, you will effectively show potential employers and those in the industry that you possess the knowledge as well as practical experience in human resource management necessary to pass this thorough exam.

The aPHR Exam, or Associate Professional in Human Resources Exam, is a knowledge-based exam. No HR experience is required to sit for the aPHR exam. You will need a high school diploma, but you don't need any additional education.

Similarly, no HR experience or degree is required for the Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) exam by the Society of Human Resources; however, a basic working knowledge of HR practices and principles or a degree from a SHRM Academically Aligned program is recommended.

Obtaining certification shows that you are dedicated to advancing in your career. Many organizations consider the certified Human Resources Professional to be motivated and knowledgeable, giving them a competitive edge in the field.

The PHR exam consists of 150 scored questions, mostly multiple-choice, requiring you to select the best possible answer using your HR knowledge and experience. There are a variety of test items including workplace scenarios. Each question is weighted the same, and there is no partial credit for answers.

HRCI offers virtual and in-person testing options for most of their exams. Online testing is available via Pearson Vue's online proctoring system, OnVue. OnVue leverages artificial intelligence, in combination with live monitoring, to ensure exams are proctored using state-of-the-art technology. In person testing is offered at a Pearson VUE testing center. You can search for the one closest to you by visiting

The aPHR consists of 65 scored questions + 25 pretest questions. The SHRM-CP consists of 134 questions, 80 knowledge items, and 54 situational-judgment items. You can take both exams in-person or at an authorized testing center.

Once you have earned your PHR or aPHR certification, it is valid for three years. To maintain your PHR certification, you can retake the exam or complete a professional development course (such as Human Resources Professional) during that three-year period. Upon certification, the SHRM-CP credential is also valid for three years.

A typical day for an HR specialist will involve tasks such as updating employee records related to hiring, transfers, promotions and terminations; explaining policies and procedures to new hires; ensuring new hire paperwork is completed; addressing work complaints; informing applicants of duties, benefits, work hours, etc.; coordinating job postings; reviewing resumes; and conducting background and reference checks. There may also be additional duties depending on the size of the organization you work for and the area in which you specialize.

There is absolutely room for advancement in your career as an HR specialist. You can choose to specialize in an area of HR such as recruitment and hiring or benefits. You can also go the opposite direction and continue to add to and broaden your skillset and HR experience in order to move forward in your career and obtain an HR generalist position. Additional education, certifications and on-the-job experience can help you make the move into a role as an HR manager or HR director, and even beyond.

While HR specialists and generalists often work together, their roles are very different. An HR specialist will typically have a well-defined role and will focus on the same things each day. For example, an HR specialist in charge of recruitment and hiring is not going to be involved in benefit selection or termination procedures. An HR generalist has a much more varied role. In this type of role, you would be required to perform many different tasks, and would see a constantly changing daily routine with many different job duties encompassing a large portion of overall HR tasks for a company.

This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course whenever you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.

After you register, you will receive 9 months to complete the course. The time allotted for completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours.

The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.

Our courses are designed to accommodate various learning preferences. Depending on the course structure, you may get different forms of support. Self-paced courses are designed to be user-friendly and independent, minimizing the need for external support. In courses with instructors, our direct platform support feature includes opportunities for questions, discussions, and remediation, with email and phone support available for select courses. Our student advising team is available to guide you on program requirements and administrative requests, but they do not provide assistance with course content. Our goal is to provide you with the necessary support for success, whether it's through self-paced exploration, direct communication, or guidance from our advising team.

Upon successfully passing the final exam, you will be awarded a certificate of completion from the school or organization that you registered through.

ed2go courses will help you gain the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. However, you should always research the job market in your area before enrolling.

ed2go courses are non-credit, so they do not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA, and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards may provide funding to take our courses. Additionally, you may qualify for financial assistance if you meet certain requirements. Learn more about financial assistance.

If you have questions that are not answered on our website, representatives are available via LIVE chat. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the "Contact Us."

Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI)
The Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) is a globally-recognized organization that has been credentialing HR professionals for over 40 years. The organization has developed eight certifications that span all stages of a professional HR career as well as continuing education opportunities to help professionals stay up-to-date on best practices. Each of HRCI's certifications have been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCAA).