Top 5 Best Human Resources Courses – 2021 Review


Learning how to strategically manage human capital is a whole chapter worth studying closely, especially if you’re pivoting your career into HR or angling for a promotion in an HR department. Taking in-person seminars may be prohibitive, though–you may not have the time, the money, or the ability to travel, for instance. Thankfully, there are plenty of knowledge-rich online courses, some of which are even taught by prestigious universities, that you can take online for less money and at your own pace. Below, we review some of the best HR courses available to you according to your overall goals. 

The Top 5 Best Human Resources Courses

  1. Administrative HR for Beginners, by Udemy – Best for Entry-Level HR Professionals
  2. HR Management: HR for People Managers Specialization, by Coursera – Best Self-Paced Course
  3. HR Management and Analytics: Unlock the Value of Human Capital, by Wharton School of Business – Best For Elite-Level Prestige
  4. Human Resource Management, by Harvard University – Best Academic Course 
  5. Strategic HR Management, by MIT – Best Free HR Course 

#1 – Administrative HR for Beginners, by Udemy – Best Course for Entry-Level HR Professionals

  • Comprehensive overview of HR basic principles
  • Vetted by over 10,000 students
  • Certificate included
  • Lifetime access for only $34.99

Learn more

Udemy’s Administrative Human Resources for Beginners course is a solid choice for entry-level HR professionals. So far, it’s been taken by over 10,000 students and has a 4.3-star rating. Not only is the course self-paced, but you also get a certificate of completion once you’ve successfully finished the course. 

One of the beauties of taking courses on Udemy is that you know exactly what you’re getting before making a purchase. There are plenty of student reviews you can read through to get a feel for the course, and you can also look through the outline of exactly what the course teaches. 

If you’re training a group of HR professionals, Udemy has Udemy for Business plans you can learn more about once you sign up for a demo here. 

Udemy’s Administrative Human Resources for Beginners course costs only $34.99.

Ready to get started? Sign up for the HR course on Udemy here. 

#2 – HR Management: HR  for People Managers Specialization – Best Self-Paced Course

  • Manageable, steady six-month learning schedule
  • Completed by nearly 100,000 students
  • Taught by University of Minnesota
  • Free to current students or with Coursera membership

Try for free

You might have already heard about Coursera as a robust course platform. Its Human Resource Management: HR  for People Managers Specialization course boasts a 4.8-star rating and over 98,000 students. 

The course, offered by the University of Minnesota, walks you through understanding alternative approaches to HR management, avoiding crucial HR mistakes, and applying hiring and employee reward best practices. The course takes about six months to complete with a suggested pace of about four hours a week.

The course also comes with a hands-on project as well as certification once you’ve successfully completed the course work. Keep in mind that the course is a part of a five-course specialization. Meaning once you complete it, you can go on to take the next related HR courses for a more well-rounded HR education. 

Coursera’s prices vary depending on whether you’re a college student or you’re an enterprise-level business looking to educate its fleet of professionals. 

If you’re a college student, Coursera allows you to enter your verified school email and sign up to have access to one free course per year. 

For teams and small businesses, Coursera offers a $399 per user per month plan. However, if you’re an enterprise looking to educate a large team, you’ll have to get in contact with Coursera’s team to get a free demo and learn more about a personalized plan. 

Coursera also offers a free 7-day plan, which lets you try one specialization for free before charging you anywhere from $39-$89 a month membership fee. 

Learn more about Coursera’s HR course here. 

#3 – HR Management and Analytics: Unlock the Value of Human Capital, by Wharton School of Business – Best For Elite-Level Prestige

  • Learn from Wharton, the best business school in the world
  • Official Wharton HR certificate included
  • All applicants learn together at the same pace
  • Dynamic two-month schedule

Learn more

If you’re looking for a prestigious program, Wharton offers the HR Management and Analytics: Unlock the Value of Human Capital course. It’s online certificate program dives into strategic HR topics that include HR management as well as data analytics.

Online other courses that are self-led and all you have to do is pay a fee to have access to the course material. Wharton’s online certification has scheduled application dates—you can’t necessarily take it at your own pace. It recommends that you dedicate four to six hours a week to it through its two-month duration. 

Wharton’s immersive HR course if ideally suited for mid to senior-level human resources professionals that are still learning and developing their skills. It’s also ideal for general managers, owners of SMBs, as well as consultants and business performance experts. 

The course comes with both live and recorded video lectures as well as individual assignments and feedback. And of course, once you’ve successfully completed the course you’ll receive a digital certificate of completion from The Wharton School. 

The price for Wharton’s HR Management and Analytics: Unlock the Value of Human Capital course is $2,800. But you have few payment options.

First, you might be able to get $280 off the course price if you refer a colleague (who’ll also receive $280 off). 

If you’re planning on enrolling a team, you might be able to receive a bulk 20% discount. To learn more, you’ll have to contact Wharton’s admissions team here for more information. 

If the $2,800 fee is too hefty to pay it all upfront, Wharton allows you to pay it in either two or three installments. 

You can head here to learn more about signing up for Wharton’s HR course. 

