Training and Development

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify human resource management training options
  • Identify human resource management development options

Training Options

As the Bureau of Labor Statistics site notes, most human resource positions require a bachelor’s degree. Each listing has a “How to Become a…” section that specifies typical education and related work experience. For example, BLS states that human resource manager candidates need a bachelor’s degree and several years of related work experience at a minimum, with some jobs requiring a master’s degree. Relevant degrees include human resources as well as finance, business management, education, or information technology. At a master’s level, relevant degrees include human resources and business administration (MBA). Relevant courses for human resource roles in general include business communications, finance, human resources management and management. If available, courses in compensation analysis and benefits administration are also of value.

A view from above of people sitting in auditorium seating and listening to a presentation or lecture.Training for human resource management might include experience in a human resources role—for example, as a human resources specialist. Management positions typically require a knowledge of federal, state and local employment laws, experience administering human resources plans and programs and familiarity with human resources software. In addition to formal education, all human resources roles require strong interpersonal skills. Management roles include additional skills, including (depending on the role), business management, communication, critical thinking, decision-making, leadership and organization.

For additional HR-related training options, refer to HumanresourcesMBA.net’s (and similar) rankings of Human Resource and Organizational Development courses and degree programs at the bottom of their list of the 15 Best HR Organizations and Associations.[1]

Practice Question

Development Options

Engaging in ongoing learning and development is an expectation in every profession, and human resources is no exception. One of the ways to do this is to pursue (and maintain) a professional certification such as the Society of Human Resource Management’s Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) or a specific field of practice credential such as SHRM’s Talent Acquisition or People Analytics Specialty Credential. Professional credentials prove expertise, add to one’s professional credibility and demonstrate commitment. It’s common to see credentials listed as required or desired qualifications on job postings and they are also a differentiator that may be factored in to promotion decisions.

The following is a short-list of formal human resource development options:

  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The largest HR organization in the world, SHRM positions itself as “the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today’s evolving workplaces.” SHRM produces industry research and publications, offers certification and organizes conferences. SHRM also has a HR People + Strategy group for HR executives with at least 10 years of experience. An affiliate, the Council for Global Immigration, is for HR professionals specializing in employment-based immigration.
  • WorldatWork. WorldatWork is professional association for HR professionals that deal with compensation broadly including compensation, executive compensation, sales compensation, benefits, and work life issues. WorldatWork offers certification programs in each of these areas—for example, Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), Certified Sales Compensation Professional (CSCP), and Certified Benefits Professional (CBP). WorldatWork also produces industry research and publications, offers training certification and organizes conferences.
  • HR Certification Institute. HRCI offers certification options for those who are just starting their HR career and HR experts, with eight credentials reflecting different levels of career advancement and geographic areas of expertise. For example, the Professional in Human Resources certificate is available in California and International options (PHRca and PHRi). To cement the case for certification, HRCI cites a report by the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) that found that “certified HR professionals, specifically those who have earned either the PHR or SPHR, are more likely than non-certified professionals to:
    • Get hired and be employed full-time, be well compensated, and be happier with their career.
    • Perform better on the job, show greater potential for future positions, perform better on strategic HR efforts, and offer greater HR expertise.
Three people sitting on a couch together. One person is using an electronic tablet device and on person is using a laptop.

For those interested in the business case for certification and/or evaluating certification options, the study is worth reading in full: HumPRRO Value of Certification Study Findings Press Release.[2]

In addition to participating in association meetings and conferences and attending classes, webinars and other structured training, you can set up Google Alerts on topics of interest, join LinkedIn groups, and read/subscribe to/follow relevant blogs, podcasts and Twitter feeds. For an overview of how to find relevant thought leaders, read Undercover Recruiter’s article How to Find People to Follow on Twitter (also provides tips on finding relevant content creators on the web in general).[3] For an initial Twitter list, refer to HR Dive’s 10 must-follow HR Twitter accounts.[4]

PRactice Question


  1. "15 Best Organizations and Associations for Human Resource Professionals." Human Resources MBA. Accessed July 29, 2019.
  2. "Large-Scale Study Demonstrates Value of HRCI Certification to HR Professionals and Employers." HR Certification Institute. Accessed July 29, 2019.
  3. Morgan, Hannah. "10 Ways to Find Relevant People on Twitter." Undercover Recruiter. Accessed July 29, 2019.
  4. Moody, Kathryn. "10 Must-Follow HR Twitter Accounts (and Chats)." HR Drive. Accessed July 29, 2019.