Thursday, March 30, 2023

Best FREE Online Human Resource Courses

When it comes to studying online, thanks to developments in technology and increased accessibility, it has never been easiest than it has been in this century. And it can only get easier as things progress and evolve!

The two most commonly used acronyms throughout this article, for reference, are:

HR – Human Resources.

CPD – Continued Professional Development.

Human resources refer to the personnel of an organization regardless of whether it is profit or not-for-profit, private or public, governmental or a charity. The human resource department in a company deals directly with the personnel. The seven basic responsibilities of the department related to human resources include the analysis and collection of data related to HR, the use of specialized information systems used to handle the HR-specific information, recruitment, performance management, promotions, training, and benefits.

The free HR certification available in this course ranges from self-paced to under a set deadline, through to course where you have continued access to the material even after completing the course. While we recommend all of the courses included in this article, you should dig into them a little more to see if the requirements, deadline if there is one and course content suits your goals, schedule and accessibility requirements.

Why Study For A Free HR Certification Online?

Studying online suits a broad range of people. From students who are at home due to their university accommodation being locked down through to disabled individuals who find the accessibility more suitable for them than a classroom setting, studying online is a versatile engagement option. What exactly the course requires of the learner will depend on the course. Some want just a broadband connection and some want a speedier wi-fi that can handle video. Some will send out a package of supplementary material like booklets and some may require you to purchase things beforehand. Look around. Do you research. There is a course for everyone out there, ideal for their circumstances, capabilities and requirements – and their end goal, of course. Online allows for a high degree of adaptability and some course providers may be able to adapt their course further depending on your requirements if you ask.

Covid-19 and Doing Courses Online

Given the ongoing circumstances of Covid-19, online courses have never been more popular. Whether they are being done by people looking to hit the ground running in a new path of employment once lockdown and quarantine lifts in their respective country or whether they are on furlough and looking to keep up to date with the latest developments in their career path, doing courses online during the pandemic is appealing to many people. There’s also the people looking to do courses online just out of sheer curiosity who want to engage with the subject in a structured way but who may not be looking for employment in that sector. Online courses really do appeal to a wide range of people. But you aren’t limited to doing them during the pandemic! Most courses can be adapted to your work schedule and some may even be able to be funded by your employer, making them free when they would otherwise be paid.

Best FREE Online Human Resource Courses

[1] HR Fundamentals (CIPD)

  • Cost: Free.
  • Course Type: Online. Self-paced. 5 week duration. Course access for 8 weeks.
  • Certification: Completion certificate available at a cost.

HR Fundamentals refers to the core body of knowledge that will remain consistent across just about every single organization out there with a HR department. This course focuses on the profession of HR and why it is important, the principles of workplace planning and employee recruitment/retention and performance management. It also goes into detail on the purpose of HR and how it intersects with other departments within an organization. The course is provided by CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), a professional association for HR professionals and personal progression. It is not-for-profit by nature. The course is aimed at aspiring and new HR professionals but is suitable for anyone looking to touch up their skills.

[2] People Management Skills

  • Cost: Free.
  • Course Type: Online. Self-paced. 5 week duration. Course access for 7 weeks.
  • Certification: Completion certificate available at a cost.

This is another course by FutureLearn. People management skills does fall under the domain of HR as that is what an HR professional does. They manage people as a resource, even if they don’t directly delegate tasks to them. While this is targeted more at line managers than HR professionals, the skills are transferrable and knowledge of tangential and connected departments will help you in your own work when it comes to dealing with any problems as they arise and handling recruitment. You will additionally learn to address shortfalls tactfully, be aware of how to maintain a healthy workforce, know how to assess the current marketplace for employment when it comes to recruitment and know how to deal with absences.

[3] Lean Organization Management Techniques

  • Cost: Free for those that meet the requirements.
  • Course Type: Online. Self-paced: 9 weeks. Fully funded.
  • Certification: Level 2 certificate.

This course focuses on the benefits of a lean working environment, how to improve the efficiency of your workplace, understanding productivity needs, dealing with conflict and reviewing performance in addition to other appropriate modules. While not directly connected to HR, it is another course that adds a deeper level of understanding of the workplace in general which is vitally important for HR professionals to grasp as well as the tasks and responsibilities of the HR department alone. The course is fully funded by The Skills Agency but you do need to meet certain requirements that are detailed on the linked page.

[4] Equality and Diversity

  • Cost: Free.
  • Course Type: Online, self-paced. 7 week duration, lifetime access to content.
  • Certification: Level 2 certificate.

For this course provided by Training Qualifications UK, the examinations and assessments are part and parcel of the price. There is also one-to-one support available in the form of a tutor. The course, upon conclusion and throughout, also provides employment support for those looking to use the certification resulting from this course right away. The course is focused on increasing your social awareness and detailing just what equality and diversity mean in the workplace. It will also teach you to foster inclusiveness. The course is free if you tick certain boxes, so it is worth checking to see if you are eligible first. It is estimated that it will take 3 hours of learning a day to do, although there is obviously some wiggle room here as people study at different paces.