#4 – Human Resource Management, by Harvard University – Best Academic Course 

  • Learn HR from the Ivy Leagues
  • Live and recorded video instruction available
  • Flexible web conference format–just like being in class
  • Degree credit included

Learn more

If you’re looking for a top-notch course on HR then look no further than Harvard’s Human Resource Management course. However, do note that you’ll have to go through a rather rigorous admissions process to learn if you’re admitted the next time the online course is taught.

The course is taught through a web conference format that’s recorded and available to watch on-demand later within 24 hours of the class being taught if you weren’t able to make it to the live lecture. If you want to learn exactly what you’ll learn throughout the course, the syllabus is publicly available for you to review. 

The course is an introductory course, so you don’t have to worry if you don’t have intermediate or advanced HR knowledge. Once you successfully complete the course, you’ll be able to get a degree credit. But the course isn’t just for people pursuing a degree. Harvard’s online courses are for anyone that wants to advance their career or even just want to take a course for fun and personal growth. 

The cost for the course is $2,840.

Learn more about Harvard’s Human Resource Management course here. 

#5 – Strategic HR Management, by MIT – Best Free HR Course

  • Comprehensive and prestigious MIT content
  • Includes video and written lesson content
  • Completely self-paced and flexible
  • Available for free through MIT OpenCourseWare

Try for free

The prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a ton of free courses through its free MIT OpenCourseWare page. Lucky for you, this includes their Strategic HR Management course. All you have to do is download the course materials to start learning the ins and outs of strategic HR management at your own pace.  

However, though it’s a free course, it doesn’t offer any certification upon completion. The MIT OpenCourseWare page is designed to give you access to thousands of courses that you might be interested in without having to pay steep tuition fees. The only catch is that learning the course material, going through the assignments, and any course readings is completely on you.

Get MIT’s free Strategic HR Management course here. 

How to Find The Best Human Resources Courses For You

How can you make sure you’re taking the course that will help you grow in the HR areas you’re looking to learn more about? Well, the very first step is vetting each course for quality, which we’ve pretty much done for you with this guide. 

But from there, you’ll want to look at a few more criteria, including how much you’re planning to spend on your course, how much time you have, and maybe even how rigorous the course is. Going forward, here are a few pointers to think through that we used to create our list of the best courses that can help make your final decision. 

Course Reviews

Course platforms like Coursera and Udemy let you see how many students have taken the course, the star rating for each course, and you can even read reviews left by previous students.

If you want to get a real feel for what taking the course is really like, you can easily look through the reviews on course platforms. For standalone courses or courses offered by traditional institutions, running a quick Google search for any reviews or course comparisons can be worth your time if you’re torn about which course to take. 

Also, consider reading through the course curriculum if it’s publicly available. That way you’ll have a better idea of how immersive or general the course is, the level of rigor to expect, and the time commitment you’ll need to be able to finish the course successfully. 

Course Certification

While some courses will offer shareable certificates as proof that you took and successfully completed the course, others might not. If you go the free course route, you might save money but they usually don’t hand out course completion certificates. 

Consider if you’ll need the certificate to specifically boost your resume or CV, If you need to take the course to prepare you for new job responsibilities as opposed to padding your resume to get a whole new job, not getting a course certificate might not be a deal-breaker for you. 

Self Paced vs. Directed Learning

Sometimes you’ll come across courses that are self-paced. Once you’re signed up and equipped with the corresponding course material, you’re off to the races at your own pace.

However, there are certain courses that are planned around start and end dates and that are built on a directed learning framework with an instructor and maybe even virtual group discussions. It’s ultimately up to you to decide what type of course will work best for you according to your schedule, the time you want to dedicate to the course, and what your course goals are. 

Course Payment Options

Some courses graciously offer payment options if they come with steep enrollment fees. This might be an option to consider if you’re looking to take a course in the four figures. However, personalized course payment options can also come in handy if you’re an HR manager looking to educate your team of professionals. 

Course platforms like Coursera, for example, offer different payment options for businesses that want to educate their teams at scale. If you’re an individual looking to take a course, it’s always a good idea to look for any free trials any course platform offers to get a feel for their course offerings. 

Sometimes, certain courses will lower your admission fee if you refer a colleague to the same course or it will allow you to pay for your course in installments. In short, depending on the course you want to take, you might not have to pay a steep price upfront if you aren’t able to.  

Summary

There are HR courses for a wide range of needs and goals. If you’re looking for a top-tier HR course with the prestige to match its content, you’ll want to consider Wharton’s HR Management and Analytics: Unlock the Value of Human Capital course. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something more affordable yet still packed with plenty of course material and insight, consider MIT’s free Strategic HR Management course. Once you visit the page, you can download all the course material and assignments without having to pay a penny. 

Here’s a quick recap of each course I’ve reviewed in this guide: 

  1. Administrative HR for Beginners, by Udemy – Best for Entry-Level HR Professionals
  2. HR Management: HR for People Managers Specialization, by Coursera – Best Self-Paced Course
  3. HR Management and Analytics: Unlock the Value of Human Capital, by Wharton School of Business – Best For Elite-Level Prestige
  4. Human Resource Management, by Harvard University – Best Academic Course 
  5. Strategic HR Management, by MIT – Best Free HR Course 

If you still aren’t sure which one you’ll choose, you can always bookmark this guide to refer back to later. 



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