Organizational Wellness

The Ultimate Guide to Taking Classes for HR to Upskill Your Career

Mar 4, 2023
Last Updated May 20, 2024

One of the fastest ways for you to bump up your salary is to take a class for HR professionals. According to data from Payscale, HR managers with any certification see an average of a 15.8% pay boost compared to those with no certification at all!

Classes for HR professionals and managers are the first step to developing your skills and earning any kind of certification. With online classes and education programs, it’s even easier to access training programs and upskill as an HR professional.

But what types of classes can you take? And how can the extra study time benefit you — and your organization? We’ve got it all covered here!


What Are Common Types of HR Classes?

HR classes are typically organized into two categories: general and specialized. General HR classes cover topics such as problem-solving, communications, and conflict resolution — skills that benefit all HR professionals and high-level leaders regardless of the industry.

Specialized HR classes focus on specific areas or industries, such as healthcare regulations, employee benefits, or training and development. These courses offer details about the specific roles, responsibilities, and regulations employers must adhere to.

Are HR Classes Worth It?

Taking HR classes is definitely worth it, no matter your specific role in the human resources department, as courses and HR certification can push you up the up the company ladder. According to Payscale’s 2018 study (the most recent year they published data), 5.2% of HR assistants, 13.2% of HR administrators, and 28.3% of HR generalists held certifications. But those numbers climb to 51.5% of Vice Presidents and 55.7% of Chief Human Resources Officers.

Specialized certifications, which can open up advanced job opportunities, include:

  • Compensation and Benefits Specialist
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • Training and Development Specialist

What Are the Benefits of Taking HR Classes?

Not only will taking an HR class help you stay competitive in the job market, they also provide a wealth of knowledge and professional development opportunities that can be applied directly towards improving your performance as an HR manager. Some of these concrete benefits include:

  • Staying ahead of the competition when looking for new opportunities: Certifications show that you know your stuff in the field of HR and help you stand out among a pile of resumes. Taking classes to brush up on HR skills can lead to elevated job titles, increased responsibilities, and even higher salaries throughout your career.
  • Better understand and manage the complexities of human resource management: HR classes provide an opportunity to learn a variety of important skills, like developing employee training, onboarding strategies, understanding employment law, and using technology for tracking employee metrics. This knowledge can help you be more efficient in your day-to-day HR role.

Harnessing these benefits is easier than ever with online classes and education programs. You can usually go at your own pace and access classes and modules whenever it’s convenient for your schedule.

How Are HR Classes Different From Degrees?

Classes for HR professionals are typically in shorter courses designed to provide better understanding of a nice or specified topic within HR. These classes can be taken independently or as part of a larger program. If the class is part of a certification program, it may include an exam at the end which will allow you to demonstrate what you’ve learned.

Degree programs like a bachelor’s or master’s degree, on the other hand, are much more comprehensive. They involve multiple courses that cover a broad array of topics. These can take anywhere from two to six years to complete, depending on the program and degree in question. A degree in an HR-related field can lead to job offers with higher earning potential than those without a degree, but take longer and cost more than professional certifications.

What to Consider When Taking an HR Course

Before signing up for any class, it’s important to understand what you are getting into. Here are some factors to consider when choosing an HR course:

  • What is your experience level?
  • How long will the course take and what kind of time commitment will it require?
  • Will the course offer any type of certification or degree?
  • Are there any prerequisites for the class?
  • What kind of technology and resources will be used in the course?
  • Do you prefer an online or in-person course?
  • What is the cost of this course?
  • Does my employer offer any tuition reimbursement or coverage for continuing education?

By making sure that you understand all the details of a course before enrolling, you can make sure that it’s the right fit for your needs and ultimately benefit from taking it.

Popular Online Classes for HR Certification

From general topics like problem-solving and communications, to specialized areas such as healthcare regulations or fringe benefits — there are plenty of options available. Here are some popular HR classes for HR managers to explore.

  • SHRM Certification: The Society for Human Resource Management offers two different types of certification: SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). In general, SHRM-CP classes require you to have some day-to-day, operational background in HR, while SHRM-SCP classes require more of a strategic background. You can check out the eligibility requirements and training program, and read more from our guide to getting SHRM certified.
  • Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) Learning Center: HRCI offers a wide range of online classes to prepare you for theirProfessional in Human Resources (PHR) andSenior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certifications. They also offer plenty of other online courses and certificates to help you upskill in HR management, diversity and inclusion, project management, leadership, communication, and other areas.
  • Udemy HR Courses: Udemy offers a range of courses to help you prepare for exams like the SHRM-CP certification. It also offers HR classes designed to sharpen your skills in areas like talent management, HIPAA compliance, and recruiting. And most classes come with lifetime access so you can continue revisiting lessons and course material.
  • International Association for Human Resources Information Management: The International Association for Human Resources Information Management (IHRIM) offers online classes as part of their Certified Professional in Human Resources Information Technology (CPHIT) Certification program. You can get certified to demonstrate your knowledge and skill in the use of technology for human resources management, such as payroll systems, talent management software, or applicant tracking systems.
  • Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR) Online Library: AIHR offers a variety of courses to help you stay ahead in the ever-changing world of HR. Their classes span the full breadth of the HR field, covering everything from an HR generalist certification program to an HR Business Partner (HRBP) course to a training course on designing digital learning experiences for your employees.

Stay Up to Date With Training Programs to Foster a Healthier Environment

Continuously taking HR classes can help you stay up to date with the best practices for creating a great experience for your employees. With ongoing education, HR professionals can ensure their company is compliant with all applicable regulations, and that they are well-equipped to handle any employee-related issues that may arise.

By consistently taking courses related to human resources, you can stay on top of the latest trends and best practices in the field. You’ll develop a deeper understanding of your role as an HR manager, be better able to handle challenges and opportunities, and have all the skills you need to help create a healthy workplace environment for everyone.

Learn more about how you can help your employees thrive by speaking to one of our Wellbeing Xpecialists about crafting the perfect wellness program!

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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