[5] Fundamentals of Human Resources

  • Cost: Free.
  • Course Type: Online. 1.5 – 3 hours total studying time estimated.
  • Certification: CPD certificate.

This is a short course intended to give you the bare bones of what HR is in order to see whether or not it whets your appetite for further training. This is ideal for people who are curious but aren’t quite sure if it is right for them. The fundamentals of HR include the employment cycle, the responsibilities of an HR professional, and how to manage change. Even if you aren’t responsible for the change itself, as someone involved in managing the human resources making up the personnel, this is vital to know. The course is provided by Alison and is mobile friendly.

[6] Modern Human Resource Management – Recruitment and Selection

  • Cost: Free.
  • Course Type: Online.
  • Certification: CPD. Certificate in digital form available for purchase.

Run by Alison, this course covers a specific part of HR, namely the recruitment and selection of new employees. This course covers the law and how it relates to recruitment, interviewing guidelines and suggestions, and compensation when hiring or letting an employee go. This is a niche area of HR but is ideal for those looking to go into more detail regarding their knowledge and personal development.

[7] Human Resources – Diversity and Behavior in the Workplace

  • Cost: Free.
  • Course Type: Online.
  • Certification: CPD. Certificate in digital form available for purchase.

This course is another one provided by Alison that goes into detail on a specific aspect of HR that is particularly relevant in the modern workplace. It examines workplace wellness, the science of behavior, diversity and stereotypes, discrimination and how to deal with disciplining and termination – all relevant to HR professionals.

[8] Developing Your Skills As A HR Professional

  • Cost: Free.
  • Course Type: Online. 9 hours study suggested.
  • Certification: CPD / Statement of participation.

This course is provided by OpenLearn, the free ‘arm’ of the Open University. Coming from this successful of a provider, this course is bound to turn the heads of employers. It touches on how to improve the performance of personnel, teamwork, self-management and experiential learning. These are all relevant knowledge areas for HR professionals and for those curious, it will give you some idea of what professionals will engage with in their career.

[9] Choosing a Human Resources Consultant

  • Cost: Free.
  • Course Type: Online. 6 hours of study suggested.
  • Certification: CPD / Statement of participation.

This course is directed at people looking to hire a HR consultant. However, if you are eventually looking to become self-employed as a HR professional, this course is ideal as it will give you an insight into what people hiring are looking for and how they are going about the decision-making process. The course includes how to market yourself as a HR consultant, how to appeal to potential clients and how to stand out from the crowd.

[10] People and Organizations

  • Cost: Free.
  • Course Type: Online. 2 sessions per week.
  • Certification: CPD. No certification but can be added to a CV to demonstrate continued learning.

This course is a single module that is part of a wider course provided by the online learning arm of MIT. It goes into detail on understanding the human and organizational contexts you will encounter, how to be successful and productive according to both your own and the organization metrics and the concepts and tools necessary to analyze the leadership you will encounter, and your own. It also comes with a suggested reading list.

Are Free HR Certification Courses Good For Inclusion On A Resume?

Definitely! They show that you want to develop yourself and push yourself forward. Whether it is adding an entirely new string to your bow or building on skills and knowledge areas that you already have, free certified courses are a good way of putting yourself in good stead for the future as well as progressing your self-development and potentially moving forward in employment. Free accredited certificates may not be completed in the classroom but the recognized qualification at the end has value, whether you engage as part of a virtual classroom or work your way through it at your own pace.

Do Online Courses Come With A Qualification?

It depends on the course provider. It is important when looking at online courses to determine whether the course is offering a certificate of accreditation or if it is a certificate of completion. Both of these certificate types are considered useful in their own way! Certificates of completion may not provide you with a qualification that is academically acknowledged but they do demonstrate that you are willing to dedicate the time and effort to complete the course itself. When there is otherwise the option to just stagnate, this is valuable and transferrable in the sense that it demonstrates you are willing to engage in training.

Types of Free HR Certification Courses

Free online courses can be considered to come in different types depending on the time given for you to complete them. Some have a strict time limit with penalties if you go over, some allow you up to a year and facilitate access to the materials after that and some allow you to ask for extensions depending on your circumstances. This is particularly good for course attendees looking to cut their teeth on a subject before entering formal academia, as deadlines and extensions and part and parcel of higher education.


Free Human Resource certifications through the courses outlined above are an ideal way to either dip a toe into the subject to see if you want to go further as a career path or to refresh your skills. Continued professional development is important, regardless of whether you’ve held an HR position for a week or a decade. There are always new developments and new technology to keep abreast of.